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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It is USA Archery’s honor to recognize selected individuals annually as part of the Coach of the Year Awards, with awards this year coming in three separate categories.
These coaches stand out for their commitment to quality coaching and efforts to grow the sport and develop athletes. USA Archery is grateful to these coaches for their continued work to promote and improve the sport in their communities and across the nation, with congratulations going to all nominees and finalists.
Volunteer and Developmental Coaches of the Year are voted on based on how they intentionally provide high-quality coaching, demonstrate application of evidence-based practices, display an athlete-centered approach, and create measurable results in developing athletes.
The ‘Doc’ Counsilman Science Award is based on a coach’s utilization of cutting-edge technology or methods, implementation of scientific and research-based principles, innovative application of sports science and measurable athlete improvements. USA Archery coaches are nominated by the membership and voted on by a combination of staff and advisory councils.
Coach Park leads the Asheville Archery Training Center in Asheville, NC and is a Level 4-NTS Coach. His athletes shared that Coach Park goes to great lengths to be an athlete-centered coach.
Coach Tennant is a Level 4-NTS Coach at Leading Edge Archery in Boerne, Texas. Melissa’s passion for archery and teaching, along with how much she cares about each one of her athletes, is a characteristic that her students admire.
A Volunteer Coach of the Year nominee is a coach who does not receive payment in any form for their involvement in coaching. This award is based on the coach’s accomplishments over the past year. Sarah is with North Side Archery in Chicago, Ill. and Randolph is at Clairton Sportsmen’s Club in Clairton, Pa.
According to her athletes, “Sarah places a strong emphasis on understanding each athlete's unique needs and goals. She conducts thorough assessments and engages in open communication with athletes to gain insight into their individual aspirations and challenges.”
Randolph ‘Randy’ McDonald has been involved with the program for almost 25 years. His club members explain, “With a strong passion for the sport, Randy maintains the ability to stay up to date on the latest practices within the archery program. He is also able to translate that information to his students, or anyone who seeks his advice.”
In 2023, Kyle Bissell of Sattva Archery Club in Florence, Mass. synthesized a new model for Constraints-Based Coaching using research and existing literature. The existing models were complex and not readily transferable to archery.
Coach Kyle developed Level I Constraints to build skills, Level 2 Constraints for strengthening skills, and Level 3 Constraints to apply skills to competitive environments. He then designed the curriculum for teaching his models to coaches participating in USA Archery coach training programs, including the Level IV Coach Certification curriculum. Archers who receive this type of training, along with the coaches that can now apply them at their own clubs, are experiencing improved performances.
One of his athlete's said, “Using this system of constraints in my training has helped me develop new skills within my form and mental game, and to reinforce them ahead of major competitions. I shot personal records at USA Archery Outdoor Nationals and other high-pressure tournaments, and I attribute that in large part to these constraints.
“Kyle is continually improving this system, and it is now a core part of the new level 4 NTS coach training course.”
Coach Bissell has been generous enough to share much of his research and developments with USA Archery programs, including the Virtual Symposium, Coaches’ Workshop, Level 4-NTS Coach Course, and the Regional Elite Development Program. These developments are paramount in helping USA Archery be a leader in coach development.