As parents, we can all agree that steadfast support is the way to go, but it’s also easier said than done. After all, what does that support entail when your kid is dipping their toes into archery? We’ll walk you through 9 archery tips that can go a long way, so buckle up!
9 Tips for Parents When Practicing Archery With Kids for the First Time
1. Have Fun
First, remember that archery should be fun. But you know what isn’t? That’d be bombarding kids with technical information. So, as they hold their bows in hand, you can merely give them a basic idea about technique and form.
Still, how do you make archery fun? Play games, of course! We’re talking exploding balloons full of water, flour, paint, or glitter. You can also try zombie targets, dinosaur targets, 3-D targets, novelty targets, and more.
Not to mention, you can take your kids to a league night at the archery range or take them shooting with friends. And remember that as long as they enjoy archery, they’ll keep at it.
2. Establish Eye Dominance
Establishing your kid’s eye dominance is crucial before purchasing any gear. Some people assume that their dominant eye must coincide with their dominant hand. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. And knowing which eye is dominant and placing the bowstring directly in front of it promotes accurate shooting.
Still, this leaves us with the question of how to determine the dominant eye. Just ask your child to extend their hands; they should be placed to make a small triangle between the thumbs and first knuckle on the index finger. And get them to look through the triangle, centering an object, such as a lightbulb or a rock.
Then, kids should close their left eyes and observe. If the object remains centered, they’re right-eye dominant. If not, they’re left-eye dominant.
3. Get the Proper Draw Length and Weight
When purchasing your kid’s first bow, these two measurements are necessary to make accurate shots.
Firstly, the draw length is the distance to which you can draw the bowstring comfortably. Typically, short people require shorter draw lengths than tall people. Secondly, the draw weight estimates how difficult it is to pull the drawstring back. Generally, if your kid is under 18, they’ll need a bow with a draw weight between 5 and 20 pounds.
To choose the proper draw length and weight for your kid, we’d say let the pros handle it. In other words, purchase the bow from an archery pro shop rather than a box store. That’s because archery shop technicians can measure your child’s draw length and weight to find the right bow for them.
4. Keep Accessories to a Minimum
You don’t need all the fancy gear when you’re getting your kid is still a beginner archer. On the contrary, too much technology can confuse and overwhelm them. So, attach the simplest accessories to your kid’s bow.
For one, a bright, single-pin sight can relieve them of the trouble that’s picking the correct pin. Furthermore, whisker-style rests that enable children to load the arrow and shoot are also easy to use and perfect for beginners.
And some add-ons to consider are the kiss button, which gives your kid a second point of reference and contributes to a repeatable anchor point, and the bow sling, which allows their shooting hand to relax without dropping the bow.
5. Choose the Right Bow Type
When choosing between recurve bows and compound bows, compound bows are recommended for children. For instance, you can opt for the Genesis Original Kit. In fact, it’s suitable for new archers of all ages. Not to mention, it’s easy to use, and you can adjust its draw weight between 10 and 20 pounds.
Otherwise, if your kid is in their teens or young adulthood, perhaps the Samick Sage Recurve Bow would be a better fit, and they can grow with it. Also, they’ll find it easy to use this bow and accessorize it.
6. Enroll Kids in Archery Programs
Archery programs can help kids enjoy the sport, and there are so many options out there. To exemplify, you have the JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program, which is directed at kids of 8 years to young adults of 20 years. And it’s available all over the U.S.
7. Start Kids off With a Short Distance
Usually, adults can shoot at 20 to 30 yards, but children are different. If they’re starting out, they may not be able to hit targets at such distances. So, instead, we’d recommend starting kids at a distance of 5 to 10 feet.
This way, they can devote their energy to hitting targets. Then, you can gradually increase the distance between them and their targets once they have that down.
8. Consider Kids’ Short Attention Span
As adults, we may never get enough of shooting; however, the same can’t be said for kids. To elaborate, children tend to have a much shorter attention span than adults, so keep that in mind when you decide on the duration of their sessions. Therefore, there will be days when your kid will be done after shooting 5 arrows and others when they’ll shoot 20 or more.
9. Get Them to Shoot at Home
After your kid starts archery, you should consider buying them a target so that they can shoot at home. Also, note that some targets are designed for people to shoot at them with lightweight bows, including youth targets, Morrell targets, and more. Otherwise, if you buy a regular target, arrows may bounce off of it, deterring your child from shooting.
All in all, archery can be so much fun for you and your kids. All you have to do is buy them the right gear and get right into it! Don’t dwell too much on the technicalities of archery at first. Instead, make it fun using our tips, and your kid will probably want to keep practicing.