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My coaching journey by Kim Atkinson

If you had mentioned fishing to me five years ago, it wasn’t something that I’d ever thought of doing! I believed it was something that was maybe a bit old fashioned? However, looking back I couldn’t have been more wrong. I absolutely love it!

Kim with Simon Mottram

Introduction to Let's Fish!

I was aware of the Let's Fish! introductory sessions through the day service I work for as I had taken some of our members (young disabled adults) to them. Let's Fish! was an amazing opportunity for them and I couldn't believe how much they got from the sessions.

Because of this positive initial experience, I then decided to start taking my son, Ollie, who also really enjoyed them! The coaches were brilliant and made the experience so much fun that much to my surprise, I even began to take an interest myself. This hobby was something that Ollie and I could do together. This was especially relevant during the Covid period when not all hobbies were available.

Ollie at Mottification

Amazingly, then with the encouragement of Peter James and Neil Powell, two stalwart Let's Fish! coaches, I decided to take it further and train to become a coach myself!

The level one experience

I undertook my level one training with the Angling Trust online over a couple of evenings. It was great to meet other like-minded prospective coaches and share our stories and experiences. Whilst I certainly had the least angling experience, it really didn't matter for everyone was so friendly and supportive.

The importance of the training was to secure an understanding of the basics of fishing. Also, the importance of building a good rapport with the people you were coaching was emphasised, especially how to put participants at ease and keep them engaged during the session. This I felt would come naturally to me as I love meeting new people and being a Beaver Scout leader certainly helps with the children! At the end of the training, I felt confident that I could go out and do what was expected of me.

Kim Atkinson Let's Fish! coach

Mottification training days

The two mottification training days were just brilliant! The objective was to get a decent grounding in coaching new participants in a typical narrow canal setting. I was so enthusiastic and keen to learn from Simon. He really knows his stuff and I learnt loads both at the indoor session but, especially with the practical training we did on the Shropshire Union Canal at Soudley, part of the venue for the 2022 National Celebration of Young People and Fishing.

He was amazing to watch, and I just tried to take in as much as I could! I was able to take Ollie with me and he was lucky enough to have some 1-1 coaching with Motty himself! If you want to know more about what Simon taught us, it's very similar to the material in this video.

Kim & Simon

My first Let's Fish! coaching day

My first day coaching was on the Walsall Canal and although I confess to being a bit nervous, Pete and Neil looked after me and put me at ease. The fishing was on the challenging side due to the weather conditions, but I kept smiling, kept talking and all the children still had a great time!

It was lovely to see girls coming to the sessions and equally they were excited to see a female coach! I have found there aren't that many of us female coaches yet, which is something that I hope to see more of in the future. Come on girls!

Working as a team with Let's Fish! coaches

Pete and Neil have been amazing and really helped me out with not only their own knowledge and experience but also helping me put together my own coaching equipment. We work really well as a team, and they always check in on me and make sure I'm doing ok. In fact, everyone I've met so far from the Canal & River Trust has been incredibly supportive and I feel lucky to be part of the Let's Fish! team!

Kim coaching at Let's Fish! event

Future aspirations

I'm still fairly new to fishing and coaching, so I'd like to get some more experience under my belt and then work towards my level two qualification. I'd also like to spend more time fishing with Ollie and help him improve his skills and interest. We're currently working towards participating in the National Celebrations and winning the all-important Fjuka gudgeon mug and roach cap. Finally, I'd like to see more females taking up the sport and would really encourage anyone thinking of having a go to just do it, as Nike once said

If Kim has inspired you to try out fishing, there's a list of upcoming introductory events here.

Last Edited: 28 July 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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