February Newsletter Scottish Archery

Working with a Coach

Over the past few weeks the Winter Olympic Games have been held in South Korea and at every event the athlete’s Coach has been present. This made me think about what role the Coach plays and when you should start to work with a Coach. Having been a very competitive archer I should like to share with you my views on ‘working with a Coach’.

Firstly how soon should you start to work with a Coach? As soon as you want to improve your performance. This can be only a few weeks after completing your beginners course or when you are transitioning from being a ‘social’ archer to wanting to be more competitive. Many archers will seek their own individual Coach to work with and some may use a variety of Coach within their club. If your club has a Coaches(es) they will have skills and knowledge to help you - listen to everything they have to say and discuss their suggestions for improvement with them.

The role of the coach is to create the right conditions for learning to happen, to improve sporting performance and help the archer reach their full potential. However, coaches bring so much more to the role than just achieving results they will also help you get even more enjoyment from archery.

Consequently, the role of the coach will be many and varied, from instructor, assessor, friend, mentor, facilitator, chauffeur, demonstrator, adviser, supporter, fact finder, motivator, organiser, planner and the Fountain of all Knowledge.

So how does all this translate into day-to-day coaching? Well here are just some of the roles that sports coaches are asked to play:

· Assessor and advisor — Coaches need to be able to assess an archer’s performance and advise on which areas need to be improved. The advice given by a coach may also cover training recovery, working with injuries, nutrition, and developing a positive mental attitude.

· Role model — Coaches must understand that their archers look up to them, so it is important that they ‘practice what they preach’, have integrity and behave in a way that is respectful to their sport and those around them.

· Mentor — Many coaches will also find themselves working as guides. The role of a mentor is to guide a less experienced person by building trust and modelling positive behaviour. While coaches need to look after their archer’s health (physical and mental) and their safety, they will also need to get ‘tough’ with their mentee and challenge them from time to time.

· Confidante — Archers are not superheroes. At some stage, they will be disappointed with their results or experience personal issues that may affect their training. An archer’s coach will provide vital support. It is also important that anything discussed in confidence during these times remains just between the coach and archer.

· Motivator — When the chips are down, and their archer is feeling a little flat, a coach can provide them with some much-needed motivation. Motivation at its bestis used to keep propelling archers forward, which is why coaches should spend most of their time providing motivation. Most archers are highly motivated and therefore the task is to maintain that motivation and to generate excitement and enthusiasm.

· Cheerleader — One of the most enjoyable aspects of coaching is celebrating success. Whether it be winning a medal, a final, or simply celebrating a new personal best, it’s important for the coach to celebrate alongside their archers.

Good coaches are not only called upon to improve their archer’s performance but to also encourage positive thinking, teamwork, resilience, a good work ethic, and respect and love for the game. Coaches play an integral part in development, and the influence a good coach can have on their archer’s life can go way beyond the sporting field.

Whether it is a novice archer only weeks into archery or an archer preparing for the Olympic Games, the primary role of a Coach is to provide a unique opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.

Therefore, you can see that it being a Coach is a very difficult task and requires a very special person. The relationship the Archer has with their Coach is pivotal to improving performance and the choice of who you ask to be your Coach is key to making that relationship successful.

If you want to learn, improve your performance and fulfil your potential then identify someone you respect and trust to work with as your Coach. It will definitely be worth it!

Moira Taylor - Scottish Archery Director of Coaching




The Eastern Area Committee invites Archers from across Scotland, with their own equipment, who are up to and including 1st Class level (and indoor equivalent) to attend its Spring Coaching Day. The day promises to be packed full of knowledge, information and learning – can you really afford to miss it???

When? Saturday 7th April 2018 – 10.30am to 3.30pm

Where? Beeslack Community High School, Penicuik

How much? £15 per person if received between 1 March & 25 March

Early booking discount: £13 per person if received by 28 February.

Contact Moira Taylor at moi.taylor@blueyonder.co.uk or the Scottish Archery Website for a Registration form.

Review of the Scottish Ranking Criteria

We would appreciate your views regarding the criteria for the Scottish Outdoor ranking system. As Archery GB have changed the UK rankings we are taking the opportunity to review our system and would like to seek views from Scottish Archery members.

