What is the NCCP?

The National Coaching Certification Program

The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), launched in 1974, is a collaborative program of the Government of Canada, the provincial/ territorial governments, the national/ provincial/ territorial sport federations and the Coaching Association of Canada, gives coaches the confidence to succeed.

Coaches in Canadian sport

Sport plays an important role in the lives of many Canadians. Quality coaching is key to a positive sport experience for participants. Sport, government, and business leaders recommend that all coaches become trained and certified in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) to ensure that the sport experience of every participant is a good one.

Who is it for?

NCCP workshops are designed for all types of coaches. Whether you’re thinking about coaching your child’s community team or you’re already the head coach of a national team, the NCCP has workshops to meet your needs.

A transitioned program

The NCCP has transitioned to a competency-based approach, in which a coach is trained and may achieve certification to coach a specific type of participant in a particular coaching environment.

(Please note that coaching cards are no longer issued. Coaches can check their certification status by logging into their "My Locker" account.)

What is the NCCP?

The NCCP is a training and certification program for coaches, offered across Canada in more than 60 sports. The program was designed to meet the needs of a wide range of coaches - from those who introduce youngsters to sport to those who work with Canada's high performance athletes.
Since its inception, more than 875,000 coaches have taken part in NCCP activities that have helped them to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to coach effectively.

The NCCP prepares coaches to:

  • better meet the needs of all participants in sport
  • provide a positive sport experience to participants
  • provide opportunities for participants to achieve their full potential in and through sport.

A new structure for the NCCP - Artistic Swimming

The NCCP for artistic swimming has changed from the old structure with five levels (1 to 5) and three components (Theory, Technical, and Practical) to a new structure that is based on the three different environments in which coaching takes place in Canada.

The New NCCP Model
The new NCCP model is made up of three streams and a total of eight contexts, each with its own coaching requirements. Each sport is responsible for identifying how many of the eight contexts are relevant to their sport. The table below shows which streams have been identified by ARTISTIC SWIMMING.


Stream 1 – Instruction

Coaches in the Synchro Instruction stream typically become involved to give back to the sport. Coaches must have sport-specific skills and training, whether coaching at the beginner or advanced skill levels. Many are former participants in the sport and want to give back to the next generation of synchronized swimmers. They tend to work with participants of all ages who are new to the sport. 

Stream 2:


Coaches in the Competition stream usually have previous coaching experience or are former athletes in the sport. They tend to work with athletes over the long term to improve performance, often in preparation for provincial, national, and international competitions.

Advanced Competition Development Gradation

Coaches in the Advanced Competition Development Gradation usually are stiving for the highest level of coaching athletes possible in synchronized swimming, National Teams, World Championships and Olympic Games. These professional coaches are full time and dedicate their professional careers to the advanced of their athletes to reach the highest podium performances on the international stage.


For more information
For more information about the NCCP and the transition to a competency-based approach, please contact your Provincial/Territorial Coaching Coordinator, your provincial/territorial sport organization, or Synchro Canada.



Training and Certification

A coach is described as:

  • In Training – when a coach has completed some of the required training for a context;
  • Trained – when a coach has completed all required training for a context;
  • Certified – when a coach has completed all evaluation requirements for a context.

The new NCCP model distinguishes between training and certification. Coaches can participate in training opportunities to acquire or refine the skills and knowledge required for a particular coaching context as defined by the sport. To be certified in a coaching context, coaches are evaluated on their demonstrated ability to perform within that context in areas such as program design, practice planning, performance analysis, program management, ethical coaching, support to participants during training, and support to participants in competition.

Certified coaches enjoy the credibility of the sporting community and of the athletes they coach because they have been observed and evaluated “doing” what is required of them as a competent coach in their sport. They are recognized as meeting or exceeding the high standards embraced by more than 60 national sport organizations in Canada. Fostering confidence at all levels of sport, certification is a benefit shared by parents, athletes, sport organizations, and our communities.

To check your certification status, please visit the Coaching Association of Canada website at www.coach.ca.


Canada Artistic Swimming Coaches

Competition - Development context: National Coach

Designed for coaches of National stream athletes aged 11-18, this comprehensive 4.5-day workshop focuses primarily on the development of a yearly training plan, including monthly and weekly installments, and on training techniques for figures and routines of National level athletes. In a classroom setting coaches will learn about developing athletic abilities, managing a program, analyzing figure and routine abilities and performance planning.

The following multi-sport evaluations are required in order to be certified:

- Make Ethical Decisions Online Evaluation – Competition – Development*

- Leading Drug-free Sport Online Evaluation*

- Managing Conflict Online Evaluation *

*Training is recommended. 


Following completion of all training, a coach can choose to become certified in the Competition – Development context through an evaluation process managed and coordinated by Synchro Canada. For details on becoming trained or certified in Competition – Development, please see: www.artisticswimming.ca or contact Sherry Robertson at sherry@synchro.ca

To sign up for a Competition Development workshop, please see Course Listing in the menu to the left or contact Canada Artistic Swimming.


Competition – Introduction context: Regional and Provincial coach

Intended for coaches who have taken the AquaGO! workshop and who are now coaching competitive athletes aged 8 to 15, this two-day course focuses on planning, long-term athlete development, and performance analysis.

Sport Fundamentals, Design a Sport Program, Plan a practice, Skills analysis, Support Athlete in Training and Competition and Analyze Performance workshops are offered through Canada Artistic Swimming's Provincial Sport Organizations (i.e: Synchro BC).

Following completion of all training, a coach can choose to become certified in the Competition – Introduction context through an evaluation process managed and coordinated by his or her Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO).


To sign up for a Competition Introduction workshop, please see Course Listing in the menu to the left or contact your provincial sport organization for further details on becoming trained or certified.



AquaGO! Instructor

AquaGO! Instructors often are athletes and retired athletes working a part-time job while continuing their education and wanting to give back to the sport, and they have limited time for training. This workshop is aimed at recreational level coaches who have no prior coaching experience. Covering the fundamentals of artistic swimming, swimming, physical literacy, athletic abilities and safety in the water, this workshop will prepare participants to teach the AquaGO! program to beginners.

Training helps instructors promote participation and teach basic skills to beginners of all ages through a variety of activities.


To sign-up for an AquaGO! Instructor workshop, please see the Course Listing in the menu to the left or contact your provincial sport organization.