Passing the Love of Archery to Others
By Samantha Lance
My favorite outdoor activity is archery; whether it’s hunting, bowfishing, or just refining my shooting skills. What I love even more than that is teaching archery to the local youth. It warms my soul to know I’m sharing one of my passions to others, and to know they are hopefully moving forward with the same respect and appreciation for the sport that I possess. Laying the proper foundation in the beginning makes for strong, confident shooters in the future.
Equipment is at the top of the list with archery. What are they shooting? There are lots of options that are cost-effective and great for beginners. We normally start with Genesis bows for youth archery. They have a solo cam with adjustable limbs that top out at around 20 pounds draw weight, and are flexible with draw length. Depending on the size of your young shooter, you have multiple options with the Genesis bows: Mini, Original, and Pro. They all work well, and are great for beginners. Teach them the components of the bow, the arrow, and what each part’s role is when shooting.
Safety is the next key component when teaching young shooters, or shooters in general. We teach this to students before we teach anything else on day 1 of the class. Situations can go from outstanding to out-of-control and catastrophic is seconds. After all, people are shooting a projectile around others which presents the potential for injury. When bringing the arrow out of a quiver or container, it must always be facing forward down range. Bring awareness to what is in front of them, so that there are no incidents should a stray arrow fly beyond the target. Normally, teaching archery is done on a one-on-one basis, either with a friend or your own child. In some cases, multiple people are involved and learning at the same time. Establish safety lines and where people should be standing when not actively shooting. We also teach our students to never shoot at a person or anything that resemble a human form. Shooting at 3-D targets is perfectly fine, as long as they don’t resemble people. A standard block target or 3-D target is what is normally used.
What you’re teaching is more than just the skill of archery. Anyone can shoot, but to shoot well and with common sense is the driving point. You’re teaching respect for the sport; so when they do go hunting, they have the confidence and ratification to make an ethical harvest.