I am not trying to set myself up as a fashion Nazi but I am trying to “professionalize” the coaching of archery, so this topic does come up. We think it is important enough that it comes up in our AER Coach Training Manuals.
Too often I see coaches who have dressed without thinking. We, on the other hand, want to establish a number of things that how you dress impacts on: the validity of coaching fees, coaching authority, perceptions of competence, etc. If you show up to a coaching session in ratty running shorts, flip flops, and a raggedy teeshirt, you aren’t especially broadcasting “professional coach,” now are you?
Here are some of my thoughts:
I Avoid “Archery” Teeshirts Shirts with manufacturer’s logos or which advertise events are what I mean here. If the class is at your club, obviously wearing a club shirt is appropriate. I just don’t want to be giving what appears like equipment advice as a billboard. Fancy shooting shirts are also something I don’t wear. The fact that you are a factory sponsored shooter doesn’t really mean anything with regards to your abilities as a coach.
I Wear Khakis and a Polo Shirt This is a simple outfit that makes you look like a coach. Anyone coming up to the archery field takes one look at you and guesses “that’s the coach.” The whistle around your neck doesn’t hurt, either. Men and women can both wear such an outfit. For really hot weather Khaki shorts are appropriate.
Wear Safe Shoes Students shouldn’t be wearing flip flops, so neither should you be. You are a role model for your students, whether you like it or not. If you tell students they must cover their feet at the range (to prevent wounds from dropped arrows, bug bites, whatever), you will be sending a really mixed message if you violate your own policy.
I am getting a little long in the tooth (a little? all right, a lot) and my comfort is important to me. I don’t expect you to forgoe yours, just to consider how you appear to your students and their parents. There is something to that “dress for sucess” stuff.