Similarly to hunting, archery is a sport that comes with numerous benefits – if you need the appropriate gear, you can find more info here. Archery is a great sport to teach to children as it can help them develop from a physical point of view, as well as stay mentally healthy. If you are new to archery, and you want to learn more about how to get your kids into it, this article is packed with all the info that you should know!
Is archery a good choice for children?
In short, the answer to this question is yes. There are numerous benefits that this activity has, that you should not neglect. To start, this sport is practiced outdoors and, thus, your children will get the chance to soak in vitamin D and to breathe in fresh air.
This is important because, according to a study published in the Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, spending time in nature can increase the emotional and physical health of your children and it can encourage them to exercise more. Consequently, they are less likely to suffer from obesity.
Archery is also a way to encourage your children to feel more confident. As they learn how to master this sport, they will most likely feel more and more proud of their abilities. Besides, if your children are competitive, an activity such as archery can prove to be a great outlet for them.
If you are considering the idea of teaching your children archery, chances are that you are a skilled archer yourself. If this is the case, you can spend precious time with your children teaching them the ins and outs of the sport in your spare time. This can prove especially beneficial if you do not get to spend as much quality time with your children as you wish.
Even more so, archery can prove to be a great opportunity for your children to meet new people and make friends, or for them to develop a mentor/mentee relationship with their teacher.
How to start
If your children are interested in learning archery, but you are not prepared to teach them the sport, the first thing that you should do is to start looking for archery clubs and programs in your area.
The biggest advantage of these clubs is the fact that they have classes specially created for children of various ages. On average, these clubs are open to children that are 8 and older. Still, depending on the programs that a club offers, there is a chance that younger children are also accepted.
Because the archery classes taught at these clubs are planned out by specialized teachers, you can rest assured knowing that your kids are safe and that they are learning from the best. Moreover, some of the clubs that you can find offer archery classes for two types of children, those interested in practicing archery recreationally, and for those interested in taking part in competitions.
Are archery lessons necessary?
If you are not an experienced archer, and you do not have a good understanding of the safety rules that this sport implies, you should take your children to a special club where they can learn from experts.
Some of the most important lessons that they are taught during these classes are safety guidelines, how to correctly use the equipment, proper posture, as well as how to look after their bow and arrows.
If you cannot find the time to take your children to archery lessons during the school year, you can sign them up for summer camp. This way, they’ll get to practice archery with friends and they’ll also get to spend more time outdoors.
Get the right equipment
One of the most important steps that you have to take care of before your child starts the archery lessons implies the purchasing of the right equipment. If you purchase quality equipment that suits your kid as intended and that it is not that difficult to use, there is a bigger chance that he/she will enjoy the classes more.
If you want to get a good bow, the best place to go is your local archery shop. When you go to the shop, be sure to bring your child with you so that the shop assistant can help you select the type of equipment that is best suited for his/her needs.
While you are at the store, keep in mind that there is a high chance that your child might not like the same bow that you do. Because he/she will be the one using it for an extended time, it is best that you allow your child to make the choice.
If you can afford it, some experts recommend that you invest in a compound bow that allows for customizations. This way, you can modify it to suit your child’s needs as it grows and gains more and more strength.
Another practical choice that you can make is to invest in an archery set. Often, most of these sets include items such as targets, triggers, a bow and arrows, a quiver, finger tabs, and armguards. If you plan on taking your children to an archery club, it is advisable that, before you go shopping, you call the club to ask whether or not you have to purchase the equipment before the first lesson. In some cases, the equipment is provided by the club.
How to introduce archery to make sure that your kids love it?
In a way, to a child, archery might look like an obsolete sport that is not worth learning. This is the main reason why, at first, you must try to present this activity as being fun and light. In other words, try to make the lesson enjoyable and free of stress.
For instance, during the first lesson, you can show your children how to stand and how to hold the bow. As you do so, be sure to stand and shoot alongside them so that they get a good look at what they have to do. Another trick that might work is to use large targets so that they get to hit it.
However, before taking the first shoot, take the time to make sure that your children know how to shoot safely so that they do not injure themselves, one another, or you for that matter. Even though safety lessons might not sound fun, it is imperative that they know how to behave responsibly.
Are bows and arrows safe?
If you teach your children to practice archery safely, and if you supply them with the proper equipment that is suitable for their age as well as maturity level, it is safe to say that they can practice this sport without endangering themselves and others.
For children that are not as mature, as well as for children that are very young, it is recommended that you equip them with bows and arrows made of plastic that feature suction cups at their ends.
If your children are a bit older and provided that they have the suitable maturity level, you can allow them to use more advanced bows and arrows. With a little bit of research, you can find such pieces of gear that come in child-friendly sizes. For safety reasons, some of the arrows have blunted ends.
No matter if you are teaching younger or older children, you should supply them with the necessary info and instructions so that they know how to shoot safely. If you take the time to instill the needed lessons from a young age, you can be sure that they will remember them and, thus, the risks of accidents will be minimized.
How to safely handle bow and arrows
For instance, your children should know how to correctly handle a bow. The bow should only be pointed in a safe direction, including the time when an arrow is not loaded. Pointing a bow in someone’s direction is not safe and it is also in bad taste.
Moreover, one should never fire a dry bow, as this might result in the archer getting injured. At all times, the arrows should be stored securely and they should be kept in a quiver. This way, you can avoid injuring yourself by accidentally walking on one.
If your children are older, be sure to remind them that they should never handle bows and arrows after drinking.
How to shoot correctly
For added safety, while shooting, you can encourage your children to use an armguard as well as finger protection. Besides, you have to remind them to shoot only when they have a safe range and a good view of the target.
Another rule that the specialists swear by is that one should only shoot when one is in charge of his/her emotions. Because archery can be a dangerous sport, the archer has to behave responsibly at all times.
No matter how boring these safety lessons might sound, you should never skip over them, as this might lead to unfortunate accidents.