Getting your kids started with archery may seem like a big challenge, but you can do it successfully once you know how to ensure that they have lots of fun and fall in love with the sport for the rest of their lives.
Teaching your kids archery calls for lessons from yourself or an instructor, using equipment appropriate for their age, providing plenty of practice opportunities, and finding creative ways to infuse fun and a sense of accomplishment.
If you are planning on introducing your kids to archery, read through to the end for valuable tips on what it takes, how-to, and why you should get them into the sport when they are still young, curious, and enthusiastic.
Why Introduce Archery to Kids?
There are many reasons to introduce archery to your kids as a sport and pastime. Here are just a few.
Archery is an excellent sport for your kid's development journey. From building character to cultivating patience to boosting their self-esteem and enhancing their social life and skills, archery molds your child into an all-around individual.
Archery is a sport of patience, perseverance, self-confidence. As such, your kids learn how to hold a little more, withstand a little discomfort, and believe in their capability to take the best shots at targets.
As they interact with other kids in friendly shoots or competitions, their social life and skills keep developing such that they can relate with others easily and beneficially.
Archery is an All-year Round Sport
Unlike some other sports that come and go with seasons, archery is an efficient way to preoccupy your kids' minds throughout the year.
They can practice the sport outdoors during summer since the environment is highly conducive during the sunny season. In the winter, your kids can play archery indoors to keep away from the cold outside.
Either way, they will always enjoy the sport. Their minds will be preoccupied with it instead of negatively obsessive activities like watching TV or playing video games day in day out.
Zero Entry Requirements
Archery as a sport has no entry requirements, meaning that your kids can start the sport as early as they develop an interest in it.
Besides buying archery equipment and getting your kids an instructor if you aren't available, there are no other high costs associated with the sport.
While this may not be a major consideration initially, archery can make your life smoother if your kids win scholarships that help you save thousands of bucks.
For example, your kids may participate in competitions like the Vegas Shoot, in which three top archers in the Cub and Junior categories win scholarships for higher education.
The National Archery in School Program (NASP) also gives student archers scholarships, and it has tens of thousands of beneficiaries by now. Your child may also find archery sports scholarships through the Easton Foundations.
How Old Should a Child Be to Start Archery?
While you can get your child started in archery at as young as three years, the best starting age would be eight years. An eight-year-old child will learn more easily and quickly with real archery equipment than a three-year-old would with homemade equipment.
How Do You Teach Archery to Kids?
Teaching archery to kids doesn’t have to be hard if they are sold on the sport. If they aren’t yet, you might want to give them a little more time as they discover themselves and what activities they would like to get into for the short or long term.
Here are handy tips on teaching archery to your kids that will guarantee you success.
Lessons From You or an Instructor
It's an excellent choice to teach your kids archery yourself if you have the time and the availability at times appropriate or convenient to you and them.
The one good thing with this approach is that you know your child better than anyone else, and you can easily teach them the sport.
If you can't find the time, it’s worth hiring an instructor for them. Here, you want to find one that will relate well with your kids and encourage them to explore the sport even further. It’s advisable to get quotes from various instructors to ensure you get the best deal.
Archery lessons for kids can include basic parts of bows and arrows, simple safety instructions, guidance on form or posture when shooting, and holding the bow, pulling back, aiming, and shooting.
At this stage, you must release the information bit by bit. Too much would bore the kids and make them hate the game. Moderation is key at this point.
When teaching them the best form, let them start without any first, and then show them the one they can adopt that is less tiresome.
Does My Child Need Archery Lessons?
The best way to get your kids started in archery is to let them watch you practicing and enjoying the sport. Once they build interest, consider offering them lessons alongside direct observation.
Archery lessons are important for teaching your kids safety rules, how to shoot, what form to adopt, the names, uses, and parts of different archery equipment, among other aspects.
Use Age-appropriate Equipment
Depending on the age at which your child is starting archery, you should ensure you get the right equipment for them. For children below six years, safety is paramount. As such, you should make them simple equipment like homemade bows and arrows using blunt sticks.
Kids eight years and above can get started with real archery equipment like recurve bows and standard targets. Compound bows are best introduced at age ten and above.
Choosing the appropriate equipment based on the child's age ensures their safety and others around them. They are also likely to like the sport more than if they used complicated stuff they find challenging or tiring to use.
Provide Plenty of Practice Opportunities
Whenever you go practicing archery, you can take your kids with you. Children learn well through copying, and just seeing you shoot will spur them into practicing more as they desire to better their archery skills.
