Archery is a sport that nearly knows no age. You can enjoy shooting a bow from childhood through your senior years. The archer skill-set is continually evolving, with new techniques and practice methods for never-ending learning. An archer at any level of proficiency can continue his or her evolution by working with an archery coach or instructor.
Both archery educators in their own right, coaches and instructors are often lumped into the same category. However, a few stark differences exist between an instructor and a coach. Want to know which one is right for you? Let’s look at a few of the characteristics of each.
An archery instructor usually teaches safety, fundamental skills and equipment use for both recurve and compound archers in the disciplines of 3-D, field, and target archery. Instructors are generally best suited for working with archers who have not yet reached a high level of proficiency, although there are exceptions. Archers working with an instructor often hope to learn shooting mechanics and basic-to-advanced skills. An instructor should also have good working knowledge of equipment set-up and be familiar with archery events. A good instructor can take various aspects of archery, which may be complex, and make them simple to understand and fun to learn. Instructors often work with groups such as the Explore Archery Program and Junior Olympic Archery Development.
Archery coaching is focused on individuals or teams. A coach typically works with developed archers who are aspiring athletes. However, in some cases such as the National Archery in Schools Program, instructors run a two-week introductory gym program and coaches work with the after-school archery teams that compete in tournaments. Most coaches teach beyond mechanics and technique. For example, coaches will work with athletes on the mental aspects of archery, tournament preparation, nutrition and physical training. A good coach helps an archer or archery team build confidence, hone skills and excel in competition.
USA Archery Divisions of Certification
Any archery instructor or coach you work with should be certified. USA Archery, the national governing body for the sport of archery, administers the certification program for not only their organization but also for the National Field Archery Association and the Archery Shooters Association. There are five levels of certification. Instructors can achieve the first two levels; levels three through five represent coaching certifications.
Are you deciding between selecting an instructor or coach? Base your choice on your current archery skill-set, area of concentration and aspirations. To locate a coach or instructor in your area, visit the Where to Shoot page.