Information on Community Sport

1)  National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)

Launched in 1970, the NCCP is a partnership between the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and more than 60 national sport federations and their provincial and territorial sport associations. As Canada’s recognized training and certification program, the NCCP serves a wide range of coaches‚ from those who introduce beginners to sport to those working with high performance athletes.

In response to an extensive evaluation, the program has been going through a major re-development since the late 1990s. Key to these changes is a shift in emphasis from “what a coach knows” to “what a coach can do.”  In the new, competency-based system, training and certification programs are based on the clearly defined needs of participants. This new structure addresses the full range of sports in Canada at various levels of skill and in a variety of settings.

2)  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 contexts have been identified by Biathlon Canada:


Coaches in the Community Sport stream typically become involved on a voluntary (and often short-term) basis because their children participate in a sport. They tend to work with participants of all ages who are new to the sport.
Stream 1 – Community Sport

Stream 2 – Competition

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.

Stream 3 – Instruction

Coaches in the Instruction stream must have sport-specific skills and training, whether coaching at the beginner or advanced skill levels. Many are former participants in the sport.

3)  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. They are recognized as meeting or exceeding the high standards embraced by more than 60 national sport federations 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

4. Competition – Introduction Context: Introduction to Competition 1 and 2 (IC-1; IC-2) 

In April of 2004, the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and its partners launched Competition – Introduction and the first series of multi-sport coach training modules of the new competency-based NCCP model. Some sports are integrating these multi-sport modules into their sport-specific training.  Biathlon Canada has chosen not to integrate these modules.

The goals of the Competition – Introduction context are fun, fitness, fundamentals, and performance at regional or provincial competitions as well as the consolidation of basic skills of the sport. These training modules replace the Levels 1 and 2 Theory courses of the old, knowledge-based program.

Competition – Introduction Part A and Part B is comprised of one weekend of training for each part and is offered through the Provincial or Territorial Coaching Coordinators (P/TCCs). Part A replaces Theory Level 1 and Part B replaces Theory Level 2.

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 National Sport Federation (NSF). Biathlon Canada is currently in the process of developing the evaluation standards and criteria for coaches to become trained or certified in Competition – Introduction 1 and 2 (IC-1; IC-2).

5. Community Sport – Initiation Context – Biathlon Bears Community Sport Program

Recognizing the value that Canada’s 1.2 million volunteer coaches bring to our communities, CAC and its partners announced the launch of the NCCP Community Sport – Initiation context in October 2004. Often the parents of participants, volunteer coaches usually hold down full-time jobs, so they have limited time for training. The program focuses on essentials over one or two days, placing emphasis on safety, fun, ethics, teamwork, and values beyond the game. Training helps volunteers foster love of the sport, promote participation and teach basic skills to beginners of all ages through a variety of activities. To sign-up for a Community Sport – Initiation workshop, please contact your Divisional office.