Why Kids Archery Lessons Can Make Your Child a Better Student
Martial Arts have long been lauded as a way for children to build self-control, discipline, respect for others and themselves, all while strengthening their mind, body, and spirit. However, not every child is interested in fighting, or perhaps are not very physical. Archery classes make a great alternative to traditional martial arts classes.
In fact, Archery has deep roots as a martial art. The Japanese martial art of Byudu was a result of the need of samurai to train themselves to skillfully wield a bow and arrow. Archery is also a commonly adopted challenge among Zen monks who want to hone their concentration and subconscious ability. By dissolving all anxiety or attachment to the target, their weapon, or their performance, and finally even their metaphysical ‘selves’ they become one with the arrow as it hits the center of the target.
If you think your child could use a bit of enlightenment, develop discipline and self-confidence, and get some exercise, kids archery classes may be right for you. Here are some of the benefits of archery classes for children.
Archery can make your kid a better student
In a recent study at the University of Pennsylvania, self-discipline was found to be the best predictor of a child’s academic performance. Excelling in archery requires immense concentration, patience, and a highly developed sense of self-control. The archer is required to calm his mind and wait for the perfect moment to release his arrow. With each shot, young archers learn not to get emotional when they make a bad shot. Rather than attaching their ego to their performance, they learn to instead analyze the shot, learn from it, and prepare for the next one, without emotion. For this reason, archery is a great sport for teaching children self-control, patience, and emotional intelligence.
Archery classes can make your kid more respectful
Typically, in their first archery lesson students learn that their bow and arrows are, in fact, weapons. As such, they should be treated with eminent respect. The right instructor or coach will teach his or her class the proper range commands to keep the entire class safe, and all archers receive instruction on using their bow safely. This teaches kids deep respect for the weapon as well as for the art form. Since archery coaches and other members of the class will likely have a lot of experience with the sport, your child will learn respect and the value of hard work from their positive example. Make sure that your archery coach is certified and has some kind of procedure for teaching beginner archers range and weapon safety.
Archery can get your kids to focus
Do you sometimes notice your child’s eyes glazing over when you are talking to them? Do they often find it impossible to focus on their homework? Archery might be just what you need. In order to be successful in archery, kids have to learn to concentrate deeply. They have to be extremely aware of the muscles in their back and shoulders, and balance their awareness of the target. Every time they shoot, a child is required to practice complete emptiness of mind. They cannot be thinking about their last shot, or something their friend said, or what they might have for dinner. They have to be totally focused on the task at hand. Once they learn to focus in archery, they will have no problem focusing in other areas of their life. Even homework.
Archery is accessible to all
Literally any child can participate in Archery. Matt Stutzman of the US Paralympic Archery team proves just that. He has no arms, yet still represents the nation in Archery competition using his foot to brace the bow, and a special mouth tab for drawing and releasing the arrow. Additionally, archery is a gentle, low-impact sport that can be practiced throughout one’s life. Whether your child has a disability, is physically fit, or abhors exercise archery is a sport that is open and accessible to anyone.
Archery won’t break the bank
A beginner archery kit should cost no more than $100. If your child is very young, you can expect to pay half that amount. Finally, if you or your child is very resourceful there’s a growing trend of people making ‘self-bows’. A self bow is just a bow that you make yourself, usually from a single piece of wood that you sculpt into a bow. This is a great exercise for Scout troops.
Archery is physical
While not overtly physical, archery requires a high-level of body awareness and an immense amount of strength in the upper body. A children’s bow may have a draw weight of 25 lbs. If your child shoots 40 arrows in a week, they will have drawn 1,000 lbs. Archer’s typically have very well developed back and shoulder muscles. Many coaches will have their athletes perform core exercises as well, to give them a more stable base to shoot from.
Archery can be practiced anywhere
Many archery ranges are Indoors, but your child can shoot in any safe, open area. In fact, if your child pursues competitions, they will largely be outdoors. In fact, they may have the opportunity to walk through a landscape and shoot at targets of varying distances if they participate in 3D or ‘field’ shoots.
Archery is social
Since archery is a lifetime sport, or a sport that can be practiced at any age of life, it is open to an extraordinary variety of people. Your child will learn good social skills and respect for others, good sportsmanship, and even teamwork skills through competitive team archery. As your child progresses in the sport, they will have the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world.
Archery is fun
At the end of the day, what more do you need than to kick back with your friends, and let a few arrows fly. Archery is fun! You get to meet and talk with so many interesting people, and there is nothing better for releasing stress than releasing an arrow and hearing the loud ‘thwack’ as it hits the target down-range. Are you a stressed parent? Maybe you and your child should participate!
What is the right age for a kid to begin training?
Your child should have the upper body strength to draw the bow, and the coordination to nock an arrow and shoot it. Additionally, they must have the maturity to concentrate and follow all directions and safety rules. While children as young as 5 can begin taking archery lessons, 7 is usually a good age to begin taking classes.
How to Find Archery Lessons or Classes
The best way to get your kid into the sport is usually to contact your local archery shops. If they do not offer lessons or classes in house, they can usually direct you to a certified coach or expert archer who coaches the sport professionally.