Q&A Should Coaches Get Coached

An anonymous writer asked the question “whether coaches get coached?” It was asked in the spirit of should coaches get coached, so that is the question I choose to answer.

I can’t really answer the question with regard to whether coaches get coached. I suspect “not.” This is generally the case for most archers and not just coaches (possibly due to the small number of better coaches). Most archers, at best, get coaching from their fellow archers, that is suggestions from their friends about what to do, when.

With regard to the question “should coaches get coached,” the answer is a definitive “yes.” Every time I have the opportunity to get coached by a better coach, I try to avail myself of that opportunity. Last spring, I received a visit from Larry Wise of Pennsylvania, a world-class archery coach if there ever was one. I talked him into a lesson and a friend talked me (with Larry’s okay) into joining us. Now Larry received a fee (always expect to pay for lessons!) and received an added benefit in that my friend arranged two shooter’s clinics for Larry in the area. So, this is a form of “networking” by which coaches connect with people which can turn into more work for them, so many coaches are willing to do “one off” lessons for this reason.

I even agreed to a coaching session while attending the World Archery Festival in Las Vegas one year. The reason? The fellow contacted me about his inability to find a coach locally and I tried to help him find one but came up empty handed, so I agreed to give him a lesson, while at the Festival. More and more coaches will even give you remote lessons via video clips, Skype, whatever.

The bottom line here is that if you want to coach archers, you should be able to shoot at about their level. Beginning archery coaches should be able to shoot minimally as well as a beginning archer. Intermediate coaches should be able to shoot at the intermediate level. And if you want to coach expert archers, yes, you need to be at the expert level. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to be at the top of any of those particular heaps, but at least you need to have experienced what you are asking your students to do.

Would you take golf lessons from a bad golfer? Tennis lessons from a poor tennis player? Some archery skill is definitely needed and good coaching accelerates the development of that skill.

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