A coach’s role is to maximize athletes’ potential and help them achieve the best possible results. Because coaches possess an enormous power of authority, they can make or break athletes’ sports experience. Effective coaches embrace continuous improvement strategies and hone skills to help athletes progress.
To achieve success, coaches should consider:
- Periodize training and rest time for athletes to cut down on overuse injuries and burnout.
- Provide physical literacy (i.e., agility, balance, coordination training) at every practice, at every level.
- Use developmentally appropriate drills and practice plans.
- Embrace an athlete-focused philosophy and create fun, engaging, and challenging sports activities and experiences.
- Provide objective feedback and age-appropriate development benchmarks. Communicate these continuously to parents and athletes.
- Emphasize effort and development over outcomes to reinforce physical, technical, and tactical progression.
- Maximize athlete potential and retention at all stages of development.
- Seek to obtain coaching certification and continue to hone your skills, including age-appropriate teaching skills.
We believe in developing solid fundamentals and a passion for the sport in our young athletes before introducing them to advanced competition techniques and tactics. Long-term development focus, loosely based on the USOPC’s American Development Model (ADM), recognizes that it takes outstanding coaches and instructors at every development step for athletes to reach their full potential in sport and life.
Starting in the fall, the ACA wants to offer in-person coaching clinics designed to give you a solid background in fundamental skills and provide information on how to teach the sport. Try to attend this or follow-on clinic as they are announced here.
An ACA individual competition membership and competition license are required for coaches to work at ACA’s affiliated clubs. Furthermore, only ACA licensed coaches will be permitted to coach during sanctioned competitions starting in October 2022.
To become an ACA licensed coach:
- Register online
- Complete a background screening and Safesport training and certification (cost included in your membership dues)
- Complete the ACA coaching clinic
- Sign up to receive email from the Sprint Coaches Association
Once you join the ranks of ACA-certified coaches, we encourage you to continue to pursue coach education through the ACA or ICF coaches certification programs and seek entry-level officials’ training (link) to help maintain the sport’s rules.
Learn more about the Sprint Coaches Association (SCA) and join their email list, see their meeting minutes, and find out about coaching seminars. We would also recommend you follow the ACA Canoe/Kayak pages on Facebook and Instagram in addition to being an ACA member.
Find a coaching job by contacting your local paddlesports clubs, or look at the Club Job Postings page in the Resources Section.