Australian Canoeing Article

The start of a new quadrennial Olympic cycle, is an opportunity to pause, reflect and make the necessary changes that may be required to ensure we stay ahead of our highly competitive international competitors. One of the key strategic shifts Australian Canoeing has identified in the next cycle is to provide greater technical leadership and direction to the pathway’s area.

There has been some terrific activity completed in this area over the past couple of years but an identified gap still exists between the young developing athletes and the high performance programs. Australian Canoeing have appointed two former Head Coaches to lead, drive and coordinate the delivery of the pathway’s program in Canoe Slalom and Canoe Sprint.

Mike Druce, current Head Coach of the Canoe Slalom program, will transition to become the Performance Pathway’s Lead, Canoe Slalom, over the next 6 months. Mike’s principle role will be to work with identified developing high performance Canoe Slalom clubs and coaches to upskill the level of technical support our best developing athletes are receiving. A secondary priority is to establish and develop a performance pathway’s program out of the Penrith Whitewater Stadium.

David Foureur, previously National Women’s Head Coach, began his new role of Performance Pathway’s Lead, Canoe Sprint, on April 1st. David’s role is to lead, develop and coordinate all Sprint pathway development programs. This is obviously a very big task in a sport like Sprint Canoeing. Hence, his two core responsibilities over the next four years will be to deliver an effective Surf to Kayak transition program as well as to build the depth of Women’s Sprint Kayak and Canoe programs.

To have two former Head Coaches, oversee the delivery of the pathway’s area for Canoe Slalom and Canoe Sprint highlights the importance of the pathways’ area for Australian Canoeing over the next Olympic cycle.

There is no doubt that this change will cause some uncertainty and will result in a different operating model as to what has occurred previously within the pathway’s area. Specifically, the Pathway’s program will become a lot more targeted in its activity. There are limited resources available and we must be smarter and more targeted with our investment.

One of the key philosophical shifts that Australian Canoeing are looking to implement, is a greater investment into coaches working with developing athletes. Australian Canoeing has already appointed Guy Power into a full-time capacity to work with developing sprint athletes on the Gold Coast. Similarly, we are looking to appoint a Development Canoe Slalom Coach and Pathway’s Coach/Coordinator in Penrith to deliver coaching expertise to developing Canoe Slalom athletes.

Both Mike and David will take the next few months to assess, evaluate and develop a plan for the pathway’s program moving forward. Through this process, both Mike and David will be consulting with the State Sporting Organisations and SIS/SAS programs in clarifying the pathway needs within each state.

Through this process of development, Australian Canoeing will be assessing the current levels of investment against identified pathway requirements within each State. Nevertheless, current planned pathway activity camps and activities will continue to operate including the following:

Canoe Slalom:
NTS Tour – New Zealand: April 7-19
NTS Camp – Tasmania: April 8-9
National Junior Team Camp – Penrith: April 7-15
NTS Camp – Perth: August
NTS Camp – Penrith: Sept 29 – Oct 1
NTS Camp – Victoria Nov -TBC
NTS Camp – Tasmania Mersey/Bradys: December

Canoe Sprint:
Women’s Jnr Camp – Gold Coast: April
Men’s Jnr Camp – Gold Coast: April
Olympic Hopes Camp – Narrabeen: July
National Junior Team Camp – Gold Coast: July
Olympic Hopes Tour – Europe: September

Mike and David will be the principle contact points for any enquiries for Canoe Slalom and Canoe Sprint, respectively. I appreciate everyone’s patience through this time of transition but looking to create a greater level of impact in this important area of development moving forward.