Archery for Kids – Guide and Tips

Archery is a great sport for your child to get into. Whether they’ve seen it on a video game, the Hunger Games, through a school program, or even the new Hawkeye tv show, archery is a sport for all! In this article, you will learn about youth archery, what age to start archery, what you need to learn as a parent and how ArcheryUP can get you and your child started right away!

When should children start archery?

Archery is the type of sport that can be started at any age. As long as your child can listen to instructions and participate well, they are old enough to shoot a bow. To participate in archery, your child must also be able to pull back the string of the bow by themselves. This will usually weigh about 8lbs for a youth beginner bow.

It is also sensible to ensure your child can keep their balance when shooting. It is very likely that the first few times of shooting, they are quite wobbly, but their core and legs should be stable enough to stand up and hold the posture. 

The recommended age by USA Archery for starting archery is 8 years old. The reason that this age is recommended is that they are usually strong enough to hold a bow and shoot it. Along with being psychologically mature enough to listen, follow and engage with instructions and safety rules.

ArcheryUP suggests that you can start a child from the age of between 4-5. We will help coach and nurture the love of archery within the children at this age and love to work with all age ranges! As long as you and your child have a big desire and are motivated to work hard, learn archery and work with us, it’s a great time to start!

There are kids bow and arrow sets that are specifically designed for young archers. It is easy for young children who aren’t quite developed enough to use a proper bow and need to use a youth bow to learn. These sets help to build the foundations to practice archery and for when they are older. These archery sets usually have bows that are lower poundage, requiring less strength, and arrows that stick to a board easily.

Get in touch with us today so we can start your child’s archery journey!

What is important to know before my child starts archery?

It is important to remember that the younger the child, the shorter the attention span they have. Archery is a sport that requires a lot of concentration. Being able to stand in a field for an hour and focus on the task at hand is essential. If you help make the learning experience fun and engaging, it is more likely that your child will engage better and want to train and do archery regularly.

Photo credit: Archery Hub. Archery is great for all ages.

Like with every sport, archery does have costs involved from the start. Whether that is lessons with ArcheryUP, their own archery kit, a target, or travelling to competitions and training. However, the benefit of archery being a competitive sport is there are scholarships available at colleges for archery. ArcheryUP can help get your child to a level that is competitive for tournaments if this is what you and your child are looking for.

Unlike some other sports, archery can be done year-round. So be prepared to be at an archery range every weekend! During the summer, there are different types of archery (3D, Target, Field) and during the winter, the indoor season. There is never an escape!

Another thing to be aware of is archery is a sport that requires a lot of practice, week in, week out. If your child wants to achieve and be competitive, they will need to be practicing archery every week, numerous times. The muscles used while shooting are very different to pretty much every other sport, so they need to be worked and trained a lot.

How do I motivate my child to do archery?

Keeping sport and participation in sports fun is key to keeping a child motivated. This is especially important at a young age and starting out in a new sport. Archery has many games that can be done as part of learning, your ArcheryUP instructor will be able to guide you on this.

Your child will look at you for reassurance or help if they have a bad training session or competition. Make sure you support them, don’t make them feel like they’ve let you down. They are doing sport outside of school and other commitments, help them enjoy the time. Enjoying the time they spend training will help them train more and improve.

Let your child pick the day or time they have their ArcheryUP sessions. This will hold them accountable for what they want to do. You are not dictating to them what they are doing, work with them. This will help them feel grown up and that it’s their choice, helping motivation stay higher.

Photo Credit: USA Archery. Casey Kaufhold and her dad go to many competitions together.

How does archery benefit a child’s health?

Participating in sport will always benefit the health of a person, whether they are a child or an adult. Archery is a sport that doesn’t require fast movements, as such. It does not involve running around or being quick, but it is a sport of strength, endurance, and focus.

A child will burn calories and strengthen their muscles when taking part in archery. Around 100 to 150 calories can be burnt every 30 minutes when doing archery. Not to mention walking to and from the target to collect arrows that have been shot. 

