Family Fishing female and elderly parent with children having instruction

Quick Wins

10 January 2019 

Richard Hadley, Angling Trust Coaching Centre Manager and Lead Safeguarding Officer explains how repetition in practice aids improvement….

Using “Fixed Practices” can produce rapid improvement in the shortest of time.

Fixed Practices are the repetition of a specific part of a technical movement. A simple example where this might be used is an overhead cast. Repeated casting to a fixed point offers the opportunity to have “lots of goes” without any variables.

The advantage for coaches is that you can focus on a single principle or coaching point, such as stance, grip or wrist position.

Choose only one coaching point to concentrate on as this makes it easier to observe, analyse and give feedback.

With complex movement patterns it sometimes pays to have an “order” in which to approach this. To give an example from cricket, I tend to go head, hands then feet for batting and feet, hips/shoulder alignment then head for bowlers.

I’d imagine in casting that the latter might be the best way to go. What do you think? Interestingly, in complex movement involving the acceleration and deceleration of a held object like a bat or rod, it’s the grip that is always the culprit when things don’t go quite right.

You could try looking at all the other aspects (…feet, hips, shoulders etc.), but these “imperfections in technique” are caused by our bodies trying to subtly adapt to a grip that doesn’t allow forces to be applied in straight lines.

Just watch any professional ball striker. The first thing they check before getting ready – and they visibly check – is their grip on the object. Each time, every time.

For the performer it can mean quick gains as well, especially as habits are difficult to change. It’s estimated that making any change to a habitual action takes between 3,000 and 10,000 corrected repetitions. Imagine how many times you’d have to go fishing to achieve that!

This doesn’t just apply to game anglers. Watch coarse and sea anglers. How many actually grip a rod correctly to achieve accurate and consistent casts and what is the “correct grip”? Hand spacing? Hand alignment? Thumb position?

The downside of fixed practices? They can get very boring and demotivating if the challenge is too difficult. To avoid this, choose outcomes that are more ambitious than actually required and then tighten up the outcome until it balances the ability. Don’t forget to increase the difficulty as the technique is refined.


Richard Hadley
Angling Trust Coaching Centre Manager and Lead Safeguarding Officer
07720 974811 |