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Women Coaches’ Corner


BY SALLY STEVENS NRA LEVEL II SHOTGUN COACH


We Need More Women Shooting Coaches


The youth shooting sports demographic has changed in a positive way over the last several years, moving from predominantly male to a greater balance of male and female shooters. There continues to be, however, a signifi cant lack of female shooting coaches across all shooting sports disciplines. This is totally logical, in my opinion, as the usual time progression for shooters moves from youth shooter to adult shooter and, possibly, adult coach. I believe there is an untapped resource out there to change this pat- tern, as waiting for our many young female shooters to become coaches and men- tors does not need to be the only way to increase female shooting coaches. How do I know this? As a


42-year-old widow and moth- er of three youth shooters, I was asked by their coach to try the sport, just for fun. I declined twice but, being a good Minnesotan, politely accepted on the third offer and shot 2/25. My score was bad, but a spark was ignited in me and I was hooked on both the sport and shooting competition! Within my fi rst year, I logged more than 10,000 targets in practice and competition, completed the NRA Level 1 Shotgun Coach class, and started helping the coach who fi rst introduced me to the sport. Was I, initially, afraid to try and afraid to fail — espe-


cially in front of my children and everyone else at the club? Absolutely. Ultimately it was the encouragement I received from coaches, par- ents,


fellow shooters and


the pride of my children and my love of the game that propelled me forward. Now as a NRA Certifi ed


Level II Shotgun Coach and a member of the National Shotgun Coach Develop- ment Staff, I train, mentor and encourage women to take their own leap of faith to become shooters and coaches. I encourage you to reach out to mothers, sis- ters, aunts, female friends— these are just some of the


many women in our shoot- ers’ lives who have the po- tential to become infl uential, impactful coaches and men- tors.


I mentor several women


coaches who, like me, had never shot a gun before adulthood but are now posi- tively infl uencing hundreds of youth as successful coaches. Coaching doesn’t stop with our athletes; it ex- tends to fi nding those who can impact positive change in our disciplines and coach- ing them towards success. Mothers of youth shoot-


ers are some of my favorite people. Granted, that may be because I started out


as a mother of youth shoot- ers before also becoming a shooter and ultimately, a coach. Mostly it’s because there is something very powerful about a mother committed to your shooting program. Many of my hard- est workers, organized and dedicated volunteers, and most passionate coaches are women. Several did not start out this way and may have not wanted their chil- dren participating in shoot- ing sports at all! A few tips, choice words


and education usually help even the most cautious, pro- tective parent to view shoot- ing sports in a more con- structive light. As a coach, I am particu- larly tuned into all attend- ees on registration day, with youth shooters usually very excited and parents in tow. I fi nd parents with reserva- tions, usually mothers, who wait until the paperwork is done before asking ques- tions regarding safety, proce- dure, or expectations. This is a crucial time and one not to be brushed off. The question you are really being asked is, “Will my child be safe?” Know that it is not enough to simply tell a parent that “yes, everything will be fi ne” — it is your responsibility as coach to prove safety is fi rst and foremost in your program. Part of the requirement


for all our shooters, from new shooters to our na- tional competition squads, is to attend our 30-minute


March 2015 | USA Shooting News 21


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