Are you a bowhunter with a child who wants to be just like you and is begging for a bow of their own? Maybe they’ve fallen in love with a character like Merida or Hawkeye and want to explore the talents of the characters for themselves. Whatever the case, if you’re thinking of getting your kids involved in archery, it’s an excellent idea!
There are a few key archery safety tips you must keep in mind to ensure everyone stays safe and has a great time. Check out our complete guide to archery for kids — including archery safety for kids — for the best ways to introduce this sport to your children.
If you want your child to love something, it’s important to keep things fun, engaging, and light. Leave the pressure to succeed behind and don’t overwhelm them with technical terms or a lot of precision techniques. Stick with the basics first:
- Show them how to stand and explain where to put their feet
- Take turns shooting so your child can see and mimic your form
- Use a big target and stand closely at first to encourage success and build from there
The key to a successful introduction to archery for kids is gradual and fun practice that doesn’t feel like a chore.
How Young Is Too Young?
If your child is strong enough to draw a bow, they’re old enough! That said, one essential step in archery safety is to start any child under six years old with a plastic bow and arrow set — the kind that has suction cups on the end.
It may seem like a toy at first, but these plastic options are a great way to introduce some basic archery safety concepts for kids in a way that keeps them and everyone else protected if they make a mistake.
- Never point the arrow at anything you don’t intend to shoot (i.e. any living things especially but also breakable objects, etc.)
- Do not dry-fire a bow (ever!)
- Do not touch the “tip” of the arrow
Another general archery tip for kids includes how to pull back and focus on the target before releasing. Once your child has these concepts down, you can start looking into upgrading their plastic bow.
For Older Children
Older and more mature kids should be able to handle real archery equipment and grasp more safety concepts very quickly. After they get the hang of the most basic safety concepts, there are more concepts for them to learn:
- All the recommended safety tips for younger children
- How to properly store and handle bows and arrows
- How to wear finger and arm guard protection
- Always point arrows downrange, even when the bow is not drawn
- Never shoot where you can’t see the other side, behind your target
Safe archery for kids begins with these basics and continues as they age.
Which Type of Bow is Best for Kids?
After the plastic stage, most children do well with a longbow. These tend to be a bit less powerful thanks to their lack of significant recurve and will allow your child to get a feel for the draw and release, as well as how to aim with focus alone. Don’t forget to reinforce archery safety tips!
If your child has shown aptitude and maturity with a longbow and/or is at least eight years old, they may be ready for a recurve or even a compound bow. When it comes to archery for kids, each child is different and you know your own children best. Use your best judgment for what you think they can handle.
How Do I Know What Draw Length and Other Equipment My Child Needs?
If you’re not an experienced archer, your best bet is to go to a nearby archery store and range. The professionals there should be well versed in archery safety for kids, as well as measuring their draw length to ensure a proper fit.
Once your child’s draw length and weight have been measured, see if you can rent a bow for them to try on the range (archery lessons are also always a good idea). Archery for kids is an investment, so practicing with a rental ensures you’re buying the right bow! It’s also a good idea to start with a less expensive option, as beginning archers will build muscle and eventually need a heavier draw weight in their permanent bow.
Other equipment needs will depend on the type of archery your child chooses to do. For example:
- Compound bow archers need a mechanical release aid, and possibly a sight and stabilizer
- Recurve archers need a riser, two recurve limbs, and a finger tab
All archers need arrows, a bowstring, a quiver or other arrow storage, and a bow case.
Keep Up With Archery Tips for Kids with 60X
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