If your child tells you that he or she would like to learn archery, your first reaction might be uncertainty. Do you really want to hand your kid a bunch of sharp objects and teach him or her to shoot them through the air?
In my case, my son and I enrolled in archery lessons together. I am as new to the sport as he is, so we’ve both been learning from a pro.
If you have the experience to teach your child archery yourself, you probably already can think of a few great reasons to proceed.
But in case you still are not sure, here are 20 reasons why archery is an awesome sport for your kid to learn—whether from you or from an instructor.
19 Reasons to Teach Your Kids Archery
1. Archery is safer than you think.
Despite the fact that a bow is a weapon and arrows are pointy, archery is surprisingly safe. Just take a look at this:
Fewer than one in every thousand people who participate in archery ever get injured by the sport. Other sports like football, basketball, and baseball which parents more traditionally consider for their children are actually far more dangerous.
Of course, archery is only safe when it is practiced safely by a responsible person. For that reason, it is critical that your child understands and follows the rules to the letter.
2. There are quite a few physical health benefits of practicing archery.
Archery gives the body a fantastic workout. It targets core muscles, leading to improvements in not only strength but also stability. This also can improve performance for muscles in the arms and legs as well.
Additionally, strength and flexibility in the hands and fingers is also easy to improve with archery. At the same time, it is possible to build eye-hand coordination.
Last but not least, archery burns around 140 calories per half hour. Many people who enjoy the sport spend much longer than that practicing. That means that it is an excellent way for kids to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
3. Practicing archery makes kids feel “badass.”
Sports, in general, tend to help kids feel good about themselves. But archery is a particularly great option because it is undeniably “badass.” The days when archery was a vital skill for survival or self-defense are long gone, but the association with these things remains.
In some cases, this also can be a selling point with kids who may be hesitant to try other sports. You may be able to get them onboard with the idea without even trying. They may just picture all the badass warriors they’ve ever seen firing arrows in historical or fantasy films and jump right in.
4. Children learn responsibility and safety while shooting.
You may worry about your child’s safety while shooting, but there is a flipside. Because safety is so important while practicing archery, it is an ideal chance for children to learn to be more responsible.
The end result will be the child who is safer and more responsible all around. You will end up worrying less as a result all the time. On that note, this is an excellent opportunity for you to put trust in your child. This can improve your relationship and give your kid a chance to prove he or she deserves that trust.
5. Archery can train patience.
Kids are of course notorious for their impatience. Some children indeed are exceptions, but the vast majority could use some improvement in this area. Archery can help kids develop patience. This trait is essential for success, which is something that every child will discover as he or she practices.
Just think how that could pay off the next time that you need your child to wait patiently for you to do something. It could result in better behavior in day-to-day life and fewer hassles for you.
6. This is a solo sport, but still provides opportunities for socializing.
Team sports tend to be emphasized because they help children to learn certain social skills. But not all children prefer them. Those with a more introverted nature may be happier with a solo sport like archery.
But that does not mean that kids who practice archery are doing so in isolation. On the contrary, when they visit the archery range, they have the chance to meet other children who enjoy the same sport. They may end up developing many of the same social skills, just in a different context.
7. Archery can improve concentration.
Does your child take constant breaks while doing homework? For kids who have a hard time focusing, archery can help to sharpen concentration. At first, this may be confined to the range. But over the long run, do not be surprised if you see that same focus applied to schoolwork and other pursuits.
8. Practicing archery is a great way to improve confidence.
If you have a child who is underconfident, archery may help change that. The change probably will not happen right away. Such a child may struggle at first unless he or she has natural talent.
With time and practice, even those who have poor eye-hand coordination in the beginning can develop strong skills. In the process, they can learn to tolerate their failures, because many failures are needed in order to eventually shoot with accuracy and precision.
When children learn not to get down on themselves for their mistakes, they become more confident. They realize that confidence does not reflect knowing how to do something now, but rather recognizing that they can do something eventually.
9. Archery gets kids outdoors.
If you have a hard time getting your kid to set down his or her console controller to go outside, archery may be just what you're looking for. Sometimes it is easier to convince a child go outside without actually saying, "go outside and play." Just having the chance to pick up the bow and arrows may be enough.
10. This sport may get kids interested in history.
It is common for kids to take an interest in archery if they have already taken interest in history. But sometimes it happens the other way around. A child who takes the archery they want to learn more about its history. This may lead to improvements in academic performance.
