Coaching the next generation

To mark International Coaching Week, we sat down for a chat with one of BASC’s coaching stalwarts, Duncan Greaves. Duncan has been involved in coaching for over 30 years and his dealings with BASC date back almost as far.

A former member of BASC Council, Duncan is a familiar face, front and centre, at BASC coaching lines and on BASC courses across the country. Here, he tells us a bit about his past, and why he is so invested in shooting’s future.

From small beginnings…​

My interest in coaching began about 35 years ago. Around that time, I applied to go on various shotgun-related courses and learnt from some really great and knowledgeable people.

To understand the ways in which eye dominance, stance, gun fit and shooting techniques will improve someone’s success rate became all-consuming. This was something that I just had to get involved in. My first love is game shooting but I also really enjoy clay shooting.

Initially, I became an honorary education officer for BASC but then I completed the required BASC instructors course and then the BASC shotgun coaches course.

Reaping the rewards

I coach because I enjoy it, pure and simple. I really enjoy seeing someone achieve the success that they never imagined.

The reward for me is seeing someone achieve success and build on it to the extent that they become proficient whether that is in game or clay shooting, which also applies to coaching  in just about every other sport.

Coaching the coaches

I am heavily involved with the training and education team at BASC where shotguns are concerned. I’m also responsible for setting up the shotgun coaching lines at all of the major game fairs and shows, where BASC is in attendance.

I am also a qualified mentor, assessor and internal verifier for BASC’s shotgun coach training programme. So, basically, I train and/or assess the new shotgun coaches or provide assistance as a mentor for those who may need it.

I am particularly proud of this system as all BASC’s shotgun coaches have to reaccredit every three years to ensure they don’t suffer from any skill fade.

I also present the BASC Firearms Awareness (Shotgun) Course for beginners to shotgun shooting.

Other courses I present for BASC are the Safety Officer Course, for those who wish to be involved with clay pigeon shooting, the Foundation Day, which is a pre-requisite to/and the three day shotgun coach training course. I am also an assessor of the BASC Safe Shot Award.

I suppose you could say that BASC, shotguns and myself have been intrinsically involved for a long time now!

Clear, concise communication

The role of a coach is important for many reasons but in terms of a BASC shotgun coach, you need to possess many qualities to be effective.

Coaching is about getting to know the individual you are dealing with, and communicating with that person in a clear concise way and understanding their aims and objectives helps you to shape how you are going to get the best out of them.

Instructors instruct, nothing else. A coach can identify mistakes and faults being made and know how to correct them to achieve a greater success rate. A good coach is there to bring the best out of someone else. I personally know of lots of clay shooting “champions” but a lot can’t coach by their own admission.

Do your homework

The advice I would give anyone interested in coaching would be to do some homework and see if there is a pathway to get into your chosen sport.  For me it was obviously BASC.

See how far it can take you as a coach and be prepared to do a lot of hard work and devote your time to it. Like the saying goes, you get out of life what you put into it. It’s no different if you want to achieve a good reputation as a coach.

Proudest moments

I’ve been lucky to have coached many, many people from beginners to experienced shooters, some who have gone on to shoot clays at an international level but one game shooter said this, which pleased me no end:

“Just thought I’d let you how I got on this weekend on our driven day. I followed everything you told me and whilst nervous at the start, I shot the best I have ever done including a memorable very high hen (for me it was) and a personal bag of 24 good pheasants and two fantastic ducks. Thanks for your guidance, I feel my shooting has been transformed.”

That kind of sums it all up for me!