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Women’s Coaches Corner

By Michael Nowicki

Women Coaches Bring a Diff erent Perspective: Rifl e Coach Kim Nowicki

Shooting has the stigma

of being a predominantly male-oriented sport, howev- er, that isn’t necessarily the case. Karen Nowicki proves that gender has nothing to do with being competitive. Nowicki got into shooting thanks to her father, and it all began when she started plinking when they went camping. She didn’t plink for long though. She started to competitively shoot a .22 Anschutz in high school, and she was quite successful. She shot at Camp Perry

multiple times, and the Ar- lington High School team (where she trained) was national high school cham- pions when she was with them. After high school she got a scholarship to Eastern Kentucky University thanks to her shooting prowess, and she continued to rack up the wins. However, for Nowicki,

shooting goes far beyond simply putting lead down range. “I enjoy the chal- lenge. You’re never perfect. Each shot is a new oppor- tunity.” However, life, as it always does, has a way of getting in the way of things. Karen Nowicki had a son with Jeff Nowicki, and she stopped shooting. But, that is not where her story ends. When her son came of

age he started shooting at the Arlington International

Nowicki coaches a shooter in her local club.

Airgun Club (AIAC) in Arling- ton Heights, Illinois. She decided to get back into it all, and she began coach- ing. Nowicki has been at the club for the past seven years mentoring kids to become the best shooters that they can be. Jumping back in didn’t

come easily for her though. She hadn’t been deeply in- volved in the sport and she had to learn new techniques due to the fact that the sport had really evolved since she was in the thick of it. Nowicki takes it all in stride, and she is a staple at the club prac- tices and tournaments. She is the only woman coach at the club, but she doesn’t feel that being a woman in

the sport is a hindrance, but rather an opportunity. “Women coaches bring

a different perspective to training. High-performance athletes need more than one perspective to reach their potential.” She did admit though

that mentoring women was different than dealing with men. “Women tend to lis- ten a little better,” she said. ”They don’t assume they know. A lot of guys come in feeling like they’re sup- posed to know so you have to work through that.” The one constant she mentioned was that both want to excel quickly. She did offer up some tips for dealing with young-

er women shooters and just coaching in general. She found that one-on- one coaching was key, but coaching in a group did have its benefi ts. The main differ- ence that she found was that men felt like they belonged shooting while some of the younger girls needed to feel like they had a clear goal to reach. No matter the gender, a shooter is a shooter and hard work and dedication from coach and athlete are the keys to success. Besides coaching, she did

have a bit of advice to offer up to women coaches and athletes alike. She said that shooting was very reward- ing and that if a woman - or anyone for that matter - was

May 2015 | USA Shooting News 13

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