Canoe Sprint Development Squad

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About the Programme

The CANI Canoe Sprint Development Squad consists of up to 8 of Northern Ireland’s most dedicated Sprint Paddlers and is run by Ray Sweetlove under the guidance of our Performance Coach, Kieran Dews. The group trains 5-6 days per week and are focussed on competing at a high level at National Canoe Sprint Regattas in Ireland and the UK.

To apply for the Development Squad please email Kieran with your most recent race times and some details regarding your paddling experience.

Aims of the Programme

To support and prepare paddlers in order to transition through to the CANI Talent Squad and longer term to enter the British Canoeing World Class Programmes (Podium Potential) or Canoeing Ireland High Performance Programme.

Methods of the Programme

The programme will achieve the aims by:

  • Developing technical competencies and skills for use in canoe slalom training and racing.
  • Creating an environment placing the paddler at the centre of the learning process, enabling them to take their first steps towards ownership and autonomy in training and racing.
  • Providing an introduction to nutrition and performance lifestyle.
  • Nurturing strong relationships with parents, helping to educate and keep them informed about the programme and support them in supporting their children along the pathway.
  • Providing coaching support during identified weekly/weekend training sessions and race support.

Minimum Eligibility Criteria for consideration

The minimum standards to be selected for the CANI Development Squad are:

  1. Must be a full member of CANI, with all membership fees fully up to date.
  2. Born in Northern Ireland or born of parents (or adoptive parents) born in Northern Ireland or resident in Northern Ireland for 3 years or more.
  3. Those over the age of 14 must have attended a Cardiac Risk in the Young Screening.
  4. 25% of the GMT at their age group (See Appendices for GMT Table).
  5. Ranked and competing in UK Men’s/ Boy’s/ Women’s/ Girl’s Bottom 50% B or C for 6 months or more.

And completion of an assessment in the following areas:

  • Rate of development/progression.
  • Race results at specific sites such as HPP, Strathclyde and Irish Championships.
  • Commitment to racing per year and actively seeking promotion.
  • A willingness to be challenged technically, physically and psychologically (On and off the water).
  • Willingness to work in a group with an open mind set towards technical experimentation, skill development and learning, while supporting each other on and off the water.
  • Commitment to balancing paddling, academic workload, lifestyle and personal health appropriately in order to maximise performance when training and racing.
  • A commitment to attend 80% of all training sessions.

Specific areas listed above will not be considered in isolation.

The CANI Talent Lead in agreement with the CANI Performance Committee has the authority to exclude a paddler from specific training sessions, training camp or the squad completely, if they consider that he/she does not have the technical skills to participate safely.

Coach Contact Time

A weekly training program will be provided to Development Squad athletes which includes as many as 11 outlined training sessions. All on-water sessions are coach-lead sessions. Many of the gym and off-water sessions are also coach-lead or supervised, however some are to be completed in the athlete’s own time.

Training Age

It is expected that participants will enter the CANI Development Squad after being involved in paddle sport for 3 years or more. It is expected that paddlers will stay in the CANI Development Squad for 2-3 years before transitioning to the CANI Talent Squad.

Other information

An Annual Fee is payable to participate in the programme (based on the scale of activities included and on the current investment from Sport Northern Ireland). This Annual Fee will be paid in installments (Starting from 1st April – 31st March), agreed in advance with the CANI Talent Lead.

Paddlers who are based elsewhere 

It is anticipated that at this stage of the pathway a number of paddlers will be based elsewhere at High Performance venues. In such cases these individuals would be supported by an Individual Agreement. Such agreements must be confirmed in advance with the CANI Talent Lead who will have discussed their request with the Performance Committee and the CANI Performance Coaches. A participation fee will be on a pro rata basis for individual participation.


The complete CANI Canoe Sprint Selection Documents and Calendar for 2017 can be found in the folders below: