Performance Coach Award

Performance Coach Award Overview

Minimum age

16 years of age. 18 years of age for Advanced Water options.

Note:  Under 18s can take the awards but cannot be deemed responsible for leadership by Law until they turn 18 years of age.


  • Full National Association Membership
  • In-date First Aid training
  • Safeguarding training

Coaches need to hold a discipline specific coaching qualification in the same discipline and environment that they wish to pursue. The following options are suitable:

  • The corresponding Coach Award;
  • The corresponding Moderate Water Endorsement or BCU Level 3 Coach;
  • The corresponding Advanced Water Endorsement or BCU Level 5 Coach.

Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already have the relevant skills to bypass the training, log in to your membership record and apply for Accredited Prior Learning.

Supporting your development

Coach Self-Analysis Tool


You will need to register with your Delivery Centre before you start the programme. Visit your Delivery Centre website for further information (links below)

UCAS Points

8 Points

Find a course

Visit your Delivery Centre website to find a course near you:

The Performance Coach Award is an ideal programme for intrinsically driven, experienced coaches, who want to get better at coaching the paddlers they work with, and for those who seek recognition that their delivery meets enhanced levels of sophistication.

The Performance Coach Award is available in 21 pathways, across all of our main disciplines and environments:

  • Performance Canoe Coach (Sheltered Water)
  • Performance Kayak Coach (Sheltered Water)
  • Performance Freestyle Coach
  • Performance Open Water Canoe Coach
  • Performance Open Water Canoe Coach (Advanced Water)
  • Performance Polo Coach
  • Performance Racing Coach
  • Performance Sea Kayak Coach
  • Performance Sea Kayak Coach (Advanced Water)
  • Performance Slalom Coach
  • Performance Surf Kayak Coach
  • Performance Surf Kayak Coach (Advanced Water)
  • Performance Stand Up Paddleboard Coach (Open Water)
  • Performance Stand Up Paddleboard Coach (Sheltered Water)
  • Performance Stand Up Paddleboard Coach (White Water)
  • Performance Stand Up Paddleboard Coach (Race)
  • Performance White Water Canoe Coach
  • Performance White Water Canoe Coach (Advanced Water)
  • Performance White Water Kayak Coach
  • Performance White Water Kayak Coach (Advanced Water)
  • Performance Wild Water Racing Coach

Check the award is for you…

If you are interested in the programme you need to contact your Delivery Centre to arrange an initial online meeting. This will help you assess the programme’s suitability for your specific learning needs and allow you to check that it will provide the learning opportunities you seek. There will be chance to explore your expectations and to ask questions prior to registering:  

Paddles Up Training

Canoe Association of Northern Ireland

Canoe Wales

Scottish Canoe Association

Given that the qualification is designed to build and refine existing skills, it is important that you have a base of experience and are currently actively coaching (and qualified) in the discipline/environment relevant to the pathway you wish to follow. During the conversation, your Delivery Centre will be able to offer support, guidance and make recommendations to help ensure you have the essentials in place and to help you move forwards appropriately. 

Course Content

The learning journey is fluid and personalised to every coach who undertakes the programme. The key components of the award are the same but, as an experienced coach, you will steer the direction and focus of your learning in areas that are most relevant to you. The journey can be personalised every step of the way, by understanding the capabilities and skills you arrive with, you decide the skills, knowledge and experience you want to learn and develop.

Online Mentor Sessions: Your development and thinking is supported through online mentor sessions with a Performance Coach Mentor who will support your reflection, stimulate insights and action, and support you making sense of your practices and thinking.

Community of Learning Events: These 2-day, face-to-face events provide opportunities to explore ‘Performance Coaching’ and how this relates to ‘Who’, ‘What’ and ‘How’ you coach.

Coach Developer Support: A Coach Developer will support the development of specific and specialist knowledge, understandings and practice. Unlike other British Canoeing Awarding Body Coaching qualifications, you have autonomy over the topics you wish to explore, and it is up to you to seek learning in the areas most pertinent to your coaching role.

Philosophy Task: Throughout the Performance Coach programme you will be challenged and supported to further develop deep understanding in how your values and beliefs shape and underpin your coaching practice.

Method of Assessment

The assessment is conducted in two parts; a Pre-assessment Mentor Session and a practical assessment focused on your coaching skills.

During the assessment you are required to show that you have the skills, background knowledge and understanding to use sophisticated coaching practices to enhance participants’ and groups of participants’ long-term development and wellbeing.

The Assessor will observe a minimum of 3-hours’ quality coaching for at least two learners.

Evidence will, in the main, be gathered from observation of performance. This will be supplemented by questioning and discussion regarding the observed behaviour, previous experience, the pre-assessment mentor session and/or scenario type situations.