Our kids have always loved letting arrows fly, whether that’s toy bows, on the WII, or real bows when available at events and attractions.
Ryan Dotson, an Eagle Scout and expert archer in the USA and who is now passing his skills to his son, gives us his view on why archery is great for kids.
Archery is a sport that has been practised for centuries.
I was taught how to shoot a bow at a very young age after watching my father target practice. I thought that his wooden recurve bow was beautiful and that there was something special about the silence and precision of the shots he took. I was instantly hooked.
When I joined the Boy Scouts of America, I took this practice to the next level. I was entered into archery tournaments and performed well. I also had a scoutmaster that fletched his own arrows. He let me come hang out in his shop on rainy days to learn how to make arrows and then use his indoor range to see how they fly.
Benefits of teaching kids archery
As a parent myself, I see several benefits to children getting into archery.
Here are just a few you may want to consider:
- Archery develops focus – When you draw back a bow and aim at a target, you are required to focus on hand placement, a stable arm, pin placement, breathing, and release. Focusing on all these priorities at once is a skill that can translate to several other activities.
- Archery teaches competition and sportsmanship – Some of the most respectful kids you will ever meet are on an archery range. Most have learned the skill from their elders, so they already have shown a level of respect. These kids are great about being good winners or losers but understand the importance of being the best.
- Archery teaches safety – While a bow and arrow are a deadly weapon when combined, kids learn quickly to safely use these tools. Most parents that teach archery do a great job of showing kids to always aim down range and never walk to their target while others are shooting. This safety focus can be applied to lots of other activities.
- Archery is versatile – This sport can be fun for literally any child. There are plenty of disabled kids that enjoy archery, and the size or physical ability of the child is not nearly as important as other sports. Archery tournaments are held year-round and in all kinds of weather conditions as they shoot can always be moved inside if needed. Your child can stick to target practice in the backyard, or can shoot for the Olympic team in 2028.
- Archery is relatively inexpensive – While some parents may drop over £1,000 on the latest compound bow, target, and accessories, this is not the norm. Most kids start on an inexpensive compound or recurve bow. I grew up with a paper plate attached to a stack of hay bales for a target. For those that do not have a back yard large enough for target practice, there are often archery clubs that will let you practice for next to nothing. This is also a good way to hone your skills as you can watch what works for other archers.
From one parent to another
From a parent’s perspective, I can say that I have reasons to get my son into Archery that he does not understand. However, he knows that it is fun and asks to participate as much as possible. In the end is that not why we teach our children?
I would love for my son to have some of the great experiences that I had shooting in the back yard with my father. Even to this day I pull out the bow and go hunting with my father every fall. He does not climb a stand as quickly as he used to, but it is a bond that has lasted us a lifetime. I hope that you are lucky enough to have that same experience with your children.
Interested? Here are some links to find out more about teaching archery to kids.
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