Recession and costs stifle angling coaching

The current economic recession and the high cost of obtaining the relevant qualifications are deterring people from becoming angling coaches, according to Mark Eacock of the Midlands-based Worcester Angling Academy.

Worcester Angling Academy coach Mark EacockProfessional angling coaching, he says, is the latest casualty of the recession that has already hit tackle manufacturers and retail outlets, many of which are closing at an astonishing rate.

People are also being deterred from becoming coaches because of the cost of obtaining a National Governing Body Coaching Certificate, which Mark Eacock describes as "prohibitive" to individuals who do not receive funding or sponsorship, especially during the current economic climate.

He said: "Whilst the Level 1 basic introduction to coaching certificate costs £212.00 and takes two days to complete, the more advanced Level 2 costs about £450.00 and comprises six days of tuition. On top of this, prospective coaches have to pay their travel and accommodation expenses.

"And it doesn't stop there. Once you qualify, there is then an additional annual cost of approximately £50.00 to register as a coach with the licensing board, which gives you the necessary Criminal Record Bureau checks and insurances to coach. This means that by the time an angler has qualified as a coach, it has cost somewhere between £750.00 and £1,000," he added.

It is only when qualified that coaches can start to earn money, says Mark Eacock, but before they do that they need to purchase a minimum of three sets of tackle. "That's three whips, three poles and top kits, three waggler rods, three feeder rods, three seat boxes plus associated terminal tackle, landing nets, first aid kits, wet wipes/towels and other ancillary items. Time and money is then spent on printing leaflets, telephoning tackle shops and approaching fisheries so they have a venue where they can coach."

Mark Eacock recommends coaches to charge £20.00 per hour plus peg fees but added: "Who is willing to pay £50.00 for a two-hour session in today's economic climate?"

He believes the angling trade and fishery owners can both help to support coaches with tackle shops offering coaches reduced price bait and fishery owners subsidising the cost of pegs when they are being used by coaches for training sessions.

Professional coaches are also now more important than ever to angling as they provide a safe and secure means by which youngsters can go fishing.

Mark Eacock said: "Historically, many anglers got their first introduction to the sport by going fishing with their dads, uncles, grandfathers or friends. Today's society has changed with many parents working long hours and an increase in the number of single parent families. The result is that dads no longer have the time to take their sons or daughters fishing, so the role of professional angling coaches is more important than ever."

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