If you’ve been an archer for a long time and have gathered a respectable amount of experience, you might be wondering what the next step in your archery journey might be. Challenge yourself and broaden your opportunities by achieving a USA Archery coach or instructor certification. A certification will allow you to sharpen your skills, help fellow archers with their form and even professionally coach others to bring in more income.
Which Level Is Right for Me?
The USA Archery Level 1 Instructor Certification is geared toward providing instruction at community programs, summer camps and scout programs through USA Archery’s Explore Archery Program. The USA Archery Level 2 Instructor Certification is designed for those who want to provide instruction for long-term programs like the Junior Olympic Archery Development and the Adult Achievement Award Programs at USA Archery Youth, Adult, and Collegiate Clubs where Level 2 instructors are qualified to be club administrators.
The USA Archery Level 3 Coach Certification focuses on developing coaches who can coach archers individually and in groups. This certification goes into more detail on the National Training System and key coaching skills. Archers don’t have to wait between Level 2 and Level 3 certification courses, so you can achieve the next level as soon as you’d like.
“The Level 3 Coach Course introduces a number of evidence-based practices that will change the sport of archery and coaching,” Guy Krueger, director of education for USA Archery, said. “Over the years we have had a number of elite athletes go through these courses, and not only do they learn about coaching techniques, many report the course helped them learn to improve their own performance.” Krueger recommends athletes over the age of 18 go straight to the Level 2 Instructor course, since Level 1 is not a prerequisite for Level 2.
How did USA Archery design its certification model? “USA Archery’s courses are designed by first identifying the specific learning outcomes that need to be accomplished for a learner to provide the instructing or coaching skills identified at that level to best meet the athlete’s needs,” Krueger said.
USA Archery’s Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Instructor and Coach Certifications are hybrid courses that include an online component as well as an in-person practical. Instructors can receive their certifications immediately following the in-person portion.
Step 1: Take the Online Course
The online course is self-paced and contains written text, videos, diagrams and pictures, activities, chapter quizzes and an online exam. There is a quiz with each chapter that must be passed with 100% accuracy before moving on. Students can take the quiz an unlimited number of times, so don’t worry if you don’t score 100% the first time.
Step 2: Take the In-Person Practical
The in-person practical is 90% hands-on and activity based. The goal of the in-person practical course is to get the participant on the archery range and provide practice and feedback using the skills learned in the online course. Students will practice safely teaching and instructing archery through micro-coaching exercises and activities, as well as practice setting up archery ranges and other instructional skills.
During the practical, students will receive a USA Archery whistle, stretch band and string loop from their Instructor Trainer. Once their certification is complete, they can order Instructor and Coach Patches from the USA Archery shop to display their certification credentials in a fun way.
Why Get Certified
“I think all archers should get certified if they participate at an intermediate level or greater, because they will not only learn things that will benefit their own development as an archer, they will also gain certification and skills that will provide them opportunities to give back to the sport, help others, and can even make money for their services,” Krueger said. “Archers who are taught properly as an instructor or coach can be high-quality coaches because they can have a better understanding of what it takes to be successful. We are also seeing a lot more professional coaching opportunities arise with the increase in participation in the sport, and getting ahead of the certification process could be a really good investment into a future career for an archer. Personal coaching also provides financial opportunities for archers who coach as well. Typically, what we see is that the higher the certification level and experience of the coach/instructor, the higher hourly compensation they can demand.”
The USA Archery certification is a universal achievement. “USA Archery’s certification courses are accepted by other organizations such as NFAA and ASA, which provides an opportunity to coach clubs and teams in a variety of disciplines and competitions,” said Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s senior director of outreach and education.
Are You In?
Interested in becoming a USA Archery certified instructor or coach? Learn more about the levels and requirements on USA Archery’s website.