Starting in archery is no different than any other sport. As long as your child can stay focused long enough to learn proper technique they are old enough to shoot a bow.
I got my first bow when I was 5 years old. However, my parents started me out with a wooden longbow and then a compound bow that was too big. Looking back now I’m glad they got me involved in one of my favorite hobbies so early. But, I want to pass along some tips now that I am a father and I went through it the wrong way in my childhood.
How old should your child be?
The younger a child is the more likely they are to be distracted and not able to learn how to properly shoot their new bow. However, if you have ever signed them up for any type of team sport they are old enough to begin archery. Like I said before I got my first bow when I was around 5.
What bow should you get your young child?
I wish everyone could read this article and head my advice. By buying a bow from walmart or a cheap longbow you can allow them to learn in the back yard or at an archery range and it will serve them for one season or so until they outgrow it. I have an article on the best bow for an 8 year old but the recommendation is good for any age. I highly recommend it.
What else should you know about starting a child off in archery
- First I recommend looking at programs around your area. Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) has youth programs around the US. While some programs require children to be at least 8 years old for insurance purposes it can be a great start on learning proper technique.
- Start them off with the techniques they will eventually use later in life. I suggest getting a compound bow with sights and a release.
- Buy a bow with a lot of adjustability. Kids grow fast and by spending around 300$ you can get a complete bow package with enough adjustability to last a lifetime.
- Read my article on the best bow for an 8 year old.
- Invest the time and money into setting them up right. Take the new bow and your child to an archery shop and have the weight and length matched to their body. This will allow them to prevent forearm slap and help them be more accurate.
- Keep it fun. The best part of archery is the relaxing state it brings you. When shooting you have to concentrate so much on the task that it takes you into a relaxed state of mind. Also, kids love the act of sending something flying down range toward a target!
- Archery is a hobby most people keep for life. Unlike some team sports that you outgrow and have no outlet for after school, archery can be practiced later on into life anywhere a backyard range is available.
Research how you want to teach your son or daughter archery
Decide how you want to approach teaching your child archery. If you want them to join a local program and do friendly competitions look into the equipment used by these programs. Some focus more on olympic style shooting and use more traditional bows and equipment. Contact them first about what equipment to buy so you don’t waste money on prohibited gear. If you want to teach your son or daughter yourself then I recommend reading my other articles on beginner archery and the best bows for kids.