Canoeing has evolved from a mode of transport, into recreation, all the way to having several different varieties of elite sports discipline. Due to social and economic factors, it has often been dominated both in the athlete and coaching sectors by men. This means that in many instances, data gathering, training and equipment, are predisposed towards human beings with a specific set of physical and hormonal attributes. For women, this often means training frequency, intensity and length are determined by a male average, which can lead to effects of over-training and associated issues.
There is a lower female participation rate at the elite end of canoe sports. In canoe slalom, this is due to prior to the Tokyo Olympic games, three Olympic disciplines being available to men, and one to women. This means that men could achieve national level funding in three different sports, and women had opportunity to do so in one, which leads to lower overall participation and uptake. With the new equal inclusion criteria, there is far more data and experience to gather from female athletes. However, training methodology in many nations remains unchanged between men and women, and there are many instances where inappropriate training plans have led to injury, over-training, loss of motivation and career termination for women.
As canoe sports gradually move towards being more progressive, more opportunities for learning are becoming available to coaches and elite female athletes, who wish to optimise their training. The most successful athletes in the history of canoeing are equally shared by men and women. However, the depth of field is noticeably different, and by making data-driven training plans for female athletes based on experience and science, there will be a higher number of elite level female athletes, living sustainable sports careers.
To create a sustainable approach to female training, it’s critical to consider factors which are often omitted from programming, loading and preparation. Educating women on the different physical and emotional factors that can be leveraged during hormonal fluctuation, menstrual cycles, and a training approach that is sympathetic to continual cognitive shifting, will create a sustainable methodology that encourages women to continue competing at the highest levels.
Therefore, our main objectives are:
To include and integrate more girls and women (competitors, coaches, trainers, volunteers) into the canoe sport environment. To meet this goal we will organise recruitment events and training camps for girls and women in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden.
To ensure a widely available, detailed, and accurate education of canoe slalom coaches in the field of effective and sustainable female athlete training methodology. To meet this goal we created this website where you can find articles, interviews, videos and many other materials about female training in canoe slalom.
The realization of our goals is possible thanks to the EU funded Erasmus+ Sport grant: ERASMUS- SPORT-2022-SSCP. Project duration is 12 months: 1. 1. 2023 – 31. 12. 2023.
The project is based on the partnership of Charles University in Prague, Czech Canoe Union, Slovak Canoeing and Swedish Falu Kanot Klubb. This is a pilot cooperation. In the future, we would like to expand this project globally, as we are convinced of the greater importance of female representation in canoe sport, and of more professional support for their activities.
The presentation of the project in Czech language can be found here: