I took on the task to elevate the art of coaching archery when I realized I was not going to be able to get anyone else, or any organization, to do that. Okay, so I have a big ego, to believe I can help somehow. Actually, I figured someone has to help archery coaches and if I don’t do it, who will? I did try to enroll others in this task, but.…
There was so much that needed to be done, that could be done, but what should I do? I was told I wrote fairly well and I enjoyed that, so that’s what I decided my contribution could be: to create a coaching literature for the sport of archery. I started by asking the coaches I knew to write a book about “coaching archery” that I would get published … somehow. At first all I got was No,” followed by No, no way, Hell no, uh ah, sorry, no can do … and so on. Recently I have been having more success in getting really good coaches to write about coaching (to the point I am swamped with book projects and have less time to do other things like post stuff here).
So, the point I am getting to … ever so slowly … is that I always have my “feelers” out for anything I can learn about coaching. Recently I saw a copy of an old Archery World magazine on eBay with an article in the table of contents that I knew I had to have (so I bought it). The article was “How the Olympians Will Be Coached” by Bud Fowkes. Bud Fowkes was our first modern Olympic coach in 1972 and this was the July 1972 issue of that magazine. (If you do not know, archery was kicked out of the modern Olympic games after the St. Louis games because of a lack of consistent structure (rules, rounds, etc.). It took almost 65 years to create FITA (Now World Archery) and argue out the details to get back in.)
In that article, Mr. Fowkes states “So, I believe a coach must first be a teacher or at least fully understand the teaching methods before he or she can successfully do the job.” (emphasis mine)
Since it is, as we all know, a small world, I had just gotten off the phone with Larry Wise, one of our most (I think just “most”) prominent compound coaches. And guess who Larry’s mentor was … uh huh, Bud Fowkes. And can you also guess what Larry’s former occupation was? He was a math teacher. Larry understands “the teaching methods.”
Teaching shows up in many, many ways in archery coaching. Obviously, if you train other coaches, that is a form of teaching. If you work with beginners, that is mostly teaching. There are just many, many ways in which being a good teacher equates to being a good coach. It isn’t all of coaching, but a healthy part for sure.
So, I have my next task on my to do list. Explain “the teaching methods” in a way helpful to archery coaches. Luckily, we all have a touch stone. If we had a really good teacher when we went through school, we at least have that memory to help us. Unfortunately, I suspect that those memories are more than a bit vague, but if all you have is a warm feeling toward that teacher, at least you have an idea of what kind of impression you want to leave your archers with.
Now all I have to do is find the time to write the stuff … <sigh>.