You can also add some fun and positive vibe to their newfound sport by enlisting them in archery competitions for kids where they can practice alongside their friends on either friendly or competitive bases.
Spice it Up With Fun
Kids love fun. They learn faster and more efficiently when there is a lot of fun, especially the type that gives an immediate sense of accomplishment.
Since you want to get them fully motivated, consider spicing up the practice sessions with fun and opportunities for success.
For example, you can make or buy them soft targets that their blunt arrows will easily penetrate. It is demoralizing for a child to keep shooting arrows that hit the target and fall off.
Balloons strapped onto the targets also come in useful since the pop sound produced when the arrow hits the balloon gives the child a sense of accomplishment and motivates them to keep playing.
Another important fun way is to start at 5-10 feet close to the target. At short distances, it’s easy for the child to hit the target, which helps keep up their moods.
What Equipment Does a Child Need to Start Archery?
Archery is a sport of a handful of equipment that you can find easily for your kids. Let's see what equipment your child's archery kit should have.
- A Bow: The bow is the curved frame that holds the bowstring. You can get your kid started with a recurve bow before they proceed to a compound bow.
- A quiver: The quiver holds the arrows.
- Arrows: Arrows are the projectiles you shoot using the bow. They can be wooden sticks for kids below six years or ordinary carbon archery arrows for kids eight years and above.
Targets are the surface you aim and strike with arrows in either indoor or outdoor archery.
- Armguard: An armguard keeps the bowstring from hitting the arm, which can be extremely painful for a child.
- Finger Tab: A finger tab protects the drawing fingers from the sting of the bowstring during the pull or release.
- Trigger: You will want to keep things as simple as possible for kids below eight years. However, kids aged ten and above can experiment with triggers and release aids. The trigger releases the bowstring, instead of using the fingers for the purpose.
How to Choose Archery Equipment for Kids
There are several factors to consider when selecting archery equipment for kids. Be sure to consider the following for the best results.
The main concern for parents introducing their kids to archery is safety. Bows and arrows can easily cause your child and others around them harm if handled the wrong way.
You can use homemade bows and arrows with blunt tips or circular heads for kids below six years. Finger tabs and armguards should be used to protect the drawing fingers and arms from the sting of the bowstring.
Child's Size vs Equipment Size
Younger kids below eight years require small bows and short arrows.
For kids above this age, real archery equipment is a good fit. They can comfortably rise a bow, shoot arrows with more precision, and consciously watch their bow awareness for their safety and that of others.
An oversized bow will only frustrate the child as they will struggle with draw weight and draw length. You can get your kids fit with the right bow at an archery shop.
Child's Skill Level
As the child grows older and progresses in skill level, you can introduce real or more complicated archery equipment, depending on what they were using earlier. As for bows, picking one with adjustable draw length and draw weight is an excellent idea, so the kid grows with it.
Teaching archery to your kids will be an easy task if you can get them the right lessons, find appropriate equipment, and provide plenty of practice opportunities. The other secret is to ensure they enjoy the sport first by introducing some fun in each training session.
People Also Ask
Most parents and guardians usually have qualms about getting their kids started with archery. In this last section, we look at some of the common questions people ask about teaching kids archery.
What is a Good Age to Start Archery?
You can start teaching archery to your kids when they are as young as three years old. However, experts recommend eight to ten years as the best age to start since, at this point, the child will be more self-conscious, and they can easily rise a bow and shoot at targets.
Is Archery for Kids Hard to Learn?
Archery is not hard for kids to learn. As long as they have a keen interest in the sport and you or their instructor helps them enjoy it by infusing fun, they can easily learn it.
What is a Good Starter Bow for a Child?
It’s best to start with a simple homemade bow for kids below six years. For children aged eight and above, recurve and compound bows will come in handy. Recurve bows have fewer features and are less complicated than compound bows that even have pulleys.
Get your kid started with a recurve bow before they graduate into using compound bows.
Is Archery Dangerous for Kids?
Archery is not dangerous for kids as long as they are using the right equipment for their age. It’s important to use blunt arrows at first and teach them safety rules such as bow awareness such that they do not shoot with other people in front of the bow.
Can a Child Compete in Archery Competitions?
There are various archery competitions for kids to compete to showcase and enhance their shooting skills.
Such competitions include World Youth Archery Championships, Vegas Shoot, and National Archery in the School Program Competitions.