Today, it is incredibly hard for parents to get their children out of the house; even more so if they love playing computer games. Getting them into archery is a good way to get them out of the couch.
Most parents want to encourage their children to play sports as it has physical and psychological benefits. Sports also teach important lessons about teamwork and self-discipline.
Archery is fun, exciting, and great exercise, and it can teach children important lessons that can be applied to other aspects of life.
The good news for parents eager to get their children involved in an athletic activity is that archery can be introduced at a very young age.
If you have decided upon archery, or in case your kid is already into archery, you have come to the right place to learn all about what all archery has to offer to your kid.
1. Why Archery For Kids?
Here are 10 reasons why your kid should pursue archery.
1.1 Teaches Life Skills
Life skills go hand in hand with development, and can help your child succeed later in life. Archery can teach them some important life skills.
- Patience: you need to have the patience to practice until you get the perfect hit on the target.
- Time management: the ability to make the most judicious use of their time.
- Multi-tasking: you have to manage several things at the same time such as perfectly timing the release while focusing on the target.
1.2 Improves Physical Health
Archery offers great mind-body stimulation, and social interaction. Unlike many other sports, however, archery is one of those physical sports that have very less chance of your child experiencing an injury.
Some health benefits of archery include hand-eye coordination, it keeps your brain sharp, improves balance, burns calories and is a social sport.
1.3 Balance, Stability and Coordination
Archery requires strength, but the key to target shooting is fine control of the body because even a tiny movement can make a world of difference in archery. Therefore, balance and stability play a vital role in good shooting.
Archery improves balance, stability and coordination between different parts of body; these skills are often used in other aspects of life.
1.4 Dealing With Pressure
Archery is a competitive sport and it teaches you the ability to deal with pressure.
There may be hundreds of things going in your mind while shooting, but your only focus should be the target.
Managing a stressful situation and not crumbling or allowing it to affect your performance is one of the key life skills you can teach any child.
1.5 Learning to Fail
Success in many endeavors in life may only come after a series of failures; archery is no different.
You will have to learn to make gradual improvements and learn to see poor performance as a challenge rather than a problem.
Some children don’t handle failure well because they have never struggled at anything in their lives.
Archery exposes weakness and lack of technique, but also offers a constructive passage for improvement. Archery teaches grit and resilience to failure, and teaches the importance of hustle and hard work.
These are the most important lessons that a person can learn, regardless of the age.
1.6 Archery Can Be Played All Around The Year
Archery can be practiced in all types of weather conditions; it is fairly weatherproof sport in a sense.
It can be played indoors and outdoors, it comes in various different forms such as field archery, clout archery and 3D archery.
If you are looking for a sport which can be enjoyed throughout the year than archery fits perfectly.
Read: Archery facts for kids
Archery can be played and enjoyed by all children and young people regardless of their age, or any impairment they may have.
Enjoying a sport which is wholly inclusive is very important especially for the kids with impairment, special needs or disabilities.
Inclusivity encourages empathy and compassion which in turn leads to better self-awareness for the kids.
1.8 Builds Confidence
Archery can enhance your kids’ confidence by giving them an activity that they can steadily improve upon.
The interaction with others teaches friendship, team reliance, and dedication, while encouraging them to learn commitment and accountability.
This results in kids gaining confidence in their own actions.
1.9 No Entry Requirements
With several other physical sports, you need to either be a certain size or shape, to perform well or to even participate.
With archery, there are no initial requirements. Size and shape are not detrimental to archery, and regardless of the gender and physical prowess, a kid with good technique can easily shoot close groupings.
1.10 Provides Relaxation and Stress Relief
Nowadays, children also go through a lot of pressure and stress because of school, peer group or social media.
Researches have shown that archery helps to relax and reduce stress as when they stand and face the target with the bow drawn, all they are thinking about is the target.
This is very similar to mindfulness exercises and meditation. It is very therapeutic to take a break from your usual thoughts, and focusing on a target does exactly that.
2. What Is The Idea Age To Start Archery?
Today, archery is a trend among youngsters. There are many advantages of practicing archery for kids such as building confidence, improving focus and concentration.
If your child is interested in archery, and you are thinking that he or she is too young for it, then you must know that the earlier they start, the easier it is for them to learn.
The younger they are, the faster and easier they learn any craft.
If you want to enroll your child in a program, USA Archery recommends starting at age 8. However, a child can start doing archery as soon as 3, provided they are using toy archery set instead of real gear.
However, consider the following factors before introducing you child to archery:
2.1 Have They Reached The Basic Fitness Level Yet?
While archery isn’t the most physically demanding sport in the world, there are certain muscle groups that must be developed and strengthened in order to draw and hold it.
It is true that the draw weight of the bows for kids start from a very modest level, but a child should have the basic level of strength to use the entry level bows.
You’ll have to check whether your child has enough physical balance and strength to hold a bow.
