Author: Cassie Scott
Are you a certified Level 2 archery instructor? If so, congratulations! That means you can teach Level 1 courses! You can also certify your staff, customers and others in the community to teach archery, which will further increase your customer base.
Lystra Pitts, co-owner of Wasting Arrows in Reno, Nevada, is a Level 4 NTS USA Archery coach. He usually teaches two certification classes annually, and finds it beneficial to hold classes for summer-camp counselors and other community members.
“By hosting the classes at my shop, newly certified instructors know my shop is a potential resource,” Pitts said. “They buy materials, bring their equipment in for repairs and, more importantly, send students to my shop for their equipment. A large pool of certified instructors creates a lot of new archers every year.”
To host a certification class, follow these four tips to maximize your efforts.
Advertise your certification class on USA Archery's Coaching Certification Schedule for maximum exposure. Photo credit: Team USA
Reach Out to Attract Students
Try advertising your class in-store and through your social channels to attract participants, but contact community groups, too. Pitts stays in touch with Scouts, wildlife agencies, parks-and-recreation departments, and nongovernmental organizations when offering classes. Archery is for anyone, of course, so also contact youth organizations, nearby colleges and senior centers to find and train instructors to teach adults.
All such groups often want their people certified, but they don’t always know where to get it done, Pitts said. “I’ve built a great relationship with these organizations, and now they call me to set up a class when they want to certify multiple people.”
To further expand your reach, make sure your store’s information is up to date on USA Archery’s coach locator, and list your class on USA Archery’s Coaching Certification Schedule. Consider teaching individuals, too. Pitts certifies bowhunters and target shooters who want to expand their expertise.
Organize Class Logistics
Picking dates and times for a class is easy, but as Steve Jobs once said, “Success is in the details.” Plan your course and stay organized.
To maximize participation, Pitts recommends holding classes in fall and spring, between archery’s indoor and outdoor seasons. He holds classes at his indoor range to minimize distractions and maximize control. He uses his rental equipment during class for training, and demonstrates his shop’s products, too.
If you don’t have a range, teach your class elsewhere. Some organizations might invite you to teach at their range or facility. If so, give yourself enough time to prepare for offsite classes, and include additional costs such as gas and set-up time in your fee.
Pitts has taught certification classes five years. He recommends class sizes of six to 12 students. Anything smaller isn’t economical, and anything larger requires more instructors. Stay focused on fun and safety.
Make sure the class is an experience everyone will walk away talking about. Photo Credit: Lancaster Archery Academy
Don’t Cut Corners
USA Archery doesn’t have a set cost for its course. Pitts said he charges $150 for Level 1 classes and $300 for Level 2 classes, but makes exceptions when certifying 10 or more participants.
“It’s important to charge a reasonable rate,” Pitts said. “Underpricing the certification devalues the information.”
Discounting the class is also counter-productive. “To charge less than what it’s worth because ‘you want to give back to the sport’ actually hurts the sport,” he said. “We need quality instructors and quality classes. If people can’t make money (teaching), we won’t have either.”
Setting a fair price for your time, resources and information ensures participants take the course seriously and teach archery properly.
Prepare and Give Your All
To ensure you’re ready to teach, study the instructor-certification packet and timeline. Pitts recommends taking a second Level 2 class with a different instructor to confirm you understand the material. While there, take notes and study teaching styles. You can find a list of USA Archery certification classes here.
If you’re nervous about teaching, try partnering with a veteran instructor to gain experience and confidence. Once you’re comfortable with the curriculum and timeline, branch off on your own. Click here to find nearby coaches.
“You want to be able to put on an excellent class worthy of your customers’ money,” Pitts said. “Your goal is to grow the sport, increase the knowledge base of your community, and (produce) instructors who have a full toolbox to build archers and customers. Pour as much knowledge into the class as you can.”
For more information about renewing your coaching certification, or teaching a certification course, visit the USA Archery website. Questions? Contact USA Archery at (719) 866-3451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Samantha Seaton, ATA’s outreach and education program manager, at (866) 266-2776, ext. 133, or email@example.com.