Historians believe that archery has been around, in one form or another, for about ten thousand years. The initial purpose of bow and arrow was warfare, it was the closest thing the ancients had to a firearm and is one of the first forms of range weaponry humans have devised. This might not sound like a good sales pitch for a good sport for children, but any sport that has its roots in the military, however ancient this military may be, comes with a set of advantages that make it a valuable asset for a developing mind in ways that may surprise you.
This might sound counterintuitive, but archery is among the safest sports your kid can engage in. Yes, the sport involves sharp projectiles traveling at high velocity at a target that, if alive, would probably be killed. But that’s exactly why the archery instructor’s first order of business is to communicate to the child the seriousness of what it is they are holding. Strict rules are laid down early on, and if a kid doesn’t follow them – they’re simply not allowed to shoot. This non-negotiability about the rules is what separates archery from other sports, where the injury of a fellow player is penalised, but the offender is still allowed to play, making archery safer than football according to statistics. And for small children, the arrows could have suction tips, removing all risks while retaining the sport’s fundamental mechanics.
All Year Round Sport
Archery doesn’t depend on seasons as much as other common sports do. Strong winds can be a hindrance to a day of shooting, but other than that, thanks to the fact that the range layout is a very simple set-up that, given enough space, can be arranged in your backyard, archery is a sport that can be enjoyed year round. In the winter months, the range is moved inside, allowing the child to practice as much as they want in a comfortable environment.
Arguably the greatest benefit of archery for children is gaining a set of skills that benefit a child’s overall emotional intelligence. First, archery demands discipline. As mentioned before, the rules are strict and breaking them is highly consequential. This forces the kid to be disciplined if they wish to continue, but also rewards them for that discipline with a very clear measure of success. Which dovetails into another important skill – patience. You can’t gain a clear advantage over your opponent by being physically bigger and brute-forcing your way to victory. Archery requires gradual learning of different techniques, learning how to make small adjustments and changes that improve their shot. With basic patience in place, kids begin to learn more challenging emotional skills, such as focus and determination. Additionally, kids learn to fail. There is no teammate or referee to blame for failure. Archery has straightforward objectives and the success and failure is measurable in a way that is hard to dispute. This means that the child can blame external factors for only so long. As the end of the day, they are the only ones holding their bow and arrow, which forces them to take responsibility for their results. These skills extend beyond just archery, and will prove instrumental in every endeavor they will pursue in the future.