I may not be a coach, but I can instruct
This past weekend, along with competing in the New England Championship, I took a level 3 archery coaching certification course. Because I do not meet the prereqs, passing the course did not mean I would be a level 3 coach, but instead I would get the highest certification I was eligible for; level 2 instructor.
Initially, I wanted to take this course to learn more about archery. I want to be a self-sufficient archer who knows how to take care of my own equipment (within reason). I have lots of people I can ask questions to and learn, but sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know AND I figured I could learn a lot in a short amount of time by taking a 20 hour course.
Next, I decided to take the course, as it would open up further career opportunities. I’ve felt very stuck in my current profession, so any chance to broaden my horizons or open more doors, and I’m game. Taking this course would be a first step in starting my own JOAD (junior olympic archery development) program, if that is something I decide to pursue. Archery is a sport in a unique situation, as the mainstream media is doing an excellent job promoting the sport and bringing kids in, however, there is not a large enough network of coaches and instructors out their currently to handle this significantly increased load. So off I went to sit in 20+ hours of class and take a test at the end.
Overall, I thought it was a good course, and I took home a lot. Specifically I learned in detail the NTS (national training system) for recurve shooters. I liked this because even though I have made the decision to shoot compound, this gave me the tools (most importantly the terminology) to speak with recurve archers about their form. I was most impressed by the time spent on “learning about coaching.” I think too many sports think anyone who knows a sport can be a coach, which I disagree with pretty strongly. Yes, you have to have a solid understanding of the sport in order to coach, but sport knowledge doesn’t make you a good coach in my book. In fact, I think some of the world’s best athletes would NOT make a good coach.
To me coaching is about putting the athlete and their goals first, not yours, so I was glad to see this same principle continually hit on over the weekend. We had an interesting class, in that we had a wide range of talents and backgrounds all in the same course. This made it difficult at times for the instructor, who had to balance the needs of many different people at once. I think she did an excellent job of trying to keep us on topic, but allowing discussion and questions from the group.
Overall, I think the weekend was a success, with first taking the win at New England’s and then passing the test to get my Level 2 Archery Instructor Certification! So while for the next year, I cannot be classified as a coach in the sport of archery, I can still be an instructor, but more importantly I hope to continue to be a student of the sport, so I can keep learning.