March 20, 2020

What is the Best Age to Start Archery? Is It Dangerous Young

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When you are thinking about bringing your son or daughter in to start learning how to shoot a bow and arrow knowing when is the right time can be difficult to judge. Thankfully we have taken some time out to assemble all the information you will need to make the decision of when you can start teaching them the sport of archery.

What is the best age to start archery? Typical ages to start archery as a hobby would be around 16 years of age as at this age you have the solid physical strength to both hold the bow and draw without losing control of either. Many parents will start their kids on smaller bows at as early as 8 years old, though this is more for introduction than lessons.

Now we can drill into some more specific questions around getting your kid going in archery including additional information on when you can start but also including how you size the bow correct and understand the right way to get the draw length and draw weight giving you and them a perfect archery experience.

What Age Can a Child Start Archery?

There are bow options for kids of all ages, but I would suggest that if your child is younger than 8 you should hold off. This is because they lack the overall strength to both hold the bow and draw the string back reliably.

If you want to get your child involved in a program, USA Archery recommends starting at the age of 8. They believe by the time a child is 8, they usually have enough strength to safely handle a beginner's bow

You can start sooner than 8 if you are open to them using a toy version with arrows that feature suction cups. These can help teach them the skills that will be more valuable when they reach an age where a regular bow and arrow become a viable option.

Consider Safety Concerns for Youth

When you involve youth in a sport that has big sticks with pointy tips you may worry about them staying safe. This may depend heavily on how much discipline they have and their ability to listen.

If your child is able to function while listening to their instructor then you will have no issues with finding someone who will teach them. Instructors and teachers love to see growth and the gears turning in kids and they want to mold them.

As with any sport or hobby, you will have an initial learning curve where you will need patience along with time to figure out how you fit in and what you can excel at.

How Old Do You Have to be to Use a Bow and Arrow?

From research, online this age looks to be between 7 to 8 when strength allows for quality bow use. This is when you can start learning how to hold, aim, and fire your bow.

A dark haired boy holds his bow out towards the target as he practices archery on a sunny day - What is the Best Age to Start Archery
Kid practicing shots with a bow

If you want to find classes to help further your hobby of archery then these will typically start at around 16 years of age or older. This is when more classes and options in school will become available for them to be able to participate in.

How To Determine Eye Dominance

To know which hand you will need to figure out which eye is dominant and then use that information to choose a left or right handed bow. The most easy way to figure this out is to have someone stand and face a wall with a dot or image on it, something they can focus on.

Then you will want them to point at the image or dot and then cover their left or right eye, you want them to continue pointing at the object as this eye is covered. If they are able to continue pointing without issue then the eye they aren't covering is the dominant eye. If when the eye is covered they adjust their pointing then you have found the weak eye.

Once you know this fact you will know which bow you need, either a left or right hand will be decided. When you are left eye dominant then you want a left hand bow, if right eye dominant you want a right hand bow.

How Do You Know What Size Bow You Need?

Choosing the right size for your bow is something many of us don't know prior to purchasing our first bow and getting assistance from a archery store or club. This method I have found to be very easy and helpful in getting the correct approximate size to your bow.

Measure Your Draw Length

You may want to get someone to help, you are going to measure your wingspan, you want a measuring tape which can run from the tip of you middle finger to the other tip of your middle finger.

Then once you have this number you will want to divide it by 2.5 to get your draw length, once you have your draw length you can use the chart below to find the approximate bow size that is a fit for you.

If this is too crazy for you to do you can use this simple online calculator which will use your wingspan and just give you the correct measurement.

Draw Length to Bow Size

DRAW LENGTHBOW LENGTH (SIZE)
14-16 inches 48 inches
17-20 inches 54 inches
20-22 inches 58 inches
22-24 inches 62 inches
24-26 inches 64-66 inches
26-28 inches 66-68 inches
28-30 inches 68-70 inches
31 inches or longer 70-72 inches

What Draw Weight Should I Use?

Each traditional bow will have a specific draw weight that will be listed on it, this is the ideal draw weight based on a full draw length. Depending on your overall strength and skill this draw weight could be 30 lbs comfortably to upwards of 70 lbs.

On compound bows this weight can typically be adjusted over a large range, typically around 50 lbs, which means you could adjust a compound bow from 20 lbs to 70 lbs depending on the archer using it. You just need to keep in mind that all archers are different and that adjustments aren't a bad thing.

What is Draw Weight?

Draw weight at its most basic is the required amount of force to draw the bow string to a predetermined point where it reaches it’s designed draw weight in pounds.

The traditional bow is almost always measured to a draw length of 28″ which means if the bow is listed as a 50lb draw you are at that draw weight of 50lbs only when the string is drawn the full draw length of 28". Should you draw less than this or more it will impact the bow accuracy and speed.

Why is Draw Weight Important?

The core to draw weight is that using the correct draw weight for you greatly enhances your ability to have correct form and technique that allows you to pull off high quality perfect shots each time.

To effectively and correctly measure bow draw weight you’ll need a bow draw weight scale. These scales can come in both digital and manual style scales.

Final Thoughts

Now that we have covered this in-depth I hope you feel like you are ready to look at introducing your child to archery, that is always my goal to get more people into the sport to compete and play.

I would love to hear from people through our contact page if you were able to apply this information to get your kid set up for archery, also if I am missing anything that you found as necessary I would love to hear so that I can make the needed updates!

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Article written by Josh Koop
I have loved to play outdoor games since I was a little kid, as I grew up I found more games and I also found out about alternate rules. I started Outdoor Diversions with Matt to help get this information out to everyone so they can enjoy these games as much as I do!