Updated: Jan 25
A brain to pick, an ear to listen to all your questions, and someone to push you in the right direction is what you really need when you first start metal detecting. A mentor can often make the difference between failure and success within this hobby. The difference between hope and disillusionment.
I think it’s safe to say we all have been there. You just picked up your first metal detector. Five weeks in and 9 hunts later. You’ve found 24 pull tabs, 16 bottle caps, 18 crushed cans, 44 shotgun shells, 17 rusty nails, a dozen clad coins, and a broken pair of glasses. Where is all the treasure? You begin to realize that metal detecting isn’t quite as easy as you thought it was going to be.
I've learned that metal detecting takes practice, patience, and well a lot of digging. You can't let yourself get discouraged. You are going to find a lot of trash when you go metal detecting, especially when your first starting out. In fact, a good portion of the signals you dig quite often turn out to be junk. But you still got to keep on digging. It's like with anything, the more you do it the better you will get.
Joining a metal detecting club is a great way to meet people, get advice, and find a mentor. Your friends and family might not understand the allure of detecting but, I can promise you that all the people at the club certainly will. They will also appreciate your detecting stories and eagerly share their own.
I have personally found that there are tons of really nice people in this hobby that are more than willing to go the extra mile to help you learn more about your detector. Actively listening to their advice and stories about their personal experiences not only helps you to learn but it might just prevent you from making some classic newbie mistakes. You can learn so much from watching someone else detect, especially someone who has been doing it a lot longer than you.
An experienced mentor can see areas where you need to improve that you often simply can’t recognize for yourself. Constructive criticism just helps to strengthen you. Receiving feedback leads to improved awareness and the ability to better develop your skills. And frankly, sometimes you just need someone who will be brutally honest with you and tell you exactly what is you need to hear. Someone who won't sugar coat the fact that your swinging your coil all wrong.
Give it some time and before you know it you'll be finding more than just junk! A good mentor can also greatly help you with identifying your finds. It isn't always so easy to identify what an item is. Especially items that are worn from time. Identifying finds is a challenge I'm sure we've all faced along the way. Someone who has been detecting for a decade or more has seen an innumerable amount of objects pulled from the ground and can usually easily identify your finds for you.
However, if you're blessed with a great mentor they won't just simply supply you with the answer. They will teach you where you can find the answer for yourself and they will make you do all the work along the way. In the moment, you might not appreciate it or quite understand why they simply just won't tell you. In hindsight though, you will greatly value and admire the favor.
I have been fortunate to have had some really great mentors along the way. I am so very grateful for the knowledge they have shared and continue to offer me. They have been a continuous source of both inspiration and motivation. While I was fumbling around in the dark trying to learn how to effectively use my detector, they guided me with words of encouragement and helped to greatly shorten my learning process. It’s not always the time you put in but, the understanding you get out of that time. And I hope that someday I will be in the position to step from the role of Mentee to Mentor and return the favor to others who are just starting out. Have a wonderful week! Stay warm!