Your Students Need a Club or, Better, a Team

If you have an up and coming archer, one of the best things you can do is get him/her on a team; the better the team, the better the results.

Archery is an individual sport, no? One can learn it alone, one doesn’t need other people. All true, but those “other people” can be valuable assets in the development of any archer. A member of the team who is maybe older, but certainly better can be learned from. Archers of the same ability can push your student to excel or at least keep up. Others can provide peer pressure to come to practice and go to competitions. Other archers have gear your archer may want to try.

When we started our first youth program, it was primarily getting newbies interested in the sport and learning a bit of archery. But soon competitions became a topic of discussion and our choices were to either approach them laissez-faire or embrace them. We decided to embrace them and created a competitive team. This team was not something one could sign up for. It was by invitation only and there were conditions for participation. Those conditions involved attending practices, possessing one’s own equipment, and attending and participating in a minimum number of competitions. The existence of the team was a major item of interest for kids coming through the general program and a goal for some.

When “the team” decided to attend an event, it also tended to sweep everyone together and seep them along. While we provided a very capable coach, neither he nor we provided transportation or lodging, etc. For that we enrolled the parents and the parents were wonderful chaperoning and encouraging the kids.

Archery is a social sport and kids all tend to be conformists. If the best archer on the team is practicing three times a week instead of just two, others will copy them. (Negatives can also be reinforced but our experience is that those are more rare than the positives reinforced.)

We had a case in which an archery mom begged us to let her child participate on the team. The child in question had medical issues that led to social behaviors that made his participation problematic. We put the question of his participation to the members of the current team and they accepted him, but with the proviso that if he didn’t behave he was out. And then they supported him in his team participation. I was, and still am, in awe of the generosity and maturity shown by this group of kids. They not only backed up their generosity but they called their new teammate on the carpet when he started back sliding. The mom of that student credited her son’s participation with a major improvement in his behavior.

So, the benefits to participating on a team are not always obvious or even visible, but with regard to the archery alone I think they are way more positive than negative. And just as parents want to get their children into good schools, if they are serious archers, getting them onto good teams/into good programs is also key.

Those parents and you may need to do some research to identify the really good programs in your vicinity. I hope you have some choice. As archery grows there should be more and more options available to serious competitive archers.

9 Comments

Filed under For All Coaches

9 responses to “Your Students Need a Club or, Better, a Team

  1. I totally agree. Youth have opportunities such as the various “Archery in Schools” programs, Junior Olympic Archery Development clubs and the like. Master’s Division Ages 50+ also have many more clubs around in target (NFAA and USA Archery) with bow hunter and ASA 3-D. Two private active adult communities in Central Florida where I live now have archery clubs. The one I live in has a club roster of over 100 who are actively shooting with many more who love the social and recreational end of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Coach Rama.

    Sir, the environment that I teach archery in, is very different to the rest of the world.
    On the island of Mauritius, it is a culture of ‘dog eat dog’. From the moment they attend school, it is about ultra competitiveness and the parent is responsible.
    The culture of ‘team’, is non-existent in this culture.
    Having said that, I teach them to be the opposite and understand that the others that are doing archery, are their family; ‘the archery family’ and we are there to listen to eachother, learn from eachother and shoot.
    Teaching the required archery mental attitude to these pre-programmed kids, is not easy but not impossible. I am all about changing mindset so as to not compete.
    I always teach my archers to not prioritise competiveness, rather to concentrate on the highest score that they can achieve.
    Via this method, they have come to understand that, if they change their mindset, they have already won the competition because, they are no longer competing against someone else, they are elevating their personal efforts.

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    • Hi, Coach Rama,

      Always good to hear from you.

      In the U.S. competition seems to be god-like but there is a line drawn: you compete with outsiders, but you collaborate with insiders. Insiders may be just your family, or extended family, or an even larger group. The creation of an archery team, when archery is an individual sport (with a small team aspect) is, in my opinion, just the formation of a group of insiders who learn to help one another … exactly as you are doing. The competitions within the group are focused on getting better, not just “winning.”

