21 September 2023
Archery may not be the first activity that springs to mind when parents/guardians and children are contemplating their next holiday, weekend or club activity. Many may not even be aware of archery as a sporting alternative to mainstream sports, like football, rugby and hockey, or see it as belonging to their childhood storybooks in the form of Robin Hood et al.
There is evidence of Stone Age flintstone arrowheads from 20,000 years ago in the UK and older in other parts of the world, such as South Africa. Historically, people used archery for fighting and hunting.
In our modern times, archery is a recreational and competitive sport, first appearing in the Summer Olympic Games in 1900.
Like most sporting activities, there are definite benefits to taking up archery, with recognised skill sets that children (and adults) can learn and apply in everyday life.
Archery is accessible to just about everyone, child or adult, whatever your gender, size, fitness and ability level, as well as being adaptable and inclusive for those people with disabilities to negotiate.
Being a low-impact sport, it is suitable for beginners while still being physically challenging enough for performance athletes.
Say goodbye to entertaining bored children during rainy weekends and school holidays. Bad weather needn’t stop proceedings. Play archery indoors or outdoors, according to the weather!
Despite being a low-impact sport, archery is an excellent exercise with many physical benefits.
Using a bow and arrow correctly needs physical effort and energy, burning calories and toning muscle. It is an excellent exercise for engaging and strengthening core muscles and the upper body, including shoulders, arms and back, and subsequent improvements in body posture and coordination.
For those children who dislike energetic or team sports, archery may be their thing!
Evidence shows that archery positively affects a person’s mental well-being, so why not start them on the path to better mental health from an early age?
The high levels of focus and concentration needed to aim at and hit a target are excellent training for the brain in letting go of distractions and remaining in the present moment - skills that will help a child manage anxiety and stress as they move into adulthood.
Furthermore, within a club environment, children will socialise with others with similar interests and inevitably grow in confidence and self-esteem.
The place of archery in historical warfare and hunting is well-known, and a bow and arrow in uneducated hands can become dangerous.
Essential training in archery includes the responsible use and safe storage of equipment and the care and consideration of fellow students and competitors.
Becoming a caring and responsible citizen is essential learning for any child to take into adulthood.
Archery doesn’t have to cost the earth. Most clubs will have archery equipment and kits to ‘try before you buy,’ and hiring what you need from specialist stores is possible.
Once your child has decided that archery is for them, the biggest expense will be an initial investment in a good bow and essential safety equipment that is reusable.
Ongoing costs may include club membership and competition fees.