Question: Where Can I Find a Good Archery Coach for My Son?

QandA logoI get this question … a lot and there are really two questions here, both of them difficult. The first question is “where do I find an archery coach?” and the second is “where can I find a good archery coach?”

Where Can I Find an Archery Coach
This is a problem that is becoming less of one. Ever since the target archer scene exploded due to the movies (Brave, The Avengers, the Hunger Games, the Lord of the Rings, The Arrow (TV), all of which highlighted brave archers) the number of coaches in the U.S. has about doubled to handle the influx of so many new to the sport. Unfortunately, about half of those are coaches who have been trained to work with children in summer camps only and are likely (but not always) not trained well enough to guide archers in personal lessons.

A place to start looking is here: http://www.teamusa.org/usa-archery/coaching/find-an-instructor-or-coach. This is USA Archery’s Coach Finder web function. Put in your state of residence and you will get a list of coaches sorted by city alphabetically. Scroll down to see if there are coaches available in your town. You can also select what level coach you want before looking at the list. At a bare minimum, a Level 2 coach would be needed for individualized lessons. A Level 3 or Level 4 coach would be desirable for a developing archer who has their own equipment and has attended at least a couple of archery competitions and is serious about becoming a much better archer.

Young ladies at nationals (LB)In addition you can ask local archery clubs and/or local archery shops for recommendations (if they exist). If you are looking for group archery classes, check in with your local park and recreation people.

Where Can I Find a Good Archery Coach
This is a problem like everything else: how do I find a good contractor to remodel my house?, how do I find a good mechanic to work on my car?, etc. In other words, how can you tell a good coach from an ordinary one. This is too complex a topic to handle here, you will find additional guidance in my book “A Parent’s Guide to Archery” but realize there is no Angie’s List or Consumer Reports equivalent here, so you will have to use your own judgment, and because of the relative paucity of coaches, you may be limited to who is available.

What Should I Expect to Pay for Such Lessons
You should not expect lessons to be free, although there is considerable sentiment in the general archery community that lessons for beginners be free, you cannot count on that. Coaches set fees based upon local norms. We use the guideline that for beginner group lessons, each lesson should cost about what a ticket to the movies costs. For individual lessons, some coaches charge based upon their training. (Level 2 coaches might be $20 for a one-hour lesson, Level 4 coaches might be $50 for a one hour lesson. Elite coaches are typically $65 per hour and up.) Some coaches charge based upon the level of the students (less for beginners, more for more advanced students) and some charge less for youths than they do for adults (based upon the ability to pay?).

Concluding Remarks
Most archery coaches are good people (that is my experience, any way) but you need to know that coaches specialize. Some are experts at shooting recurve bows, Olympic-style but know much less about compound bows. Others are experts at compound archery but know very little about recurve bows. Few are as expert with one kind of bow as they are with the other.

What you are looking for is someone who communicates well with your child and with you. (I, for example, encourage follow-up questions via email (at no charge) as an aid to both parents and archers, but not all coaches necessarily do this.) For young archers, I expect a parent to be there for the whole lesson. If there are equipment issues, I will discuss them both with the archer and the archer’s parent. (No one likes to have their kid jacked up about acquiring some expensive new sports equipment, leaving it to the parent to be the bad gut because they do not have the budget for it.) If there are complex issues to address I want both archer and parent there because it may take both to comprehend what is being discussed.

Good luck!

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About Steve Ruis

Being born in the first half of the previous century gives one a certain perspective.
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