      The families that have their children competing with one another seriously are, as far as I am concerned, dysfunctional.

      Cheers from the U.S. my friend!

      On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 9:14 AM A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:

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      • Coach Rama

        Hello Mr. Ruis and thank you for your reply.
        The depth of the ‘dark side’ of archery here on my tiny island, extends further that the internal group that you so rightly shone a light on. It actually appears to incorporate the external group.
        There are about 6 clubs here and each is as uniquely ‘dysfunctional’ as the other. The emphasis on internal competitiveness as a strength to be shown off at monthly national competitions, is (for me) a pleasure to see. It simply reminds me how not to do things. I am team coach for one club but do not allow them to compete internally unless just prior to a competition. It is then that they get to produce ‘competitive faults’ and we work on those specifically.
        Two points arise and I believe that you raised these previously;
        the wants of the parents over the needs of the children.
        the very institutions that support this system.
        On the island of Mauritius, the ‘dark side’ is our Archery Federation, who are directly responsible for most but not all, of the mess.
        They allowed me to take course after course both here and abroad, 95% paid for by myself. In doing so, they have created a real and independently free thinking coach (their Frankenstein).
        In fact, I became the first Para-Archery coach on the island last year and my federation, don’t know what to do with me. That really makes me laugh when I think about it.
        Being objectively honest, is part of coaching and plays a part in elevating whatever we do.

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      • According to people who I have encountered who were directly involved with the NGOs of other sports, they all had the same attitude toward and opinion of the NGOs. They thought they were dysfunctional bridging on to malice toward members. Many thought that the motto of USA Archery was “What have you done for us lately?”

        Now that may say more about us as people than the organizations, but we do not ask a lot from these organizations and we get what we ask for. When I got involved in USA Archery I suggested that we poll existing coaches to ask them why they took coach trainings (amongst other things) because I think there was a major disconnect between what the coaches wanted from the trainings and what the Org wanted. The coaches I talked to (and I talked to a great many coaches) wanted to improve their skills, generally to help the programs operating in their home club. (I wanted all of the knowledge I could get to help other coaches, for example.) The Org thought they were training the next cadre of elite coaches. I suggested to them that they weren’t doing that and suggested that their 1-4 coaching levels be considered like a college degree. Then, by invitation only, a cadre of promising coaches could be trained to be elite/national team coaches and whatnot in a semblance of “graduate school.” As you can well understand, I did not get a response to my proposal.

        The task you perform is likely to be thankless as others will probably not acknowledge what you are doing … but I do! Keep up the good work, Coach Rama!

        On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 2:11 AM A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:

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  3. Coach Rama

    Sir,
    the contents of your reply, have fundamentally changed my view.
    Dare I say, that I have been blaming the NGO’s for their inadequacious and allowing them to get away with it. That falls squarely on my shoulders.
    The various ‘governing’ bodies tend to downplay the efforts of the ‘support mechanism’ (us).
    On my island, any one can subscribe to a coaching course but they will not coach afterwards. They are archers that want to learn what coaches teach. Afterwards, they think that they know as much as a coach and don’t nees to be coached.
    6 solid continuous years of coaching whilst attending seminars and coach training, and this is what I have to put up with ?
    It is no wonder that I am frustrated.
    Maybe this could be the next ‘blog’
    “What frustrates you Coach ?”.

    Like

    • May I use your comment on the blog to generate a conversation around “What frustrates you, coach?”

      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 11:19 AM A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:

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      • Coach Rama

        Sir,
        I think ‘Coach / ing frustration’ is a REAL issue.
        We as coaches, are not appreciated or even seen for our efforts.
        Absolutely a conversation should be initiated regarding this area.
        The knowledge of an archer, is not to be found on YouTube (not a coach), passed on by friends or family (not coaches) or, from unqualified teachers.
        The value of us, must be prioritised.
        Yes Sir, please feel free to ask the question.

        Like

      • Thanks, you’ll see something shortly.

        S

        On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 11:56 AM A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:

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