Lets talk burnout in mounted archery. Right now, the most common set up for the sport is clubs. Club leaders often are passionate individuals who do all the work, spend money out of pocket and then burnout. These individuals deserve to be paid for for their time and knowledge. Otherwise clubs will continue to die and valuable members of our community will keep leaving.
Clubs are the go to mode of operation for sport mounted archery in the united states right now. Both the Mounted Archery Association of the Americas and Horse Archery USA run their organizations through clubs. Clubs are a tricky way to spread a new sport. Often clubs will have a regular influx of people who show up for one or two practices, try out horse archery for free and then dont come back. This leads the few dedicated members feeling frustrated as they are the ones teaching newbies and practices become free archery class for beginners. (Club fees are nice but they go to the club rather than the individual doing the work.)
The pressure of this falls the most squarely on the club leader. The club leader is usually the glue that holds the club together. They are the one who really cares about the sport and spends alot of time, effort and their own money on equipment and organizing practices. Unfortunately, due to the psychology that happens in club atmospheres, other members either aren't motivated to participate or have limited time and availability. Naturally this lack of investment into the club and sport they work so hard for leads the club leader to be frustrated, lonely and much poorer.
The problem is not the people, however, it is the setting. Most people do not have the time or motivation to come to a 2 hour practice once a week for free or cheap. And its hard to get everyone's schedules open at the same time. Instead, club leaders should shift towards an instructor organization with private or group lessons and charge regular rates for their area. This gives each person scheduling flexibility, less time commitment and a better experience. It also most importantly pays the instructor for their work making it a sustainable way for them to share their passion.
We lose valuable members of our community to burnout because we ask them to give, give, give. We want this sport to be freely accessible and a positive uplifting community. But in our efforts, we create a soul sucking vortex for whoever is the most passionate in the group. By changing our focus to a reciprocal exchange we create career opportunities, business opportunities and learning communities that are sustainable and happy.
As a note:
One of the most fascinating psychological irritants is price! It is so important to charge for services. When services cost a fair price people understand it has value, and they are obliged to show up, since they paid for it. They respect the instructor more and they respect the sport. My advice is to find out the average price for riding lessons in your area, and add about $5.00 - $10.00 on top if you are letting students use your archery equipment.
For those interested in instructing, it's important to get a few certifications under your belt. This will help you with getting insurance and having students respect your knowledge. Watch our blog and website for some upcoming resources, blog posts, lesson plans and more for instructors!