2.2 Can They Understand and Follow Instructions?
Has your child reached an age where they can follow instructions without getting too confused or distracted?
Are they of age where they can understand the consequences of their actions, and in case you ask them to not indulge in certain practice or behavior, do they take it seriously?
A little bit of mental maturity may be required if you want them to learn a sport that can be dangerous if not practiced safely.
2.3 Do They Have Patience and Discipline?
Your child needs to have a bit of patience and discipline to learn and practice archery.
Some young children get bored easily if the activity is not stimulating enough.
For archery, they’ll probably have to wait for their turn from time to time, learn subtle nuances of archery, not get disheartened when every arrow is not hitting bullseye or even the target, and follow rules of the game.
All of these require some patience and discipline. Fortunately, they are learnable skills.
However, if the child is too young, they may not have enough patience or discipline to follow through on any of these may soon give up archery altogether.
3. What are the Essential Requirements to Start Archery?
3.1 An archery kit for children
Starting your child off in archery is much like starting them in any other sport.
They will need age-appropriate equipment, lessons from an instructor or yourself, and plenty of opportunities to practice.
Everything your child needs to get started with archery includes:
3.1.1 Determine Eye Dominance
Firstly, you need to know their eye dominance as it plays an important role in selecting the right bow no matter what age you are.
To do this, let your child stand in front of a wall with an object or image on it. Ask them to focus on the object and while doing this, cover their right eye.
If they find the figure remains in the same position, it shows your child is left eye dominant and he or she should be using a left handed bow and vice versa.
3.1.2 Determine Draw Length
Every bow has a specific draw length and it needs to match up with your child’s size.
For this, you’ll have to estimate your child’s entire arm span. The best way to do this is to have the child spread their arms out with their palms facing towards you.
Grab a tape measure and run it from the tip of one middle finger to the other.
Divide it with 2.5, and what you get is approximately the draw length for your child.
3.1.3 A Bow A Child Can Grow With
Many companies make bows that have adjustable draw weight and draw length so a kid can use the same bow for years as they grow.
3.1.4 An Inexpensive Kit To Start With
Buy arrows that fit the bow (if you don’t buy a kit, consult a local professional bow shop for proper arrows.)
Arrows that do not fit the bow’s draw length and draw weight do not shoot as well.
Buy an inexpensive hip quiver, a finger glove, an arm protector and a target.
Depending on the child’s proficiency in the sport, you can always go for upgrades when required.
3.2 Best Bows and Gear For Kids
Children outgrow their equipment very fast. Cost becomes a big consideration if you have to frequently switch gear every year because your kid outgrew the set.
Furthermore, kids below 6 may not be mature enough to handle real gear.
Thus, we have divided the best possible archery gear into 4 age-wise categories.
Kits and gear for 12+ kids can be used for a long time.
Below are the best gear and kits currently available in the market.
3.2.1 Age 3-6 Years
This age group is considerably immature, and no serious gear should be given to this age group.
However, there are a lot of real looking and fancy toys out there for this age group.
If you are into archery, having a gear for your kids will satiate their curiosity, and may help them to start learning the basics of archery.
The price range of these kits may vary from $10-$40.
3.2.2 Age 6-12 Years
This age group starts to mature a bit, and may be exposed to archery in a safe manner.
Although, the gear that comes for this age group is quite real, they are fitted with rubber pads and safety measures accordingly.
The price range of these kits may vary from $20-$60.
3.2.3 Age 12+ Years : Recurve & Traditional Bows
This age group can start practicing serious archery alongside adults. However, their equipment should be geared towards safety and their physical capabilities in mind.
This age group is also referred to as Junior and sometimes Youth level. There are corresponding national and international competition for below 17/18 years archers.
The price range of these kits may vary from $30-$100.
3.2.4 Age 12+ Years: Compound Bows
Compound bows are one of the most popular bows currently. They are technologically much more advanced, and much more easier to handle and work with.
However, they can be tad bit expensive. If your kid is serious about getting into archery, you may consider going for a compound bow.
Compound bow has its own category for tournaments. It is also very popular with hunters, and beginner archers.
Compound bows are comparatively easier to learn.
The price range of these kits may vary from $50-$200.
4. How To Introduce Archery To Your Kids?
In general, younger children tend to have shorter attention span with limited grasping abilities, therefore its best to start youngsters out with a simple bow without too much of accessories so that the proper fundamentals of the sport can be taught.
Introduction of archery to your kids should be very light and fun. Try to take turns shooting alongside your child, they will naturally try to copy you.
A child who learns fundamentals well will be a better overall archer in the future.
Few essential factors should be kept in mind while initiating the learning process:
4.1 Use A Big And Easy Target
Use a nice big target and start close to the target so that it is easy for your child to experience success.
It will encourage them to keep trying difficult targets as and when their confidence builds.
