Learning by Lurking

You have heard or read me saying that there is great benefit to working with a coach. But what if no suitable coach can be found. For example, I receive a plea from a gentleman in India who was looking for a Barebow coach. There were Olympic Recurve coaches readily available but nary a Barebow coach in his region. I ended up hooking him up with a coach in Germany, where he went frequently enough on business.

I offer that story in support of those of you who complain about how hard it is to find a coach. Yes, it is hard, but not impossible.

In any case, what the heck is “lurking?”

Lurking is a term I picked up from the internet. It referred to people who read online discussions, but did not participate in them. I have done this myself, when I did not feel I knew enough to contribute, but could learn from the interchanges of others.

“So, if you can’t find a coach, I should listen to coaches interacting? Is that what you are recommending?” you ask. No, not quite. If you think it is hard enough to find a coach who can help you, finding a group of coaches discussing exactly what might help you, which you can eavesdrop upon has to be orders of magnitude more difficult. What I am recommending is that you check out “how to coach” books.

These are books that help coaches in their coaching.

There is one draw back. Often enough, these books assume the reader knows the terminology and the issues, so they do not explain what back tension is or often enough, why it might be desirable. But some of the more helpful books do. (Coaches do not always know such things, so we urge our authors writing for coaches, to review the basics to help out those readers.

Here is a sterling example: Larry Wise on Coaching Archery. This book is a master class on compound archery. If you cannot find a compound coach and are therefore stuck coaching yourself, this book is a goldmine. While Coach Wise is teaching archery coaches how to evaluate their archer’s form and execution, he is also showing you how to do just that. All you need do is have someone take some still photos and videos of you shooting and then you can sit down and see what it is you need to work on, guided by one of the best compound coaches alive.

His book also has five chapters on helping coaches help archers with their equipment. These could also help you directly. And since he is not talking to newbies, you aren’t getting basic stuff. You are getting quite a bit of advanced information.

There are also three chapters alone on the mental game of archery.

So, while you do not have the interaction a flesh-and-blood coach provides, you get to learn from one of the best available.

So, in this case, lurking is looking at whether books written for coaches can help you directly. Often enough, books written for archers, what I refer to as “how to shoot books” are minimally helpful and one is much like another. Archers often find themselves sifting through such books looking for a single nugget or two of information they did not already have. The coaching books, the god ones any way, seem to be well-organized as to how to deliver the information they contain and may actually be easier to learn from.

My personal recommendations are Coach Wise’s book, described above, and Bob Ryder on Coaching Collegiate Archery which focuses more on Recurve archery and, well, college students are adults, just like you and how they learn archery is not far from how any adults learn archery.

These books may just complement the how to shoot books and provide you with the next best thing to having a real live coach.

Obviously, if you don’t have a mentor as an archery coach, such books may be the only mentoring you have available. I assumed, at first, that this went without saying, but then I reconsidered.

2 Comments

Filed under For All Coaches

2 responses to “Learning by Lurking

  1. There also is an option for some to come into an arrangement with a coach via the Internet and video which is not the ideal but may be workable. I agree that self-coaching is probably not best but as you mention, for some it is their choice or only workable option (money issues).

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