Path to Coaching

The Path to Triathlon Coaching

The Path to Triathlon Coaching - Triathlon Canada, 2009


The New NCCP in Triathlon: Streams and Contexts 

There are two primary coaching education STREAMS within the new Tri NCCP program - Community Sport and Competition. These streams reflect the level and focus of ATHLETES that coaches work with in the streams.  Much of the following information comes from Triathlon Canada.  A full outline of coaching as described by Triathlon Canada can be viewed here.

Within Community Sport there are two contexts:

  • Initiation (youth/KOS athletes) and
  • Ongoing (adult age-group athletes; short and long distance)

Within the Competition Stream ther are three contexts:

  • Competition Introduction (Youth and Junior athletes aiming for National level competition)
  • Competition Development (Junior and U23 athletes aiming for International competition)
  • High Performance (Elite and Olympic athletes cometing in International competition)

The contexts align with the different phases of Triathlon Canada's Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model. 

Coaches may stay in one stream or overlap and take courses from both streams. Coaches may also become experts in one context through professional development opportunities.

  • Coaches working with athletes at the Active Start, Fundamentals, novice Sampling, and Active for Life stages are considered NCCP COMMUNITY COACHES.
  • Coaches working with athletes in the later years (youth) of Sampling, then Specializing, Investment, and Maintenance are considered NCCP COMPETITIVE COACHES.


The Phases of the LTAD Development Model:

Athletes begin with Active Start and FUNdamentals in a variety of activities that underlie all sports. In the Sampling stage, athletes are trying different sports in the years just prior to and during puberty or the growth spurt (referred to as“Peak Height Velocity”). From Specializing to Maintenance, athletes commit to Triathlon as their full time activity and work from National to International levels. The Active for Life stream parallels the LTAD competitive phases. Athletes in age-group programs (all levels and distances) and participating in Triathlon as a fitness-based activity are considered Active for Life. At any time athletes may move from the Competitive streams into Active for Life.


Where to Start: The Path to Coaching

  • Currently, Triathlon Canada has developed two contexts:
  • Community ongoing (adult) Competition Introduction (Comp Intro)

There are two contexts being developed throughout 2009 and 2010:

  • Community initiation (KOS / Youth)
  • Competition Development (Comp Dev)
Here is a snapshot of your path into coaching education and options for people who have prior experience and wish to challenge parts or all of the process. 

NOTE - although coaches may challenge the material and move directly to evaluation processes, it is highly recommended that coaches take all workshops within the process. Although there may be some review of material, the value of discussing theories with other coaches, watching others coach, and obtaining feedback about personalcoaching techniques is invaluable. This can only be done through the workshops and educational experiences within the courses.

Description of Athletes

Corresponding Coach Education Pathway

If you coach children and youth in a school,
community, or camp / clinic setting:
You will take the Community Initiation workshop (to
be completed in Feb 2009).
If you coach kids / youth and need coaching
education immediately for insurance:
You will take the Community Ongoing (adult) but not
apply the planning section to your athletes.
If you coach any level of age-group adult or
AWAD athletes (novice, intermediate,
experienced, short to long distance):
You will start with Community Ongoing (adult) with the
option of completing Comp Intro for more practical
If you coach youth athletes in highschool (ages
13+) who are aiming for Provincial Games and
eventually Junior levels:
You will start with Community Ongoing (adult), then
Community Initiation (or challenge), then continue with
Comp Intro Parts 2 and 3 (see below).
If you coach athletes who are FINISHED their
growth spurt and competing at the Junior
National level:
You contact Triathlon Canada for an evaluation.

The Community Process

For a community course, coaches complete a one-weekend workshop.
There is no evaluation process.
Coaches are considered “Trained” but not “Certified”.

The Competition Process

For Comp Intro, coaches complete three “Parts”.

PART 1 includes a) Community Ongoing, b) Community Initiation, c) Portfolio Paper 1 (evaluation), and d) MED (Making Ethical Decisions) online evaluation.

PART 2 includes a) Part 2 weekend workshop, and b) Portfolio Paper 2 (evaluation).

PART 3 Includes an on-site evaluation including peer observation, self-analysis, and LF feedback.

If a coach meets the minimum standards on all evaluations, they become a Certified Competitive Coach and are required to re-cert every 4 years (see Triathlon Canada for requirements). If they do not meet minimum standards, they can be re-evaluated at a later date (usually after further educational and practical experience has been gained).