Looking for an activity that provides exercise, improves math skills, teaches etiquette, requires focus, reduces stress, and is – oh, yeah – lots of fun? Consider Archery!
When my little guy told his buddies that he was going to get a real bow and arrow set, no one believed him. They insisted he was lying even when I backed him up. When his archery set finally arrived … the boys next door continually asked, “Is it real? Is it a toy one?” Even one of the dads, when Buddy brought it over and demonstrated his new skill, was a little surprised. “The arrows have suction cups on the tip … They don’t?!” One of the moms said, “The fact that he has a bow and arrow scares me to death!” Proof that people tend to fear what they do not know … what they do not understand.
I’m surprised more boys (and girls … I know many girls enjoy the sport, too – but typically it is boys) aren’t allowed the opportunity to explore their interest. Parents assume it is dangerous. But once they see the National Safety Council’s numbers ranking archery as one of the safest sports, once they understand just how easy and affordable it is to set up and run an archery program, and once their first class fills up with happy participants who want more…it’s no surprise that Archery is the hot new trend in recreation.
Archery is contagious. Here is a way to investigate an activity that is gaining in popularity all over the U.S., particularly amongst homeschoolers.
1. Name and explain the archery safety rules.
2. Tell about the local and state laws on ownership, use and registration of archery tackle.
3. Name and point out the parts of a bow and an arrow.
4. Describe and show how to use an arm guard, shooting glove, finger tab, and quiver.
5. Explain proper care of and how to store the bow, bowstring, arrows, and leather items.
6. Make a bowstring and use it.
7. Make one complete arrow from a bare shaft.
8. Explain the following terms: cast, bow weight, string height (fistmele), aiming, spine, mechanical release, freestyle, and bare bow.
9. Describe the different types of arrows.
10. Show the nine basic steps of a good shooting method.
11. Locate and mark with dental floss, crimp on, or other method the nocking point on a bow string.
12. Shoot with bow and arrows, using a finger release.
13. Explain the difference between field and target archery.
14. Explain the difference between field round, hunter round, and animal round.
15. Explain the importance of obedience to a range master or other person in charge of a range.
16. Learn some of the competition rules in various forms of competition archery.
17. If possible, attend a archery competition. Speak to the participants and ask them how much and how often they practice, when did they learn, and about any special training that they have had.
For those with Olympic dreams, archery has many advantages. The equipment is affordable, official competitions are held all over the country and are open (don’t require pre-qualification), and archery can be practiced year round, indoors or out.
Other programs include The Way of The Bow, an archery curriculum that explores the diverse culture and history of archery (Japanese Kyudo, Native American, Ancient Roman, and others) in addition to learning how to shoot. ArrowFaith, a faith-based curriculum that explores the personal virtues that are necessary if one aspires to excel at archery (such as responsibility, perseverance, mindfulness, and others), combines the fun of shooting with personal development. GoArchery! is a program designed by two-time Olympic coach Lloyd Brown to set up beginners with optimal form while having fun learning the sport. Information on these and other archery programs is available at Teach Archery.