Archery plays prominent roles in movies, TV shows and video games. Kids routinely see superheroes and Disney princesses shooting archery. They imagine themselves as Katniss, Merida and Hawkeye, and many ask parents to let them try the sport. If archery intrigues your child, contact an archery range or pro shop and enroll them in introductory lessons.
Is my child too young for archery?
Archery is a great introductory sport for anyone of any age or skill. Many athletes shoot archery without having played other sports or honed any athletic skills. That makes it appropriate for any age. Archers must only focus and aim steadily. In addition, archery tournaments have age divisions for all kids who enjoy competing, so they can take their archery passions from the range to the tournament stage whenever they like.
What equipment do they need?
Your child’s equipment needs depend on the discipline they choose. Compound-bow archers also need a mechanical release aid. Recurve archers need a riser, two recurve limbs, and a finger tab. All archers need arrows, a bowstring, a quiver, an armguard, and a bow case. You can increase their accuracy by adding a sight and stabilizer. Carbon arrows are the most durable option, and they’re great for beginners. The arrow’s spine and length will be matched to your child’s draw weight and draw length; and will also depend on whether they shoot field, 3D, indoor or target archery.
An archery shop technician will measure your child’s draw length and draw weight to match them with a bow. The draw length measures how far they pull the bowstring when drawing a bow, and the draw weight measures how many pounds they can comfortably pull. To start, they can rent a bow from the shop and test it on the range. Once your child finds the right bow, think about buying it for them. Beginning archers build muscles while practicing, and eventually they’ll need a heavier draw weight. Therefore, start them with a less expensive bow and upgrade when it’s clear they’re ready for a more permanent bow.
Which classes and programs are available?
Ranges host leagues, youth programs, and introductory classes. If your child is young or particularly shy, offer encouragement by taking the introductory lesson with them. Then, transition to becoming a sidelines spectator with other parents and friends. Watch the lessons until you know basic form and safety procedures, and offer reminders as your child practices at home. Meanwhile, talk to other parents and ask them about their experiences. They might connect you with another program or offer firsthand advice.
You’ll also find plenty of national options like Scholastic 3D Archery, the National Archery in the Schools Program, and the Junior Olympic Archery Development program. Those programs present opportunities for kids to connect with other archers their age, and to learn from older, more experienced archers. Many tournaments offer scholarships to promising youngsters. The Vegas Shoot, for example, awards scholarships to the top three archers in each Junior division, as well as the Cub category, for archers 11 and younger. If the recipients are too young to apply the scholarship toward higher education, the winnings remain in their scholarship fund until they’re ready.
No matter your kid’s age, you’ll find many ways for them to try archery. They can shoot for fun, competition, and even a spot on the Olympic stage. Archery’s only limitations are those that archers set for themselves. Whatever your child’s path, their first steps are toward the range.