With the objective of expanding coaching expertise and continuing a legacy of Olympic achievements, USA Shooting has constructed its own advanced Coach Academy to better educate and train coaches throughout the country in the specific Olympic shooting disciplines. The Academy officially begins leading interested coaches down an extensive coaching career path Tuesday, March 1.
The pay-as-you go Coach Academy model will provide coaches with an extensive online library of curriculum covering discipline-specific material as well as general coaching courses.
Accreditation as a USA Shooting Advanced Coach will require NRA Level I certification, completion of all Academy online coaching courses related to the person’s intended discipline of study and a required ground course with USA Shooting Master Instructors. Advancement to USA Shooting High Performance Coach certification will be by invitation only within each of the specific Olympic shooting disciplines and requires completion of the Advanced Coach Certification program and ground course to be eligible for consideration.
“To maintain our history of success as an organization, it is mandatory that USA Shooting offers our coaching community the opportunity and instruction necessary to become the most capable coaches possible to train our developing athletes,” said USA Shooting’s Mike Theimer, who spearheaded the 1.5-year effort. “We recognize coaches as the multipliers to everything that we do. There are future Olympic athletes looking to get on the Olympic path but without knowledgeable and educated coaches to push them along, we’re not realizing our full potential.”
The mission of the USA Shooting Coach Academy is to build a future pipeline of trained coaches in the Olympic shooting sports by providing easy access to a standardized, quality coach education program that has been built from proven practices and a knowledgeable network of content experts, mentors and quality coach instructors.
In order to make the program successful long-term and eventually self-sustaining, the Coach Academy will be made available internationally supporting Olympic shooting sport coaches from across the globe.
“The Academy’s greatest impact will come when we effectively reach outside of our little sphere with a program that can enhance our sport worldwide,” Theimer said. “I’m hopeful that at some point down the road we will have coaches from other countries asking to author content for our Coach Academy.”
The launch of the Coach Academy represents just the starting point for the program with new courses set to come online periodically. Theimer envisions an Academy that has courses for parents, athletes and volunteers and is already working on the next phase. Growth and improvement is a key component to the program’s success.
Presently the Coach Academy features 46 available classes including: 21 common core classes; nine pistol-specific courses; 12 rifle-specific courses; and four shotgun-specific courses. Fifteen additional courses will be added to the program in the coming months.
Entry into USA Shooting’s Advanced Coach certification program will be determined by certain prerequisites or ‘readiness indicators.’ Click here to activate the assessment tool.
Serving as the host of the online Coach Academy materials is ePath Learning Management System (www.epath.com), which provides easy course development options with interactive tools, tests, reports, notifications and forums available for Academy administrators. Click here to access the Coach Academy Learning Management System User Guide.
Critical to the program’s development and further advancement is a network of USA Shooting volunteer coaches that helped oversee the project and created the current online course work. The Coach Academy Advisory Team Discipline Leaders were the founders of the USA Shooting Coach Academy and made significant contributions as content providers and team leaders. They include: Richard Hawkins (Rifle/Pine Mountain Georgia); Eric Pueppke (Pistol/Amenia, North Dakota); Will Hart (Pistol/Cumberland, Rhode Island); and Les Greevy (Shotgun/Williamsport, Pennsylvania).
Master Instructors identified through the Coach Academy include Hawkins, Pueppke and Greevy along with Paul Davis (Union, South Carolina) and Valerie Boothe (Oxford, Mississippi) in Rifle, Steve Faught (Amenia, North Dakota) in Pistol and Mike Simpson (Hartsfield, Georgia), Hank Garvey (Newburyport, Massachusetts), Jay Waldron (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Craig Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) and Terri DeWitt (Columbia, Missouri) in Shotgun. These first Master Instructors will develop the Advanced Coach ground course instructors who will become Master Instructors as they are ready and have co-taught with a Master Instructor. In addition, these Master Instructors select and train the next group of Coach Academy instructors. Candidates for becoming the next Master Instructors will be selected from the pool of High Performance Coaches.
“There’s no greater appreciation I have than for the people that helped get this off the ground and all the valuable time and effort they put into getting us to this point,” Theimer concluded. “Their vision has helped establish coach training standards that are consistent and proven to develop high performance Olympic-level athletes. We hope that their efforts help lead the Coach Academy to being recognized as the model for coach education in the shooting sports.”