It’s that time of year again: registration for summer camps, making plans for the beach, and (hopefully) relaxed weekends with family and friends. Perfect summer activities aren’t just the ones that get you outdoors – they’re the ones you can do as a family. And if you haven’t tried archery yet, you don’t actually know what you’re missing.
A Straight Arrow explains: “With each and every shot, young archers learn to not get emotional anytime they make a bad shot. Instead of attaching their ego to their performance, they learn to analyze the shot, and then learn from it before preparing for the next one, without emotion.”
That process makes kids goal-oriented, and constantly trying to improve their personal best – which, in turn, builds self confidence.
Archery improves focus and patience, which are fundamental to the development of critical life skills. Creating focus at the archery range helps children improve their focus in school, with anecdotal evidence of better grades for some kids who shoot bows and arrows. And learning to be patient with themselves eventually morphs into being patient with others.
If you’re wondering whether you or your kid can try archery, worry no more: archery is enjoyed by everyone, including those with different levels of physical ability. Archery Trade magazine features a girl who excels at archery despite a vision impairment. Karabrie Wiggins showed a New York news station that her impairment did not prevent her from setting and achieving goals. Practice and determination can still bring success. Wiggins and her teammates competed in the National Archery in the Schools Program’s national competition May 12-14 in Kentucky.
Kids love zombies, so why not combine physical activity with creative activity? Show your child that archery can be fun, yet practical, by taking them to themed camps and facilities. A Zombie Apocalypse Survival Camp in Allen, Texas, teaches children archery while using zombies to engage their interest. Archery360 reported: “Some kids might struggle to see how archery could be useful in real-life applications. This camp teaches participants that archery is a vital life skill that can aid in survival. Knowing how to shoot a bow and arrow means you can feed yourself if you ever need to hunt for your own food.”
The sport can also help combat depression. “Many archers describe a therapeutic feeling after a good practice session, whether enjoying the sport recreationally or preparing for a tournament,” Archery360 reports.
And the cost? Relatively inexpensive. Families can head to an archery store in their community, where you can usually rent bows and arrows for a beginner lesson. When your kids show enough interest that it’s time to purchase gear, a beginner setup can usually be purchased for well under $200, making it very cost-effective compared to other sports.
Wondering how to stick with archery after the summer sun fades? During summer, children can lose much of what they learned the previous school year. With archery, however, they can retain and improve their shooting skills no matter the month, by visiting indoor and outdoor ranges. These facilities keep children stimulated and well-practiced during school breaks in winter and summer.
Some kids thrive in individual sports and others thrive in team sports. Archery allows both. All archers are in charge of their own bows, and they alone determine how well they’ll shoot. When shooting at a range, archers stand next to many others who share the same passion. And people of all ages enjoy archery, so your child could receive guidance from an adult who’s willing to provide some mentoring. Friendships formed on the archery range often last a lifetime.
And if parents are concerned that their child isn’t getting enough exercise, archery can help them build strength and muscle while doing something fun. Archery360 reports: “According to Harvard University, 30 minutes of archery burns about 100 calories, depending on your body weight. In addition, properly drawing a bow strengthens your core, arms, chest, hands and shoulders. A strengthened core also improves posture and blood flow, boosting energy levels as your cells pump oxygen to your organs and muscles.”
Above all, archery is cool. Many famous pop-culture figures shoot archery, which gives children someone to emulate, like Katniss or Hawkeye. These characters engage the imagination and make practice more stimulating. Real-life superheroes like Matt Stutzman and Mackenzie Brown will soon take to the Paralympic and Olympic stages at Rio 2016, showing the world that archery can help you hit any target.