Game Angler in hat with rainbow trout at stillwater

Planning ‘The Next Level’

10th May 2019

Richard Hadley, Angling Trust Coaching Centre Manager and Lead Safeguarding Officer explains how to better plan your angling coaching with an interesting theory – you might even learn a new word!

As level 2 coaches we are made acutely aware of the importance of planning. But after our training ends, how many of us continue to meticulously plan each of our sessions and dynamically up-date our risk assessments? The truth is probably not many.

When we coach, we lean towards running 8 or 10 sessions that we are familiar and comfortable with. You probably recognise what I mean don’t you? We know them off by heart and probably tweak each one according to the group we are working with, without writing anything down. This is OK but only if you are happy with the same routines.

At the recent Coaching Conference we talked about the concept of “More, Better, Happier”. I’ve found that the more we stretch and challenge ourselves as coaches the better experience participants have and the happier we become as coaches.

Right now we don’t have a Level 3 (L3) coach award but it would be a great step forward to begin to support grassroots angling development and provide a much broader base for selection into the talent pathway.

The main difference between L2 and L3 is the planning. In the L3, our planning schedule would look forward for 12 months – or even longer.

Plans over a year contain long-term goals. This might be for a specific competition or for an event.

This timeline is then broken down into “meso” cycles. These cycles last roughly about a month. They are incremental towards the final goal and will include tracking and measurement elements to ensure everything is on target. These larger cycles are in turn broken down into “micro” cycles. Micro cycles are usually based on a daily or twice-daily training regime.

All planning includes development of technique, tactical awareness, physical preparation (including diet) and importantly mental strength.

Think about some talented youngsters you have coached. How many would think about this level of detail contributing to their success? Would you. or they think it would be necessary in our sport, angling?

You may not think it is, but if you talk to a top performance angler you might quickly change your mind.

I spoke to a top coarse match angler who has fished at the highest level, and recently competed in the Fish O Mania final. He told me that what annoyed him most was turning up to a match and being accused of “just turning up and taking all the money” without any thought being given to the effort he’d put in to his results. The truth of the matter is far more interesting.

What the other anglers didn’t realise was that in preparing to be a pro he’d spent every day for five years (…excluding Christmas!) out on the bank, getting to know every swim and every venue he might fish at. A five-year “Development Plan”, if you like!

If you are familiar with what’s become known as ‘The Rule of 10’ then you might know the theory that it takes 10 years or ten thousand hours of purposeful practice to become an elite performer.

But how many hours of planning…?


Richard Hadley
Angling Trust Coaching Centre Manager and Lead Safeguarding Officer
07720 974811 | [email protected]