Getting to Know Archery Coach Karen Schaller

Amanda ColeUncategorized

Tell us a little about yourself.

I have been blessed to be the 6th grade teacher at SLS for 18 years (my second career).  I was married to Michael for 35 years until his passing in 2018.   Our daughters attended SLS and are now grown with children of their own.  Being a grandparent of three is the best!  When I am not at school, I like to hook primitive wool rugs, hike, kayak, read, and most of all play with my grandkids.  Over the past four years I have learned to like yard work (maybe more than house work). I collect Newberry Award books and kaleidoscopes. 

How did you get into archery?

During my high school years, I was on the archery team.  I don’t know why I joined; I just remember hearing an announcement and decided to try it out.  I became the first and second position archer (depending on my weekly practice scores) for meets by my junior year.  Competition was run differently in the dark ages. 

Have you coached any other sports?

I coached cheerleading at SLS from 2002-2012.  My daughter Kimberly was a cheerleader in high school, so she helped me coach.   She was on competitive teams and taught me a lot.

In the fall of 2014, I reconnected with archery after learning about National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). I became a certified coach and the rest is history.  SLS started competing in 2015.

Tell us a little about your experience as an archery coach.

I am constantly learning.  Archery is very different from when I was on a team.  The bows used now are compound, and the meets are extremely structured and safe.  Grades 4 to 12 shoot together at a meet. I have had to think about muscle/stance memory and learn how to teach this to the students so that they can be consistent shooters. 

What do you enjoy about being a coach?

I enjoy watching the excitement as an archer progresses from missing the target to hitting the bullseye!  I get to see another side of students that they do not show in the classroom and they see me in a different light.  My favorite part of practice is passing out free pop to those who complete an end with all 5 arrows in the yellow of the target.  The students get so excited and don’t let me forget!

What do you wish people knew about being a coach?

Coaching is not just about teaching a sport.  Coaching is about motivating and inspiring young people. Life skills are instilled: patience, focus, discipline.  But there is fun and laughter, too!

What makes an effective athlete?

An effective athlete is one who is coachable; wants to learn, listens to instruction to improve technique, and does his/her best. Learning how to handle wins and losses is an important part of growth and sportsmanship. Most of all, an effective athlete is there for their teammate – cheering and supporting them during good and bad outcomes. 

How do you integrate your Christian faith into coaching?

Our Christian faith directs how we act in all situations.  Students show their faith in actions of treating teammates and opponents.  The most wonderful experience has been when another coach complemented the SLS archers on their kindness to a struggling opponent. Reflection is a part of faith and archery.   Archers reflect on body position and aim after each arrow is released to learn how to shoot better.  In our Christian life we reflect on God’s word to learn God’s teachings and apply His word to our lives. 

Is there anything else you want us to know?

Archery is a sport that everyone can enjoy regardless of athletic ability.