Malpractice warning for Sussex coaches

It has come to my notice that one of Martlets’ Coaches has enacted “BAD PRACTICE” and this must not happen again by ANY coach of ANY grade nor any well-meaning club archer, whether a member of Martlets or any other organisation/association/county or country.

I am referring to a direct approach to an archer, offering them “help” without establishing whether the archer has a personal coach and/or is following a prescribed programme or pathway of development. What made this incident worse was that the archer was a vulnerable junior of only 13 and the mother, who was present as well as the archer’s coach, were not consulted neither.

NO coach should assume they have the right to “help” or coach an individual without following the normal protocols, i.e.

  1. Ask if they have a coach, be it a “personal” or “club” coach.
  2. Enquire if they are under 18, then ask a parent BEFORE approaching the archer.
  3. Ask if they have a structured programme they are working to and if so, who is monitoring it for them should the coach not be present.

If any of these 3 questions have positive answers: WALK AWAY & DON’T INTERFERE… unless they are an adult and they ask you for help/advice.

If negative answers are given to the above 3 questions then ask if they want help or guidance and offer your services BEFORE giving any advice OR even making structured observations.

If favoured by the archer, check their state of health and tactfully enquire after any current or past medical conditions or disabilities and ask if they currently have a fitness programme.

Establish their archery history: time in archery, current and past standards, any aims and goals (short, medium and long term) they might have.

Jointly work out a programme they can take ownership of that is both agreeable to them and conforms to the SMART(ER) Goals principles; achievable, time-phased and fun to do.

Constantly review and agree amendments with them that encourages them to continue working, i.e. give them ownership so it is their achievement not yours.

Empower them to have a voice and make the choice, be supportive and positive not negative. Remember, a glass can be both half full and half empty! Make sure yours is the former.
I am sure my colleagues on Martlets Committee will be able to add more to this discussion.

However, beware; if we hear of any recuring malpractice, we will be reviewing your coaching licence and seek support from the Regional & National Renewal Panels as to a course of action, be it mentored re-training or non-renewal of your licence. Let us all hope this will not happen.

Yours for better coaching.
Philip van Buren, Senior & International Coach