Coach Training


The Canoeing Ireland Canoe Polo Coach Foundation course is designed for Canoeing Ireland members who are taking their first step into coaching. The Foundation course will aim to provide club coaches with the capability to introduce new participants to canoe polo in a safe, enjoyable and progressive manner. The course will prepare trainee coaches to develop an all-round ability of new participants on which to base future progression within a dynamic and person-centered talent development environment.  Our first Foundation level course has already been completed.
2022 courses to be announced


Coaches will be required to participate in 8 hours (1 day) of contact time with Canoeing Ireland Coach Developers. Where possible, the 1 day will be spread over one to two evenings / weekends. The teaching and learning methods will be based on evidence based pedagogical and andragogical principles that will ensure trainee coaches are actively engaged and involved in their own learning.

The course will be a mix of workshop style discussion, learner centred tasks and practical coaching sessions delivered via a blend of formal and informal teaching strategies.

Entry Requirements

Participants on the Foundation coaching course will;

  • Be 14 years old (U-18’s are explicitly not allowed to independently make duty of care decisions for the athletes they supervise). 
  • Have current membership of Canoeing Ireland  
  • Have been approved for Garda vetting in the last three years by Canoeing Ireland 
  • Have attended a Sport Ireland approved Safeguarding one course.  
  • Have a proven 12-Month experience as a Player, Coach or Official in Canoe Polo, this can be obtained in reference form from your club coach or committee member. It would be expected that Participants attending the course should be competent in the following areas, basic boat handling skills, rescues including deep water rescue, self-rescue, and be familiar with the rules of canoe polo as a player and official. 

Foundation Course Learning Outcomes

On the completion of the Foundation coaching course a participant will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and practical frameworks underpinning coaching philosophy and pedagogy relevant to the Foundation Coach and their relationship with juniors and beginner athletes.
  2. Demonstrate a knowledge of safe session planning and strategies to aid in the development of skill acquisition for their athletes.
  3. Demonstrate a knowledge in session planning; creating a safe, learner centred environment for their athletes. 
  4. Demonstrate and apply a knowledge of coaching tactics and principles in team sports.
  5. Acknowledge the limitations of the Foundation coach.

Remit and Scope of the CPFC

Remit and scope of the award

  • For a foundation coach to remain valid a foundation Coach is expected to maintain membership of Canoeing Ireland and be Garda vetted by Canoeing Ireland every three years. 
  • The foundation coach can only operate in an assistant coach capacity, foundation coaches must only operate under the supervision of a more experienced coach. 
  • Foundation Coaches under 18 years of age must not make duty of care decisions for the athlete they supervise. 
  • Foundation coaches should only operate on pre risk assessed sites/playing areas, that are of a nature to not adversely affect the performance of the novice or beginner polo player. Particular attention should be given to the playing area, in terms of environmental and weather conditions, physical hazards and access/egress, when determining the suitability of the operating areas for foundation coaches. 
  • Foundation coaches should use the following ratios as guidelines when assisting in sessions.
    • Ratios 16 capable players 1 on bank Coach (this does not apply to foundation coaches)
    • 6 complete beginners 2 on water instructors / coaches
    • 16 mixed group 1 on bank coach and 1 on water instructor
  • If a foundation coach is unclear of any of the guidelines pertaining to the Award they should seek guidance from a more experienced coach, the national canoe polo committee, or Canoeing Ireland Admin Staff. 

Award Details

The Foundation coach assessment will involve the following;

Practical Assessment

The trainee coach will demonstrate their knowledge and ability as part of the 3-hour on the water module which will include the following criteria:

  1. The trainee coach will demonstrate the principles of a suitable warm-up. Where working with participants, the warm-up session must reflect the ability of the coach to include aspects of physical literacy and general movement ability within the session. 
  2. The trainee coaches must also demonstrate that they can introduce a piece of fundamental canoe polo equipment to a group, demonstrating that they can cover basic safety information and how equipment should be adjusted to ensure comfortable and safe fit, where applicable.
  3. The trainee coach will select one to two physical skill sets and show a positive correlation between the required coaching model, including safety. Each on-the-water session must include a safety talk and a contingency plan with the use of the EDICT principles prior to the session starting. 
  4. The trainee coach will also be assessed on their ability to carry out rescues, as applicable to the location and determined by the assessor. 
Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate and apply knowledge that reflects the learning outcomes of the Foundation coach training syllabus during the practical assessment module. Successful applicants will create a safe, enjoyable and learner centred experience during the practical assessment module.

Unsuccessful Applicants

Unsuccessful applicants will be assisted in developing an action plan that will provide them with advice and direction to achieve a successful conclusion to their Foundation coach training journey. Such an action plan may involve spending more time shadowing established and experienced coaches, or a coach mentor or engaging in further course work. 

Course Content


  • NGB Overview, Coaching Qualifications & Pathways
  • Canoeing Ireland and Sport Ireland Coaching
  • The Game of Canoe Polo

Module 1 – Coaching 

  • The Role of the Coach
  • Coaching Children
  • Coaching Tactics and Learning Principles

Module 2 – Session Planning 

  • Planning 
  • Location, Safety and Risk Assessment
  • Warm Up and Injury Prevention
  • Equipment
  • Rules of Play
  • Group Dynamics
  • Establish Session Outcomes

Module 3 – Individual Skills

  • Individual Core Skills – Basic Paddling Technique
  • Individual Core Skills – Basic Ball Skills
  • Individual Core Skills – Goal Keeping Skills

Module 4 – Team Skills

  • Team Core Skills – Basic Defence
  • Team Core Skills – Basic Offence

Module 5 – On The Water 

  • On the Water Routine
  • Skills and Drills
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