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Get Kids to the Olympics in Flatwater Canoeing

12 March 2024

It takes a lot to get to the Olympics, but it’s not impossible. For children interested in flat water canoeing, there is a clear pathway to the top, as set out by British Canoe; however, although this pathway is in place for kids aged 9 and above, it takes more than this to progress to the Olympic level in any sport.

Below are some experiences and support you can give your child to help them reach the top and possibly be one of the best flat-water canoeists in the world.

Introduce them young

It’s often the case that Olympic-level athletes begin their sport at a very young age, and where possible, this is an excellent idea. Not only will it mean your kids will experience the sport, but they also won’t know any differently and will become one with the feelings and motion. By doing this, your children will also see how much you love it and develop fond memories.

So, if you have a boat and the safety equipment, take your children out and let them experience the delights of floating on water and exploring the surrounding areas.

Attend a club

The next stage is to join a club in your area. They will help instruct your child and teach them the skills correctly. Through a club, your child will also be able to meet new people and make the most of the social side, making it even more appealing. Your child may also be able to take part in competitions against other regional clubs to develop their understanding of how sprint races work and what it takes to win.

Enter Competitions

A regional club will provide opportunities for competitions, and it’s essential for your child to enter as many as possible, especially if they want to go far. They must have the drive to want to win and will put everything into it to reach the top. The more competitions your child can enter, the more they can get used to the emotions involved, understand how to control them, and learn how to win through trial and error.

Follow The Talent Pathway

Once your child is happy and, if they wish, a regional club can help them get onto the talent pathway. This is set out by the governing body British Canoe and is the next step towards the Olympics. Juniors must try out for a limited place, which means their training would intensify slightly, but it is also an exciting step up for committed children. It takes around 8-9 years for athletes to master their sport, so the sooner they can make it onto this pathway, the sooner they’ll reach their goal.

Support Them

Unless you’re fully behind your child, they don't stand a chance of getting to the top. As a parent, you are their most significant financial and emotional support and crucial to them sticking to it. It takes a lot to train at the top, and often they’ll want to give up. You being their number one support will make all the difference.

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU

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