by Jason J. Brown - Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Participation in the shooting sports is on the rise across the U.S., with more youths and young adults joining shooting teams and clubs each year, and more schools, universities and community groups establishing programs for competition shooting. These programs promote not only marksmanship and firearms safety, but build character through sportsmanship, community and team building.
If you ask any of the athletes in the thousands of shooting programs nationwide who is responsible for their success, odds are the first person they’ll attribute to is their coach.
The athletes go on to make amazing accomplishments in their disciplines. Consider the recent successes of Olympic shooting stars and NCAA student-athletes who emerged from high school shooting programs to win top honors. Many of those stars began their competitive shooting careers under the tutelage of dedicated coaches.
Coaches are the boots-on-the-ground mentors, teachers, and supporters that provide instruction to these athletes as they progress in the sport, developing not only the skills and training needed for competitors to become champions, but also building relationships, trust and guidance that last a lifetime.
The rising number of young Americans in the shooting sports necessitates more dedicated shooting sports coaches to help train and shape new competitors. For those ready to stop watching and start coaching, the NRA Coach Education Program is the best place to begin.
With more than 8,000 NRA Coaches nationwide, the NRA Coach Program sets the standard for credentialing shooting sports coaches and junior trainers. New prospective coaches attend an NRA Coach Development School, the heart of the program.
According to NRA National Coach Trainer Dan Subia, the two-day school is designed to bring in any interested candidate regardless of their familiarity with the shooting sports and prepare them to join a program and start making an impact.
The NRA’s National Coach Development Staff of certified coaches teaches the program, hand-selected by the NRA for their talent, expertise and teaching acumen. Prospective coaches who attend the school learn the fundamentals of safety and risk management, shooting competitions, rules, etiquette, ethics, use of equipment and facilities, and program management.
Upon completion, Level 1 coaches will be able to successfully begin teaching novice and intermediate shooters the basics of competition shooting. Coaches can then ascend the ranks of the NRA Coach Program, moving on to become Certified and Advanced Certified Coaches through additional training.
Those seeking to become a Level 1 certified credentialed coach must be at least 18 years old. Those under 18 are eligible to become Junior Trainers, who help younger shooters learn firearms safety while working under direct supervision of a certified coach in team activities.
NRA Coaches are training shooters at all levels, from upstart youth shooting clubs in small town America to preparing the world’s best shooters to take on global competition on the biggest stages.
Lay the foundation for a lifetime of safe and enjoyable marksmanship, and make an impact on an athlete’s success as an NRA Coach. NRA Coach schools are held throughout the country at gun clubs, shooting organizations and through sponsored individuals.
To get started, search for an NRA Coach school in your area through the NRA Training Portal, visit the NRA Coach website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
(Main and marquee photo courtesy/Brenau University)