It’s clear that archery requires muscles to do. The upper body and core muscles are the most used muscles. To stand straight, holding yourself up requires good core stability. By practicing this at a young age will also help with good posture. Children will build muscle in their arms, chest and shoulders while practising. However, keep an eye on the draw weight of the bow, to avoid injury by using too high poundage. 

Archery helps build confidence within a person. Being able to execute a shot and for it to hit the middle helps build self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. Having confidence at a young age through sport will help build positive mental health. Participating in sport and exercise creates endorphins within the body, which promotes positive emotions within the body.

Since archery requires focus and full attention, it can help distract from things going on in life. If a child has difficulties going on, archery is a great stress reliever. It is known to have meditative properties and helps calm the mind, whilst engaging the body which boosts overall well-being. Participating in archery will help reduce stress and help relaxation to ensue.

Whilst shooting, in practice or competition, a child will learn patience, discipline and focus. Learning archery is a step-by-step process. This helps build an ethos of focusing to progress, to achieve and participating. In turn, this also helps improve the eye-hand coordination of a child. They will need to learn the correct posture and balance to shoot their bow. All ArcheryUP instructors are trained to help and coach this to children.

The biggest benefit of participating in archery on a child’s health is it is fun. It’s a sport that brings enjoyment, friendship, and socialising skills into a child’s life.

What skills will my child learn from archery?

Photo Credit: USA Archery. Casey Kaufhold and her dad go to many competitions together.

Focus

Children will be able to learn how to focus whilst learning archery. During a training session with ArcheryUP, children will learn that focus is key to progression. Focusing on each shot will help with the result (where the arrow lands on the target) and the skills that are learnt.

This is a really important skill to take through life, through school and work. It will also give the alternative focus away from studies, helping them to then refocus when they need to as it is something else constructive in their life. 

Confidence

Standing alone on the shooting line at a young age will help build confidence. Whether that’s during a practice session or a competition. Not all children are good at team sports, so being able to be successful and progress through an individual sport will help grow their confidence that way. 

Seeing progress through the help of an ArcheryUP instructor will build confidence within a child, and the parents. Archery is a sport that can easily be progressed through, with the right instructors and dedication. So, starting at a young age will help with this.

Precision and accuracy Skills

Archery is a sport that requires a lot of attention to detail. Aiming at and hitting the middle of the target, at any distance, needs precision and accuracy. Learning precision and accuracy skills will help any child in life move forward. They will be able to pick up on mistakes or changes that need to happen with their schoolwork, work in later life. So being able to be accurate and precise in archery will give skills to take forward with life.

Socialising Skills

By nature, archery is a very sociable sport. There is a lot of communication that takes place during the learning phase, between ArcheryUP instructors and the child (or anyone learning archery with us). Archery is a sport for all, so being able to stand on a shooting line next to an adult and socialise at a target will help boost confidence, social skills and maturity.

There will also be a lot of other children at youth competitions. This will give another element of socialising, outside of school activities. Being able to socialise is a great skill to have and develop at a young age.

Patience

There is a lot of patience required in archery. From patience with the wind, when to shoot, waiting for others to finish shooting, patience with progress. Progress will not happen overnight with archery, it is something that takes time, hence needing patience.

Learning patience through archery and through sport at a young age can only benefit them as they grow up. Being patient helps the child analyze situations and things beyond their face value. When your child learns patience, they will have better behaviour and self-control, which will help with archery and the wider world.

Time Keeping Skills

Archery is a very time-sensitive sport. Whether that’s ensuring your child is ready for their lesson with ArcheryUP or competing. Your child will need to utilise their time well in their archery lessons, and therefore learn time keeping skills. While the instructor is there to help, and teach archery, the child will need to be aware of the time they use. Time walking to the target, walking to the line with their bow, they should be aware.

At competitions, each end has a time limit. So learning to shoot arrows within a set time will help with this, thus teaching time keeping skills. Taking this into life is very important.

Self-Improvement

Much like achieving at school, in a test or progressing into a higher class, archery teaches self-improvement. Each child is accountable for how far they can progress. Although the ArcheryUP instructor is there to instruct and teach your child, it is up to them what they put in and get out of the lessons. 

