Monday, April 29, 2013

Every Kid Needs To Master The Bow & Arrow

Excellent example of how to prop a good shot!
Archery is probably not the best choice possible for very young kids, but middle schoolers generally have a just-right amount of maturity and body strength to master the archery range well. Learning to command the bow & arrow with confidence is a great outdoor activity that every child should learn and for good reason. To be a successful archer requires a good deal of patience and concentration, plus it is an excellent exercise in hand-eye coordination and all of these attributes will have a positive effect upon their time spent back in the classroom. It's also just plain cool knowing how to shoot well.

I had about an hour with each group today at Camp Raven Knob. Archery is not as simple as it looks and only the very attentive kids will get it right upon my first instruction and safety talk. But that's OK because with most of these kids it's their very first encounter with a bow and arrow.

Very proud of his shooting!
To shoot straight and to shoot well takes lot's of practice and even more patience. And of course, a good instructor that can point out mistakes and suggest improvements makes all the difference with easing that sometimes stressful  learning curve.  This is one sport where a child can improve their overall target shooting greatly in a short period of time if the instructor is on his toes.

Out of today's 85 students, there were about 5 who were good (...v-e-r-y good) from the first shot onward. Upon my inquisition,  most of these skilled shooters came from homes where their parents had already introduced them to archery because they were deer hunters. Those kids
Another picture for Mom!
could make these little compound camp bows work in overdrive, hitting the bulls-eye of the target with a resounding 'thud' and most of the time with the kind of power that would certainly take down a deer. They had a good stance, their elbows were always high, and their aim was right-on. They could have starred in the movie 'Hunger Games' and passed without a flinch. They were just plain good and their classmates admired their skill.

Standing beside those good shooters was one little fellow named Connor. He missed the target every time no matter how many pointers that I gave him, no matter how many times that I placed him in good stance. I was the most frustrated but Connor had a great attitude, always smiling, and vocalizing that he was going to hit that target with every next shot. He was one of the smaller kids and his arms just weren't the strongest but he kept at it with a smile. The struggle didn't
Excellent shooting stance!
faze him. During the last shooting rotation Connor managed to hit the red outlining of the bull's-eye and his classmates yelled out with a resounding cheer and clapping. Connor left the archery range feeling great!

Retrieving arrows and safely carrying with two hands.
Today I saw mostly a lot of rookie kids who had never shot a bow in their lives and had trouble learning the basics of skill, stance, and technique.  But I also saw them greatly improve their confidence in shooting as they continued practicing and asking good questions. Most of all they needed someone who could just be aware of their struggle to learn and to help them improve.  They needed someone who could remember their names and cheer for them to everyone when they hit the target. They needed someone to foster their patient accomplishment of a new skill, then to acknowledge it.  Hopefully I was that person for them today. I went home tired so maybe I was.

I'm sure that even Robin Hood himself would have been very proud of today's archery classes  because I sure was. I imagine that they'll have something swell to talk about with their teachers and classmates tomorrow at school and maybe their grades will improve too. After all that's what looking at the BIG picture in life is all about and mastering the skill of shooting a bow can play a big part in that picture.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool, Dave. I bumped into you on Pinterest when I was searching for wool blanket robes. What I find very cool are the things you have chosen to devote your life to. You're like a living archive of lost survival arts. Keep up the great work.


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