Before You Begin...
Before you hold your bow for the first time, and shoot your first arrow at a target, read the basic safety instructions carefully:
- Never aim at a person or animal, not even as a joke!
- Do not use your bow for any purpose other than shooting.
- Always inspect the bow carefully before shooting. If you discover any damage, do not use it.
- Always check the range area before shooting. You need to ensure that there are no persons or animals that you can injure, and no property that you can damage.
- Never tamper with the construction of the bow.
- Use the recommended arrow size.
Benefits of Archery for Children
Shooting a bow is great for children who have difficulty concentrating. Shooting helps to calm down and practice concentration, and to boost their self-confidence as well. It will also help correct posture and strengthen muscles, especially the muscles in arm, shoulders, and centre.
Right Age to Start?
It always depends on individual circumstances. Two seven-year-olds may be very different from each other. But we can say that, in general, it is possible to make the first steps when the child is four years old. The parents or their sports teacher might be able to judge best when the right time comes. If your child is talented, they can try to participate in a competition. Archery competitions are open for children of about 11 years of age and older.
Key Criteria for Choosing a Bow for Children
If your child right-handed or left-handed? A right-handed person draws with their right hand, aims with their right eye and holds the bow in their left hand. A left-handed person uses the other hand. Before you buy a bow, pay attention to the information on the design of the bow, in order to choose the right one. Each bow is fitted differently. However, there are also universal bows for both right-handed and left-handed people.
The amount of force needed to draw the bowstring. It is measured in pounds (1 lb = 0.454 kg). You can check out the table below that contains the overview of draw weight of children's bows depending on age.
Draw weight depending on age:
Make sure to check the bow length (length from one end to the other), and the draw length. You can easily measure the draw length with a tape measure: Hold one end of the tape measure at your chin and stretch your arm with the other end of the tape. The resulting length is your draw length. Both lengths are measured in inches (1 inch = 2.54 cm). The taller the archer is, the larger bow they need. In general, bows for children under 14 should be up to 64 inches long, with the draw length of up to 25 inches.
Go for Durable Materials
If you have the option, go for bows made of durable materials, such as rattan or carbon-fibre or fiberglass-reinforced plastic. These bows will be more durable. Children's motor skills develop gradually and will improve over time. At the beginning, however, it is likely that their bow will be damaged. If that happens, do not put off the young archer!
At the beginning, you will need more arrows, because they may get lost or damaged easily. At the same time, cheaper arrows will be more than sufficient at the beginning. As the young archers get more skilled, they can get better quality arrows. Alternatively, you can get them arrows with suction cups that can be shot at a target behind glass and used indefinitely.
When choosing the arrow size, refer to the draw length of the bow. Generally, the arrow should be slightly longer than the draw length.
Growing Beyond Children’s Bows
If your child becomes too old and too skilled for their children’s bow, get them an upgrade. You can choose from a variety of compound and recurve bows for beginners. They are easy to use even for children with basic archery skills.
Recurve bows have two limbs which “re-curve” at the ends and point forward instead of to the back like the other bows. When the bowstring is not drawn, it rests on the end-parts of the limbs. Recurve bows can be equipped with a bow sight for aiming. However, children can easily aim without it as well.
Compound bows use the system of pulleys at the ends of the limbs. Compound bows with their levering system require less muscle strength on the archer’s side, so they are suitable for beginners.