Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You Can Call Me Coach.

I've never been an athlete.  Far from it.  My athletic career ended in eighth grade as a backup defensive end for the Barr Junior High Bulldogs.  I saw exactly one series of downs, in which I was pushed around, humiliated, and torched for six points.  Fast forward a generation.

My son Jack, who might possess a bit (but not a ton) more athletic ability than his dad, still doesn't get a lot of spiral passes thrown his way.  That's a failing on my part, and I freely admit it.  I'm embarrassed even.

But much like his father, Jack has a serious love of the outdoors, and probably moreso, a passion for shooting.  Longtime blog followers know I enrolled him in the Powder Creek SCTP Shooting Team last spring, and he's set to begin his intermediate (sixth grade) season in a couple weeks.

This year, I'll be a coach.  I spent this last weekend (the entire weekend, in fact) becoming an NRA/USAS/CMP Level One Shotgun Coach under the expert tutelage of Tom Wondrash.  What a worthwhile program!  I would encourage any bird hunter to take this course, not only to ensure the future of our sport, but as a ridiculously cheap way to brush up your own skills.

If you're like me, you grew up hunting, and shooting was something you sort of learned through experience.  There wasn't any formal teaching -- my dad taught me gun safety and stance, but we all sort of figured out the science of shotgunning on our own.  And until Sunday evening, that's how I was passing the sport onto my boy.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, but through the SCTP program, I've learned so much about the mechanics of shotgunning.  And hopefully, I'll be able to pass along at least a few nuggets to the 40 or so new kids that are eagerly joining our team for the first time this spring.

So I'm a coach now.  That's a new feeling for me, and one of awesome humility.  On the range Sunday afternoon, in 40 mph winds, my fellow coaches and I helped to quickly improve the scores of half a dozen kids.  Then it was my turn to get on the line, and with my wealth of knowledge, shot one of the shittier rounds I've had in a long time.  No matter.  I'll work through it.

After all, I'm a coach.

If you want more information how to get your kid or yourself (or both) into the Scholastic Clay Target Program, click here.  And have fun.


  1. Time to get some of those polyester "Bike" brand shorts. You can stick your clipboard in the back and gather the kids together by shouting, "People!"

  2. I'm sure that it was great to learn shooting well. I got you started, now you can get me up to speed!!! FF

  3. Some of the best advice I heard was "Don't shoot in front of your students!"

  4. Mike, that was the one lesson our instructors neglected to mention! Thanks for passing it on!

  5. That's definitely what it all about Coach. Bring the young people into the great outdoors. I just finished aa book called Last Child in the Woods. A sad sad trend...