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February 06, 2009

Archery Talk - What role does it play in feedback?

Some of you have asked me about recent threads on Archery Talk (AT) started by Ginger Hopwood and many want to know what role Ginger plays with USAA and what if any my involvement or endorsement is related to the threads. So I thought I would address the topic. 

One of the issues coming out of the changes to the coaching program is that many of the existing coaches feel that they are not getting their needs met. Ginger is one of these individuals.  Ginger contacted me and told me that there are many other coaches like her out there who want to provide input and guidance to the direction of the program in the future.  She wanted to know if she could organize the group's thoughts via a post on AT to provide feedback to me and the Board.  I completely encouraged this process and asked her to reach as far and as wide as she could.  I believe she also researched on her own, emails of coaches she could find to include them or let them know about the discussions taking place on AT. Again, Ginger is doing this independently, but I fully support her effort to find common issues and present them collectively to me and the Board. 

So why don't I just go on AT and post it myself? I think the power of AT has always been that it is a site for the community.  It is a place where people can gather and discuss and exchange ideas and thoughts. I think what is most insightful is to see what topics rise to the top and generate the most involvement.   More important than what I want to know is what do you want to say? This tells me what is most important to the general public out there.  Know that I am watching and I am listening and I appreciate those who take the time to also provide thoughtful suggestions along with their criticisms.

Will USA Archery ever have a forum like this or endorse a forum like Archery Talk? Probably not. Not because it isn't valuable, but because of the liability and time management issues related to a site like this. Our Agreement with the USOC has very strict rules regarding what we allow on our website and to have an open forum environment like that on Archery Talk, we would need to review and edit material that was posted.  I am certain most would not like the limitations and would gravitate back to a more open forum like AT.

However, I am not excluding the opportunity to have forum discussions directly on USA Archery's website.  I can see a possibility of this in the future, but the forums would likely be more specific and guided in the topic vs. random postings.  There is a need to find an effective and simple process for members to provide feedback directly to USA Archery outside of individual emails and I am working on how we might provide this communication avenue.

My intent is to communicate to the membership via this blog and other official USAA communications.  You will know that I am listening when you see me address the issues.  I will not post on AT, because I don't think it is my place to go there to set things straight or provide input.  If there is enough confusion or discussion around a topic, I will try to address it here in direct communication to the membership.



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