Archery has been used throughout history for hunting and as a weapon of war, but in recent times, it has turned into a recreational activity. Teaching your child archery has several benefits, including building self-confidence, improving hand-eye coordination, increasing physical fitness and improving a child's ability to focus. Archery is a sport that can be done socially and can involve a variety of age groups. Children can participate in the sport if they are properly taught how to shoot and about the important safety rules.
Determine your child's eye dominance. You might assume that your child's dominant eye will be the same as his dominant hand, but that's not always so. Ask your child to stand with his hands extended in front of him, forming a small triangle between the first knuckles of his index fingers and his thumbs. Tell your child to leave both eyes open and focus on an object through the triangle. Ask him to close his left eye. If the object is centered in the triangle, then he is right-eye dominant, if not, he is left-eye dominant.
Visit an archery shop to buy your child a bow that will fit her body. The experts at the shop will pair her with the proper bow. First, they will ask her to stand with her back against a wall with both of her arms extended to her side. They will measure from fingertip to fingertip to help determine her draw length. This is how far back she can comfortable pull a bow back, to give her proper form and better accuracy. Next, your child will experiment with draw weight, by pulling back a variety of weights on different bows. She should be able to pull a bow back comfortably, without raising the bow more than 6 inches above her line of sight. Finally, the archery shop will assist in equipping your child's bow in the accessories needed, such as arrows, a sight, arrow rest, wrist sling and kisser button.
Go over the safety rules with your child before he shoots. Most importantly, never point the bow at another person or a living thing. It should always be pointed at the ground when not being shot. After taking a shot, a child should step back from the shooting line and never forward, in case someone else is target practicing as well. Archery should only be practiced with an adult supervising and in the proper place, like an archery range or empty field. Never shoot an arrow up into the air and do not nock an arrow until right before you are ready to shoot. Before arrows can be retrieved from the target, you should make sure no one is standing behind you that you could accidentally poke with the arrow. Always walk with the arrow pointing at the ground.
Teach your child the proper way to shoot if you have experience in archery. If not, sign your child up for an archery class or inquire about lessons where you purchased your child's bow. If you are experienced and shoot archery yourself, show your child the proper way to shoot a bow, using your own bow. Stand up straight with relaxed shoulders and angle properly toward the archery target. Nock your arrow, draw the bow back, aim at the target, take a deep breath and release.
Let your child give it a try. Ensure he is completing each step the right way and see how he does. Correct any mistakes you see him making and encourage him to practice often to sharpen his archery skills. Make it more fun by placing balloons on the target for him to shoot at.
Items you will need
- Never allow your child to shoot without your supervision.
- DNR Wildlife Resources: Archery Benefits
- Time for Kids: Archery
- Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association: Archery
- Mathews: Little Partners: A 3 Step Approach for Getting Your Kids Into Archery
- Hunter's Friend: Compound Bow Selection Guide
- Michigan Bowhunter's Ed Course: Archery Safety
- Arrow Sport: Is Archery a Safe Sport? Yes!
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