It seems in recent years that the term professional staff (pro staff) has lost some significance.
- You can browse any internet forum and see almost every signature has a full pro staff listing.
- When attending an archery tournament, it's easy to get intimidated when everyone is wearing a pro staff shirt from one company or another.
Most of this can be linked to large egos. It seems that everyone just wants to be on more pro staffs than the next guy. General conception is the more pro staffs attained the better the archer, but is this really the case?
As a former national archery competitor, and now as an archery manufacturer, it’s easy for me to understand what pro staff means. Having the unique experience of being on both sides of this game, I have a much better understanding of what both sides of the archery pro staff are looking for and what it really means to each party. Too many times I hear shooters saying things like, "I shoot so much better than him, so why is he on a pro staff, but I'm not?". At the end of the day it’s all about promoting the product and company.
Pro Staff Perspective
As a shooter, I was always thankful for any pro staff positions that I was fortunate enough to obtain. I was already using and talking about particular brands, so why not get a discounted product and be on these brands' pro staff? It was a win-win for me. I got to shoot quality products at a discounted rate and use word of mouth and social media to promote it.
Now, as the owner of a custom bow string company, I am on the other side. Everyday we get emails and phone calls from pro staff prospects. Each one gives us reasons why we should pick them. Some are genuine and believe in our archery product line, while others are just going down the list of companies until someone says yes. Our job is to tell which is which.
Pro Staff is Teamwork
At 60X Custom Strings, pro staff is very important to us and will play a huge part in promoting our company. Ideally, our pro staff shooters would be using our products even if they weren’t on staff. When this happens, it’s a perfect match and both sides are winners. What we do not want is the guy that is just out to add another pro staff position to their resume. This type of pro staffer is almost always only in the game for themselves. We will hear from them once a year when they place their order and that’s it. This type of pro staffer not only gives pro staff a bad name but also hurts archery as a gentleman’s sport.
Pro staff is not necessarily a professional staff. I prefer to think of it as a promotional staff. A shooter may be a 10 time world archery champion but doesn’t help the brands he's representing at all. On the other hand, you can have a back yard shooter who never leaves his local area but is very active and does a great job at promoting the company. At the end of the day, a position on a pro staff is very similar to a position in a normal everyday job. As a custom bow string manufacturer we offer our productive pro staffers better discounts just like we would pay a more productive employee a higher wage. Conversely, if we see a pro staffer that isn’t doing much for our company, it is likely that their contract will not be renewed.
Pro Staff Levels
Here is a little insight to how 60X's pro staff is put together. We have 3 levels:
Bronze Level Staff
The bronze is our entry level. This would be comprised of archers with various skill levels in the amateur ranks. Most of these shooters are early in their archery career and shoot mostly local or state level tournaments.
Silver Level Staff
Our silver staff are mostly intermediate shooters that will shoot state and national tournaments. Many of these shooters are very involved in the sport year round, not just on tournament day. Some even work in or own a pro shop.
Gold Level Staff
Our gold staff is reserved for the best of the best. Most of these shooters are semi pro or pro and travel the country shooting national level tournaments. These archery shooters go above and beyond promoting our products.
In conclusion, being on pro staff is not for everyone. There is a level of commitment that both sides need to understand when that contract is signed. Before signing on for a staff position, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth it to you. Is the time posting on social media and talking in person with others about a particular archery brand worth the discount or product that you are receiving in return?
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