Useful Coaching Acronyms

Simple ways to hold a coherent coaching session together or lead a river trip

Adam Hall (29 Apr 2014)

Wychavon Kayak.jpg


Briefings ⇨ Me, You, ABCDE

Giving a good briefing is a bit of an art as you need to get the important info across without losing everyone’s attention or scaring them to death.  Try and pitch the level of briefing to the experience of the group and the trip.

It’s important to remember you can’t tell them everything so concentrate on what is most important and emphasise what people should do not what they shouldn’t.  


Group Control and Leadership ⇨ CLAP

This one very nicely encapsulates all the key elements of leading a group and is now the basis of most four star training courses.  It was originally conceived for white water paddling but really fits any situation.  The tactics that you adopt for a particular trip need to be included in the briefing but it is also important to regularly reiterate them at appropriate points through the trip.  I would strongly recommend reading White Water Safety and Rescue by Franco Ferrero for a detailed explanation.



Structuring a Training Session ⇨ iDeAs

This is a bit of a dated approach but it still very useful for putting structure to ad hoc sessions and does address the needs of visual, audio and kinesthetic learners.  The focus of the session should be on the D and the A signified by capital letters in acronym.


Coaching Paddling Skills ⇨ BBB

This is a useful prompt for breaking down a paddling skill into key points.  Generally you need to think about one keypoint for each activity but as students get more advanced you can think more about the interaction of the three elements and increasing effectiveness.  This is a key element in current Coaching Processes courses.


Moving Water Techniques ⇨ BAT

Another old but very effective approach to introducing moving water skills (this was a staple of Senior Instructor training in years gone by).  It builds on BBB but introduces reading the water and importance of timing.



Rescue Prioritisation ⇨ Shout, Throw, Row, Go

Simple mnemonic for prioritising a rescue to minimise the risk to the rescuer.