By: Johnathan Karch
Recently I completed the USA Archery Level 2 Archery Coach certification course. My love of traditional archery inspired me to take the course. I wanted to be ‘certified’ to teach archery, and be able to help others to enjoy archery as much as I do. Though I have literally been shooting a bow and arrow as long as I can remember and have been working in the traditional archery industry since the mid-90s, I have always felt that I was ‘missing something’ that I could refer to as being qualified to teach others how to shoot a bow and arrow. Do not get me wrong, I am very comfortable tuning bows, arrows, or any other archery gear, but when someone says, “What am I doing wrong” when I’m shooting on a 3D target course with them, I hold back a bit with my opinions. I consider myself a decent shot, and have plenty of experience shooting a bow, but I didn’t feel like the right person to be telling others how to shoot all the time. Though I have done my best through the years, and I do hope that I have helped fellow archers.
To become an archery coach I first went to the http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Archery/ Web site. I found an entire section of the site devoted to coaching. I learned about the different levels of coaches and requirements, and decided on a level two coach certification. I believed my background and lifetime of experience would advance me past a beginner level 1. The level two course covers teaching intermediate archers, as well as teaching level 1 coach certification, which I hope to do with the staff of 3Rivers Archery.
It is relatively easy to take the coaching course. The level two course (at the time I took it) required a background check (since you will be qualified to work with children), taking the SafeSport online class (focuses on preventing abuse in sports), and being a member of USA Archery or NFAA. Once these prerequisites were met I easily found a course in my area and signed up.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn my class had only three other students. This offered a lot of personalized learning and plenty of discussion about each topic covered. Everyone else at the class was an archery coach on one level or another, which gave me many ideas on how to apply myself as an archery coach. The class was 12 hours long spread out over two days. We had hands-on learning with shooting bows and taking turns being a coach for another student. I really did enjoy the range time as learning about something and doing it are very different things. We covered many topics, from warm up techniques, in-depth coverage of shooting form, coaching positions, setting up and maintaining archery gear, and tons of archery skills and drills to help teach archery students. This is a brief overview, but in the near future I intend to post more articles about what I learned and how to apply it.
The class was a great experience for me and I look forward to applying what I learned in my work when talking with fellow archers on the phone and online. I even hope to get involved with local archery programs, sharing my new knowledge with others. I plan to check with local churches and schools about starting archery classes, or even offer private lessons myself. Time will tell.