You can start off by shooting at large targets, such as paper plates, balloons, pizza boxes and backstops (hay bales are preferable).
4.2 Teach Proper Fundamentals
Fundamentals build correct foundation for your child. Fundamentals not only make you a good archer, they also help you stay safe.
A good archer is a consistent archer. We have discussed in detail about proper foundation of archery in these articles:
- Why is archery stance important?
- Archery for beginners in 3 easy steps
- Importance of archery form
- How to shoot a compound bow and arrow within 1 hour
4.3 A Good Place To Do Archery
You can practice archery in your garden (the law may vary depending on where you live) if you have enough room, or you can simply walk behind your garage or shed and set up the target.
Make sure that your place is properly secured to eliminate any chance of causing harm to any person or property.
We have discussed in detail how you can create your own range safely in:
4.4 Is cost a concern?
Initially, when a child is starting, the costs are minimal but kids grow up fast.
The younger they start, the more frequently they’ll need constant upgrades in their archery gear as they outgrow their bow.
In the beginning they can practice at home but later on, if they are serious about it, they may want to go to a training institute or a professional range.
This adds up to the cost over time. However, this is true for all the sports, archery is no different in this regard.
If cost is a concern, you may explore some of the scholarship programs that are available to support your kid. We have discussed more on it below.
Children are more at risk for sports injuries because their bodies are still growing and their coordination is still developing.
Safety rules should be taught to the children before they start practicing, and even then, they should always practice in an adult supervision.
Along with your own safety, safety of others should also be a consideration while practicing archery.
4.6 Key Prevention Tips
- Gear up: use the right protective gears such as a finger glove, an arm protector, and a chest guard.
- Good Quality Equipment: make sure that the protective equipment is in good condition, fits appropriately and is worn correctly at all times.
- Follow Rules: Properly following the rules will automatically reduce your chances of getting hurt, for instance, only aim and shoot your bow towards the target.
5. Scholarship Program For Archery
The National Field Archery Association offers scholarships to archers.
The NFAA Scholarship Committee will review and rank the applications, place each applicant into the appropriate category and present their suggestions to the Joint Scholarship Approval Committee for their approval.
The Joint Scholarship Approval Committee, consisting of two Directors of the National Field Archery Association Foundation and two Directors of the Easton Foundations, will make a joint decision on winners and the final amount for each scholarship.
The NFAA National Office will notify all applicants if their application was denied or approved, and the amount of the scholarship.
If approved, it will also describe the procedure for the scholarship payment.
For all scholarships greater than $500, the recipient will receive an Archery Activity Report form that must be completed and sent to the NFAA National Office twice a year, showing their archery activities during the year.
6. Archery Games Kids Can Play
Archery is not only a serious sport but it can be effectively coupled with other games to make it more fun.
Archery can easily be included in parties through such games. Here are few of the easy party plus archery games which kids can play.
6.1 Balloon Popping
This is one of the simplest games of all archery games; balloon popping is a fun game for both adults and children.
You will need a pack of balloons, a stapler, and a large, thick poster board.
Blow the balloons up, tie them and secure them by their “tails” to the poster board using staples.
Make sure you space the balloons out a bit so they are not pushed up against one another.
Place the poster board in upright position by leaning it against a tree or placing it on a chair.
Mark a spot on the ground so everyone knows how far back they need to stand when shooting their arrows.
Ask children to line up and give each person three chances to shoot at balloons.
6.2 Tic Tac Toe
This game challenges your accuracy and levels up your skill, it is different from the traditional paper pen version of this game.
Make a square on a paper with three rows and three columns. Attach it to a backstop (a box or hay bale).
An archer claims a square when their arrow hits a particular square. You can take turns with your partner in this game by shooting arrows at the board.
The main objective is to make your arrow hits three squares in a row – whether horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
6.3 Fruit Shoot
In this game of archery, a fruit is your main target.
This game will enhance your skills while having a lot of fun.
The target is to split a fruit into two equal halves with an arrow.
You can use variety of fruits, from big to small, to make this game more interesting.
Archery is a very engaging sport, with lots of different dimensions and avenues to it.
On one hand it provides some serious level of physical fitness while providing social and mental benefits, on the other hand it can be an outlet for fun and enjoyment for your kids.
Archery is a co-dependent sport. While it is fun to have company, but even if you are alone, you can have fun shooting arrows through a target.
Archery teaches lot of life skills that may be crucial for a kid’s holistic development. It has relatively relaxed criteria to get in, while it is quite safe to practice.
But proper form and safety should take the utmost priority when you or your kid is practicing archery.
Hi, I’m Vineet. Creator of DivinioWorld. I am an outdoor enthusiast and absolutely love researching, learning, and applying skills and knowledge in the real world. I started DivinioWorld to share everything I know so that even a beginner can follow the ropes and master the subtle art of outdoors adventure and survival.