Please complete the following survey: Scottish Ranking Survey

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Children from 3 local primary schools (Madderty, St Dominic's RC & Crieff primary school) attend our Soft Archery extra curricular club, which is organised and run by Crieff high school sports leaders who completed the Scottish Archery training in soft Archery. The session is supported by our local Primary PE specialist Mrs Kirstine McGregor and we have member's from the local Crieff Archery club too. It's brilliant fun and the participants love it. “The Crieff cluster have really driven the Soft Archery development in the area. This is a completely new activity in the area and it is great to see the programme going from strength to strength through input from a number of key personnel and partners including the local club. We were keen to introduce the children to the sport of Archery at an earlier age to highlight the benefits and value of the sport”. Laura Baxter - Scottish Archery Club Development Officer

Archery GB Competitions Workshop

Scottish Archery are delighted that Archery GB will be holding one on their Competition Review Workshops in Scotland. It will be at Beeslack High School in Penicuik, just outside Edinburgh on the 11th March at 10.30am. Please can we encourage as many Scottish Archery members as possible to attend. We realise that Penicuik is still quite far for our members in the North and West to travel to, so we hope to share details of the workshop afterwards. However it is important that we get members attending in person so that Archery GB will come to Scotland in the future for matters like this. More information is available on the Archery GB website.

Coaching Tip of the Month

What exactly is effective Coaching?

Many Coaches have been brought up to think that they need to have all the answers and come up with all the solutions to help their athlete become better. They want to tell their athletes how to improve but this is not in my opinion what we should be doing. As a Coach if you constantly tell your athlete what to do they will take no responsibility for their own learning and will not grow and they will become too dependent on you as their Coach. The athlete needs to be proactive in trying to find answers eg there are lots of resources out there especially with videos easily available. And if we are being honest it can make the Coach feel important telling athletes what to do and we need to remember we are there for the athlete’s needs not our own.

If you remember when you were a child and your parents kept telling what to do you would eventually switch off and stop listening – well your athlete will probably do the same.

So how can we help our athlete take responsibility for their own learning?

Firstly we stop telling and we start listening. I was once told “we have 2 ears and 1 mouth so shut up and listen more”. This was excellent advice.

So effective coaching is NOT giving instructions but rather ASKING questions that help the athlete discover for themselves what works for them and what needs to change. And once you have asked the questions keep quiet and let the athlete answer – some athletes will answer quickly but some may take some time to reflect and as a Coach you need to give them that time – don’t fill the silence, give them the time they require.

Ask one question at a time and remember to listen to the answer as this will probably lead you on to a further question – if you don’t listen you may just miss something very important.

There will of course be some issues that the athlete does not know the answer to but the Coach needs to have asked the question first to determine that and then this will lead to a discussion by both parties.

When asking a question you are looking for information so make sure that you ask Open Questions ie questions that you cannot answer Yes or No as this does not provide you with information. Start questions with the words what, where, who, how, which, when and why and these words will encourage more information being given by the athlete.

Don’t make assumptions – if you are unsure of what the athlete is telling you or you don’t understand then ask for clarification eg what exactly do you mean? – don’t assume, ask.

And don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions as they may just get to the root of the problem.

It has been found that by asking questions a coaching session can be more fulfilling for the athlete. Why not give it a try at your next coaching session – if it’s not something you do please practise as you and your athlete will have a stronger relationship.

Here are some sample Questions you could use:

♣ What would you like to have as a result of this coaching session?

♣ What is important to you now?

♣ What areas or issues would you like to work on?

♣ What steps can you identify that will help you achieve your long-term goal?

♣ What will make you feel this time has been well spent?

♣ How will you know when you have achieved your goal?

♣ How have you tackled this or a similar situation in the past?

♣ What could you do differently?

♣ Who else has encountered a similar situation?

♣ Which option feels right to you?

♣ If anything was possible what would you do?

♣ What could you do if you had more time, money, freedom etc?

♣ What do you need to stop doing to achieve this goal?

♣ What obstacles stand in your way?

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