Getting the point

Youth learning archery has lifelong benefits.

Archery is a great indoor or outdoor activity for youth. Their involvement is encouraged during afterschool 4-H archery programs and in school archery programs such as the National Archery in the Schools Program. The great sport of archery is a fairly inexpensive activity that has several essential quality life skill development components. Archery programs develop concentration skills, discipline, respect, responsibility, patience, team work, leadership and safety.

Youth participating in archery programs also develop their physical strength and mental fitness. Youth regardless of age, size or physical ability can learn and participate in archery programs or become leisure time target shooters and develop their skills to advance to competitive shooting. They may also decide to use their skills to become bow hunters.

Archery requires a certain amount of strength and therefore I encourage parents, teachers and instructors to evaluate a child’s ability before beginning participation in an archery program. A child should be able to pull the bow string back to the corner of their smile without a tremendous amount of effort. A new archer should be able to hold the bow up for a short period of time without trembling or becoming exhausted. This observation will determine if a child is physically capable of participating in an archery program successfully. The worst thing that can be done is to allow a child that is not physically capable of performing the basics of archery to participate. You are setting the child up for an unsuccessful experience that can be prevented if the child is allowed time to develop. It is preferential to wait for a period of time. Allow the child’s physical development to take its natural course and introduce the sport of archery at a later date. Waiting until a child is physically capable will ensure that the archery experience will be a positive one and that a child will want to continue their archery shooting experience long term.

Michigan State University Extension programs educate youth about archery. To become involved, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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