We will make them fun, interactive and progress as much as your child wants to. Self-improvement is essential to life. Being accountable for how much they improve is a great skill to take into life for any child, and it is learnt through archery.

Concentration Skills

Each shot in archery requires concentration. Being able to execute and replicate the shot that your ArcheryUP instructor has taught you is key. Learning this through archery can benefit school work and a job later in life. Concentration means blocking out external distractions and focusing on one key thing at a time, which is essential in a sport like archery.

Concentration will help with their performance within archery as well. Holding concentration through a session will be beneficial as well, obviously. Their attention span will grow with time as their concentration grows, helping progress within archery and school.

Sportsmanship Skills

Archery is a sport that is team and individual. However, each archer will take responsibility for their own shooting and performance. Working with other archers or even the ArcheryUP instructors teaching sportsmanship skills, and personal skills. Working together to achieve, but also asking for help and working with the instructor through failure.

A child will learn the skills that will benefit them and their team or their instructor through archery. These skills will help as they grow up, with group projects, working with different departments in later life at work, or as they progress through archery.

Dealing with pressure

Life is full of different pressures, whether that’s school, jobs, money, social life. Starting archery at a young age will help children deal with this as they grow up. Participating in a sport that requires concentration, accuracy and strength all help deal with pressures. Standing on the shooting line and shooting an arrow causes pressure. The pressure to hit the middle with that arrow.

Being able to deal with that and learning how to cope will benefit your child. They will be able to take the ability to cope with pressure into their life. It will also help with confidence and self-respect, being able to be proud of themselves for dealing with any external pressure.

How do I get my child into archery?

Getting your child into archery is a lot easier than you might think. You do not need to go and purchase all of the equipment to start either. We understand that children can change their minds, so ArcheryUP is able to rent out the archery equipment needed to learn, including the bow, arrows, armguard, targets, bow sight, and finger tab. 

To begin with, your child does not need to have had any previous experience with a bow and arrows. ArcheryUP has different programs for different ages and skills levels students. As archery is such an inclusive sport, our instructors are too. Every child is different and needs a customized learning process according to his abilities, motivation, and schedule. 

This is something that we accommodate and appreciate, we will work with you and your child to build the best training programme to suit your lifestyle. ArcheryUP offers in-person lessons available all over the USA, due to the biggest community of certified ArcheryUP instructors. We can come to you as well if you find it easier to learn on your land. We can bring all of the equipment (including targets) to you.

The great thing about the sport of archery is it can be done indoors or outdoors. During the winter months, archery is predominantly an indoor sport, with spring/summer months outdoors. There are different rounds that are available both indoor and outdoor, including target archery, 3d archery that can be done at most archery clubs.  It’s easy to set up an archery lesson in either of these settings, it’s all about your child’s needs and wants.

A high majority of the professional archers that are seen in the Olympics, Paralympics and World Championships started at a young age. Brady Ellison, for example, started competing at the age of 14, meaning he started shooting younger.

What will my child learn on the ArcheryUP program?

During the ArcheryUP lessons, your child will learn all the essentials to know about archery. Our instructors will start by explaining and showing the safety that is involved with archery. From the right way to point and load an arrow, stand on the line and shoot. Your child needs to be able to listen and engage with our instructor, so they know safety has been understood for the rest of the lesson to continue safely.

Archery has different types of bows, which our ArcheryUP Instructors will be able to teach your child about. We will work with you and your child to see which bow style best suits your child and move forward with that one. Whether it’s a compound bow, recurve bow or barebow, we will be able to teach you and your child the different ways to shoot.

Photo credit: Legend Archery. There are different types of archery that your child can do.

We will teach your child the proper posture and stance that they need to do for each shot. By mastering this, they will be able to hit the target and progress within the sport. It is a basic, but essential part of being able to do archery. This is why we focus on it in the initial stages, to get it right and give your child confidence to continue and progress.

