Teaching Archery with OREOS
When I was a kid, I was always learning new things. I wanted to be great at everything I tried. I hung on to every word that was being said to me when I was being told how to do something new. And I have to admit to a fault, that I don’t quit until I get it 100% right. I can’t just be good enough to make it by. I have to be THE BEST! However, I had a major issue with people telling me what I was doing wrong every step of the way. I hated it! I would eventually become so disgusted and disappointed in myself that I would have to walk away. Being a kid, I got stuck on what I was being told was wrong, and never really had light shed on what I was actually doing right. I know it was to make me better, as a kid it’s hard to hear what you’re doing wrong ALL THE TIME! Even as an adult, who can stand that?
I use that experience as a kid to be a better instructor now. Now, when I say I teach archery with Oreos, I don’t mean the most heavenly divine cookie that has ever had the pleasure to grace milk’s presence. Although, they do make a great reward when the students do a great job. Metaphorically, an Oreo is the perfect way to correct an issue with a shooter. Think of the cookie part to be the positive reinforcement on each side of a suggestion. Consider the cream to be the best part, the teaching moment – the driving point that will ultimately make your student a better shooter.
For instance, a major focus for my students with archery is follow-through. I always see a kid dropping their bow right after the arrow leaves the rest, causing the arrow to drop and miss a target. “Hey, you’re dropping your bow and not following through on the shot”, seems like a likely thing to say to them; after all, that’s what is really going on. But, rather than calling them out on the one bad thing they are doing, mention to them the techniques they are getting right. “I noticed you have a great shot setup and stance. When you release the arrow, the bow drops on the follow through. Next time, let’s try keeping the bow up on the whole follow through. You’re doing a great job.” Keeping positive reinforcement on both sides of a suggestion or a correction both boosts their confidence in shooting, while giving them the suggestion to change a bad habit.
Keeping a positive environment encourages the student to come back,
and to increases their drive to improve.