Why Are You Taking Lessons?

I had some new students when coaching in the suburbs yesterday. Part of my initial interview is the question: “Why do you want to be coached?” Yesterday I got thoughtful and well-reasoned answers from the two adults but most youths just shrug and answer “to get better.” But yesterday I got two teenagers to admit they were taking lessons because it made their parents happy.

Parents often find archery a very attractive activity for their children. It gets their kids away from their computers/smartphones, it gets them outdoors (in the summer), it is a physical activity, and a social sport. Archery promotes safety, being responsible, etc. I am sure you know all of these things. Parents support their children participating in archery by buying them archery equipment, paying club dues, signing them up for a JOAD or other youth program, and even getting them lessons.

When I got the honest answer from those two teenagers, I lauded them for being honest and for wanting to please their parents. (I often say that archery is one of the few activities than teenagers will willingly do with their parents.)

I do go on, though, to explain that if they decide they want to become very good at archery there are a couple of consequences. One, of course, is they have to ramp up the amount of effort they are making to learn and grow in the sport, the other is that they cannot let their parents goals guide them anymore. If they want to become very, very good, the motivation behind that has to come from inside them.

I ask whether they understand that and if they signal yes, I leave it there. The rest can come when they are making the transition from recreational competitive archer to serious competitive archer, if they indeed do that.

1 Comment

Filed under For All Coaches

One response to “Why Are You Taking Lessons?

  1. Years ago I started requiring a minimum age for students because the parents were treating me like a glorified babysitter. I also started to require parents to be present during the lesson if their child was under a certain age. Partially in case the child misbehaves, partially due to health reasons as they could have allergies I am not aware of, and also partially due to legal reasons as I don’t want to get sued if their child is a safety hazard. I never had an issue with any of those three topics, but I decided to be proactive about it. One more however is partially because I don’t want to be a glorified babysitter.

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