It has come to that time of year in IFAF when the Instructors need to justify their being by submitting their logs and classification cards. For some this is a simple matter of uploading a file that has all of their coaching or instruction detailed for the year, conscientiously updated after every session, with every task they have done and every bit of information they have gleaned dutifully noted. For others it’s a frantic scramble to gather random notes and ask the club admin for dates of courses that were run over the year, straining the memory for the name of the archer who needed to work on their release in October…or was that January? … Obviously I’m going to say that the former is a more sensible way to document what you’ve been doing, not only showing you the progress of a specific archer, but also of your own coaching or instruction journey through the season.
Before we go further, I should explain that while they are similar, the terms ‘coach’ and ‘instructor’ are very different in their own ways, and while we tend to use them interchangeably, we should be aware of these key differences. If you look at the materials from the IFAF and indeed the IFAA you will see that while the heading may be “Coaching” or “Coaching and Training” the documentation usually refers to Instructors. There are many definitions if you want to go searching but to me the key difference is this; an Instructor teaches a specific skill set, in the most basic terms, shoot straight, shoot safely, do not injure yourself or another. They would have a thorough knowledge of the various styles and the rules of the sport. They should understand the bio-mechanics of the shot and apply that knowledge to archers from beginners to the seasoned veteran. The role of a Coach is more about the focused and holistic approach, playing the mental game, taking nutrition, stamina, overall fitness and of course the skillset required for the mechanics of shooting into the equation to round the archers’ game if you will.
What we as Instructors and or coaches need to look to is what the archer wa