Part one in our “Coaches” series. This is a 3:30 minute read.
Shooters tend to have the misconception about the importance of having the new and latest technology (guns, equipment and suchlike) and although can have a positive effect on shooting performance, it doesn’t always last. Alas, the shooter ends up in a vicious cycle of changing kit, obtaining a temporary improvement before the improvement is lost and the cycle starts all over again. Could you honestly add up the amount you have spent on new kit in the last year or so?
Another article will be released in due course that covers the “anatomy” of a coach in more detail, but for this article we will explore why you should be using a coach and although your first experience of using a coach or instructor in shooting was most likely the person who looked after you when you first started, we are going to focus on why you should be using a coach once you are an established shooter.
Coaches are present in just about every sport and can be traced back to the ancient Greek and Roman times. However, coaching in the modern era has only really been truly noticeable since the 1950’s when the first recognised steps in coach education became apparent. The term “coach” is not a protected one, unlike Physiotherapist or Doctor, which means anyone, with or without the relevant qualifications, can call themselves a coach. Many sports have an extremely well-structured system that follows the latest industry standards and, unfortunately, there are sports who’s governing bodies do not take this approach or have done previously but failed to keep their courses updated. A clubs home office approval is granted on the condition that the club has an appropriately qualified coach amongst other regulations.
There are many reasons why individuals become coaches in shooting sports. They may begin coaching at the end (or towards the end) of a career of shooting, they may begin coaching because of a child who has started in the sport. Others may be directed into a coaching role at their club or may gain coaching qualifications to further their own shooting performance.
If you are already an instructor or a coach or looking to move into coaching, it is always our recommendation that you obtain or hold an appropriate qualification (we recommend the ISSF D Licence course, Target Shooting Ireland do a great job running theirs) and obtain suitable public liability insurance for your coaching activities.
Although there are limitless reasons why you should be using a coach, the primary reasons are to develop your ability as an athlete, help you when things aren’t going so well and allow you to have productive training sessions (which in turn can be cost-effective on ammunition as well as improving your performance).
Qualified coaches should have the knowledge, skills, and experience to develop you as an athlete in the short term and the long term. A typical coaching session should be athlete-centered and involve a consultation, assessment, skill development, and match based conclusion.
A productive coaching session can be completed without even shooting a single live shot, of course, this is dependant on the activities being undertaken. Coaching isn’t about needlessly throwing lead down the range, there should be some underlying purpose to the exercises and activities being completed.
A coach shouldn’t be pushing new kit at you unless you really need it. We don’t sell equipment but what we can do is give recommendations about the equipment we think you could benefit from along with the pros and cons of it. We can also recommend sellers where you will get the best service when you really need to purchase something which makes the final decision yours and yours alone. We do not receive monetary payments for our recommendations (with the exception of our Amazon Affiliate Links)
Getting the best out of a coach can be a long-term investment. Sometimes improvements can take a lot of hard work and effort to start showing through. It’s like joining a gym, you, won’t see the lasting benefits in just one or two sessions, you need to go weekly for months to really see the benefits. Coaching is no different. Your coach does not always need to be there for every session, but they should be involved in your training plans and development. We recommend having a face to face coaching session or an assessment every month or so with a mutual plan in place for the training sessions in between. Considering your shooting as a long-term investment we will make a note here that you shouldn’t just be using a coach when things aren’t going right, you should be using a coach even when things are going great.
At the start of this article, I asked the question of how much have you spend on new equipment in the last year or so, I now want to ask you how much you want to spend on new kit in the next 12 months and how much do you want to spend on a coach? The next time you are thinking about spending £100’s on a new piece of equipment, why not consider investing in a coach and see the lasting benefits for yourself.