11. Archery can be a survival skill.
Hopefully, there will never be a zombie apocalypse. But in case there is, you can rest assured knowing that your child will be able to hunt for food and defend his or herself against the ravenous hordes. Bows and arrows are perfect for this—just ask any kid who has played The Last of Us.
All kidding aside, children do think this way. This goes back to what I was saying earlier about archery being “badass.” Anything that motivates your kid to exercise, right?
12. Disabilities that stand in the way of other sports may not stop a child from trying archery.
For some children, archery is a chance to participate in sports where other opportunities may not exist. If for example, a disability prevents your child for participating in a sport which involves running, that may not stop him or her from participating in archery.
13. Kids discover that success is built on failure, and learn to weather the emotions of missed shots in order to improve.
This is something I touched on already while talking about confidence. But the ramifications go further than that. Not only can children become more confident through this process of learning, but they may also face challenges with more level-mindedness. The perspective they gain may also help them to develop greater risk tolerance as well.
14. Archery is simple and straightforward.
For some children who struggle with sports, the problem isn't a lack of coordination or physical ability. It is difficulty related to executive function. A sport like football or dance could be overwhelming to such a child.
Archery, by contrast, is about as simple as a sport can get. Once a child learns the signals at the range and the basic steps to shoot, he or she should be good to go.
15. Kids can practice archery all year.
Kids who play sports like football or soccer may be frustrated during the wintertime when harsh weather keeps them from going out to enjoy their sport. While your child can practice at an outdoor range, there are indoor archery ranges as well. That means that it is a sport which can be enjoyed in all seasons.
16. Kids can apply for archery scholarships when they get older.
You probably know that some kids get to go to university on sports scholarships for games like football or basketball. But did you know that archery scholarships are offered as well? If your child becomes a skilled archer, there's a chance that it could help pay for his or her college education.
17. Children who have a hard time following rules may learn some discipline from archery.
Is your child a frequent rule breaker? If so, teaching him or her archery may seem counterintuitive. After all, following rules is vital for safety for all participants. Nonetheless, this may be the perfect reason to do it.
The key to training discipline is often motivation. Your child may have a hard time following rules at home and school because he or she is not adequately motivated by something exciting.
But if archery becomes that something, it may be enough to compel even the most problematic rule-breaker to start doing what he or she is told. After all, rule breaking will result in a loss of archery privileges. That is not worth risking.
Once a child learns to follow rules while shooting at the range, it may only be a matter of time before that discipline starts paying off in other areas. Discipline becomes associated with reward.
18. Kids learn to compete not only with others but with themselves.
Even archery is not a team sport, it is a competitive one. Children with a competitive streak will enjoy challenging themselves to best their peers.
What is great about individual sports like this, however, is that they have a certain contemplative aspect. While focusing on a target and trying to perfect one’s aim, one usually is not focused on one's opponents, but simply upon improving performance over one’s previous shot.
Ultimately, this is the only measure of success that really matters. People who learn to stop comparing themselves to others ultimately will end up happier and more well-adjusted in their personal and professional lives. There is no better time to begin than in childhood.
19. Supporting your child’s desire to learn archery can strengthen your relationship.
This is also something which I mentioned briefly before, but it deserves to be highlighted. If your child wants to learn archery and you say “no,” the message in your child's brain probably translates to, "My parents don’t trust me or believe in me.”
This is not to say of course that archery is appropriate for every age. But once your kid is old enough, saying “yes” sends a much better message. At that rate, “When you are a little older” is also a supportive response.
What age is appropriate? It is actually a lot younger than you may think. A child as young as three or four can actually get started with a toy set that includes suction cups instead pointed tips on the arrows.
Around age five, your child can probably graduate to arrows without suction cups. Older children and teens should be able to handle arrows with pointed tips without any issues. You or another adult should supervise any child who is new to archery, however, regardless of age.
When you do hand your child a bow and arrows, the message your child receives is, “My parents trust me to be responsible. They believe in my ability to learn how to handle the bow and arrow safely.”
Never underestimate what this can do to nourish your relationship. And if you take up archery as well, it may be a chance to share an activity which you both love.
Conclusion: Archery Helps Children Develop Skills, Confidence, and Responsibility
If you are hesitant to hand your child a bow, don’t be. Yes, archery requires discipline and responsibility, but it helps to build those things. That is precisely why it is a fabulous sport for younger and older children alike.
Once your child discovers archery, he or she may bloom with greater confidence. Tackling challenges on the range can help kids tackle challenges in the classroom and in life. Consider giving the sport a try yourself as well if you haven’t already. You may discover it becomes an integral part of your life and your child’s, bringing you closer together.