On top of learning the correct posture and stance, we will teach the proper form. The full technique will help your child be able to shoot their bow and hit the target. This will include learning how to hold the bow whilst shooting, the proper grip. How to draw the string and bring it into the correct anchor point. We will also focus on aiming at the target. This will be different depending on which bow style you and your child decide to learn on, but our instructors will be able to help and teach the different ways.

Lastly in the technique, your child will learn the proper follow-through at the end of the shot. As your child gets stronger and more confident, we will teach how to settle into the shot and expand, making the shot as strong as possible.

Our ArcheryUP instructors will also teach equipment knowledge. How to properly nock the arrow onto the bowstring, how to check the safety of the bow, is it all in working order, how does their drawlength look? Everything like this will be taught and learned throughout the sessions.

Once we feel your child is ready to progress, we will focus on accuracy at different distances. We usually start beginners off at close distances (such as 5m) and move them back as they grow with the sport. This will help with consistency, confidence, and growth within the sport to be able to still enjoy it and not test them too early.

Hints and tips for parents with children in archery

Be supportive

At the end of the day, your child will be looking to have fun with a sport. Even if they want to take it further and progress competitively, they will need to have the element of fun. This will keep the engagement, concentration, and progression. They will want to have their lessons with their ArcheryUP instructor. 

Being the parent of a child in sport can be difficult. You want the best for your child, but you cannot push them too hard, or it becomes a chore. Being supportive will help your child, they will want to achieve and celebrate with you. Even if it’s getting all of their arrows on the target, they will look to you as their parent to celebrate and congratulate them. This is your chance to be supportive, and not pushy.

Pushing a child to participate in a sport can make the child resent it, not want to participate, and switch off. By doing that, you will be wasting your money, the ArcheryUp instructors time and potentially creating a void between you and your child. Sport is supposed to be enjoyed, make sure you have fun with your child and help them learn, progress and achieve within archery.

Showing winning and losing is for learning

When your child gets to competing, you will need to teach them that whether they win or lose, there is learning to be had. Losing can be very difficult for a lot of children, this is where supportive parenting will help. Being able to teach your child where they can learn from the loss, in a supportive and calming way, will benefit them. They will then be able to take the learning into their next archery lesson.

Winning should also be able to learn. Yes, they have won, therefore obviously done well, but there are always things to take away from winning. This doesn’t mean take away from winning, celebrate and praise it, but try to avoid letting your child get overconfident with it.

Be a good role model

Your children look up to you. Being a role model to your children will bring a great bond between you both. Your child will want to talk to you, want to be around you, have you at their practice and competitions because they’re proud to be your child. 

Being a parent that is a role model also helps your child stay calm, want to practice, want to compete and progress within the sport. If you aren’t setting the right example, how do you expect your child to behave properly at practice or at a competition?

Controlling your emotions is a key element of being a good role model. Being able to project that while you watch your child practice will help them relax, enjoy and participate in the lessons and competition.

Listen to and communicate with your child

Communication is key to a good and healthy relationship with your child. Listening will mean you can find out exactly how your child is feeling. If they are struggling with anything to do with archery, if they need extra lessons, if they don’t have the capacity that week to train, anything that is worrying them.

 Some children might rely on their parents to be their voice at the beginning of their archery journey. By communicating and listening to your child, you will be able to help the ArcheryUP instructor get the best and most productive session with your child. 

You will also be able to help your child set goals and achieve them by listening and communicating. Setting goals is essential to progress, so by helping them, you will be benefiting your child and their archery journey.

Allow your child to learn and progress

Just like when your child is growing up, they will trip and fall along the way. Allowing them to do this within archery and with the help of their ArcheryUP instructor, they will be able to learn and progress by themselves. This will help them a lot more than if you do everything for them and ensure they don’t fail.

Support the instructor

While your child is your first priority, you also need to support your ArcheryUP instructor. They are the ones teaching your child, if you have no respect for them, how do you expect your child to. You need to show the correct way of talking to the instructor. With professionalism and politeness.

If you do have an issue with the coach, talk to them away from other people. You and your child need to have a bond and trust with your instructor, just like your instructor does in you.

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