I just got a phone call from a former coach trainee who was putting on his own coach training class and had some questions. I was to glad to help, but once again it was pointed out to me that almost no help is being given to the trainers.
If you can recall your last archery coach training class, how did you feel about the level of organization? The quality of materials? The follow-up? You may or may not have been surprised by what you got as you may have had not very high expectations. But the support provided to your trainer was almost nonexistent. There is a “trainer packet” which provides copies of the training materials, a test key, that sort of thing. Of course, your trainer had to buy the training packet. (We get charged to train volunteers who work for free.) From time to time it also included a handout on how to structure the training and even one time a set of PowerPoint slides to use. (I am unaware of anyone actually using those slides. I reviewed them and then set them aside.) There have never been any helpful teaching tips, suggestions regarding how to deal with “test anxiety” that trainees may suffer from, or other practical tips. No suggestions about how to arrange for lunches or training sites (if done at a shop, I always offered a free training for a shop employee as payment). And in this day when you can’t have a meal in a restaurant without the staff asking you many, many times “How was your meal?” and your receipt having a web address to take a “satisfaction survey,” there is an appalling lack of follow-up to coach trainings in this country. (I don’t know about overseas.) I spent some time with a former Executive Director of USA Archery outlining how the group of coaches was a marketing group to which all kinds of things could be sold (“Coach” windbreakers, whistles, lanyards, wind meters, books, online training courses, etc.) and he excitingly took notes, but what we got and continue to get instead is nada, zip, zilch, <cricket, cricket> aka nothing.
All of these examples of the nonexistent “coaching support system” lead us to realize that we needed to actually create such a thing. This blog is part of that effort. The Archery Coaches Guild (www.archerycoachesguild.org) is also part of such a system. The Guild, by the way, is now officially launched. We have sent out thousands of invites to join (which is now free thanks to a helpful sponsor) and we hope to ramp up activity on the website in the next couple of weeks. Come join us. Nobody else seems inclined to offer archery coaches any kind of support, we might as well do it ourselves!
PS If you are reviewing The Beginner’s Guide to Archery Equipment, you have 10 days left to get your review submitted to get a free copy of the eBook that will be produced. You can’t say I didn’t remind you!