Evidence suggests that extracurricular activities at school provide a safe environment for adolescent growth while preventing students from starting bad habits like smoking and drinking. Even so, participation isn’t universal. A December 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that only 57 percent of youths 6 to 17 participate in an after-school activity. If you’re looking for a safe, fun activity for your child with lots of extra benefits, archery is the way to go.
One of the Safest Sports
Safety first! According to the Archery Trade Association, archery is safer than every school-offered ball sport, except bowling and table tennis. Check out these additional safety tips and rules.
Year-Round, Indoors and Out – for Everyone
Archery is available in indoor and outdoor settings, and it appeals to many audiences, come rain, snow or sunshine. There are many different styles of archery, including target archery (as seen at the Olympic and Paralympic Games), field archery – which is enjoyed on a wooded course outdoors – and 3D archery, for shooting foam animal targets. Archery moves indoors for the winter months, and outside in spring, summer and fall. It’s also adaptable for those with disabilities, known as para-archers. Para-archers shoot from a stool or wheelchair. Some even use their teeth or feet to draw their bow.
The 2014 NASP (National Archery in the School Program) National Championship gave out $77,000 in scholarships to nearly 11,000 student-archers. NASP isn’t the only organization offeringscholarships; the National Field Archery Association, together with the Easton Foundations, also awards scholarship money. Whether students earn cash or college scholarships at tournaments, archery can help meet their long-term goals.
Rules outside of the classroom can improve behavior inside the classroom. Anthony Park, archery coordinator at Cullman Parks and Recreation in Alabama, told the Archery Trade Association: “Once kids realize they can only shoot if they follow the rules, they get it. I’ve seen kids with the worst behavioral problems straighten up because they know if they follow the rules, they can shoot. It’s like magic.”
Life – and Classroom – Skills
Practicing and competing with a team and/or coach teaches students respect, sportsmanship and teamwork. Archers must respect the sport’s rules, as well as each other and range/tournament organizers. Whether solo or as a team, archers interact while honing their goals and determination.
Additionally, Mike Duncan and Raeann Melvin, who teach physical education at Nolanville Elementary School in Nolanville, Texas, use archery to teach third- through fifth-graders how to determine area and perimeter in geometry.
Olympic archer Brady Ellison draws over 4 tons of weight in the course of an Olympic event. How is that possible? Science.
Focus and Self-Discipline
The very heart of archery is learning a step-by-step method for drawing a bow and shooting an arrow. Even the youngest archers quickly learn that by slowing down and focusing on one step at a time, they are more successful at putting arrows in the middle of the target.
When archers make mistakes, they are taught that the solution is to analyze their steps and focus on improving one thing at a time. This is a great recipe for success on the archery field, in the classroom, and in life.
Improved Physical Health
During outdoor tournaments, archers absorb all-natural Vitamin D from the sun for bone health. Regardless of the setting, archery builds core, chest, back and shoulder muscles. Case in point: drawing 40 arrows at 25 pounds each equals 1,000 pounds of weight.
Did you know: Archers walk as much as 5 miles through the course of one tournament? All that walking improves heart health, muscle tone and leg strength.
Better Balance and Coordination
Drawing a bow strengthens core muscles, which improves archers’ balance and stability. In turn, balance and stability improve posture, hand-eye coordination, and the chances of hitting the target.
Teaches Goal Setting
Archery provides a great goal-setting environment. Archers can adapt their goals as they improve by increasing distances and focusing on smaller target rings. Whether students are first-timers or Olympic-hopefuls like Emily Bee, archery fits their growing needs.
Builds Confidence and Self-Awareness
Whether your “target” is improving your health, physique, sociability or focus, archery can help you hit the bull’s-eye and be a more confident you, in and out of the classroom.
Adapted From: Archery 360 – 10 Reasons to Teach your Kids Archery