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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posted this on another sight - which is the reason for some of the verbiage but, I thought you guys might be interested.

Yes I paid attention in Rod's class :)

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I've taught all three of my kids to shoot and done an OK job of it. They have good solid repeatable form and hit what they are aiming at more often than not. Most importantly they enjoy the heck out of archery.

I started all three kids on very light bows, carbon arrows, a tab, and an arm guard.

1) Bow doesn't make much difference as long as it is light both in draw weight and physical weight - Leo is using a Samick longbow right now and it works well.

2) Carbon arrows while a little more expensive right off the bat will pay for them selves over time with durability. With three kids shooting I have done the math LOL - best bang for the buck is the Super Club arrow from LAS and you can get them in spines light enough for 5-10 lb bows. The lighter carbon arrows also give the kids a quicker cast to the arrow making it easier for them to hit what they are aiming at. I leave them full length to aid in gapping (yes my kids aim)

3)Tab it's important that it fits - a tab doesn't need to be any longer than the first joint of your fingers. If it's too long it makes it hard to anchor and will smack their face (that goes for you big guys as well)



4)Arm guards - I've found that the ones with magnetic closures work better for the little guys to put on.

Archery isn't rocket science but, it is a technique intensive sport with many variations out there. All these variations share some basic core elements of form. When you are teaching a beginner any beginner you need to instill these core elements, with as few distractions as possible, before moving on to more esoteric sub-genres. Think of it this way if you are teaching a kid to drive do you take them out to the freeway and say "here you go" or do you take them to a deserted parking lot and teach them the basics in an uncluttered safe place - gradually building up too the more difficult stuff??

Beginners need a very simple repeatable way to shoot so that if and when they miss they have some way to self analyze and start hitting what they aim at again. Kids need to have some success or they will quit shooting.

The very basic elements of an archery shot consist of 5 simple things.

1) Stance
2) Gripping the bow
3) Hooking the string
4) Anchor
5) Alignment

There are going to be those among us that just love to argue they are going to say "what about the horse archers? They don't have a stance" "what about the guy who jumps around shooting crap out of the air? He doesn't have and anchor" To this I say who cares they are 1 in a million archers - lets try and be realistic about teaching beginners to hit a target. They are beginners start at THE BEGINNING.

1) Stance - stand the kid perpendicular to the target and fairly close. Have them lift their bow arm straight up and it should naturally be pointed at that they want to hit - they shouldn't need to rotate their torso to point - if they have to rotate shift their feet so they don't need to. No bending of the knees, no hunching over just a nice relaxed natural REPEATABLE stance. If they want to try something else down the road fine. But for now teach them the stance that puts them naturally inline with the target. Into stance I will throw bow position - I don't teach my kids to cant their bow. Down the road they can but for the beginning I want a vertical bow - remember CONSISTENT and REPEATABLE. A up right stance and a vertical bow has also proven to be the most accurate for the most archers.



2) Grip - all I really care is that the weight of the bow is on the base of the thumb not the middle of the hand. This should happen naturally if they start hitting their bow arm a bunch check and see if their grip is over rotated. I also watch for white knuckles as the grip should be fairly light. Not much to get hung up on here - just grab the bow.



3) Hooking the string - I teach all my kids to have a deep hook - it has proven to be the cleanest release for the most archers over the years so why fight the odds.



4) ANCHOR - beginners need to anchor and they need to have a consistent repeatable anchor. Think about this in terms of a rifle - the anchor is your back site if your anchor isn't consistent your trying to aim a rifle with different site settings every time (however you choose to aim) you are also not hitting the same draw length every time if you aren't anchoring which is like shooting the same rifle with different powered cartridges each time - I teach my kids a high cheek bone anchor which closes the gaps and makes it easier to aim with the arrow. It doesn't really matter where they anchor but it has to be repeatable. Hitting and holding anchor is critical and the main reason for starting archers with light bows. A solid anchor has proven to be the most accurate for the largest number of archers.



5) Alignment - I think this is the most critical thing we teach a beginner alignment holds true to all forms of archery - horse archery, moving targets, snap shooting everything - if you aren't aligned you aren't going to hit what you aim at in any of the different archery disciplines. All I check with my kids is whether their elbow is back and inline with their bow hand or not. A great tool to check this is a straight rod or arrow laid across their back. If they aren't aligned with the target the rod will point off to one side or the other - it also gives great visual feed back for the kid - as they bring their elbow around and come into alignment they can see the rod swing over and point at what they want to hit.



No bone on bone alignment doesn't exist and I don't talk about it with my kids but, you want to get as close as you can.

Notice I said nothing about back tension - do you really want to talk back tension with a 6 year old?? If they have their elbow back and aren't creeping they have back tension.

I also didn't talk about release - if they are aligned and using a deep hook they are going to get a fairly good release. Don't talk about it and it will just happen

When one of my kids miss I ask them three things 1)did you aim? 2)did you anchor? 3)was your elbow back almost always the answer to one of the 3 is no.

Personally I believe in a hard aiming system and set my kids up so they can aim with their arrow tip. I'll set the bow up for each kid to get a point on at the max distance they will be shooting at - they all know their point on and know if they are closer aim lower if they are further aim higher. Or in Leo's (who likes to shoot from the adult stakes - MUCH HIGHER

No there isn't any one way that you HAVE to shoot a bow but, yes there is one way to most effectively teach the basics of archery. This has been proven over 100s of years with millions of archers. When my kids said they wanted to learn to shoot a bow I took the different elements of the shot and taught them what works the most accurately for the majority of the archers. I know in this day and age we all like to think our kid is the 1 in a million but, fact is averages play out and you might as well teach them the basics based on what works best for the largest number of archers. If your kid wanted to be a baseball pitcher would you encourage them to pitch side arm??
 

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Well done Matt. Simple, workable and understandable.
 

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When I taught my son, he didn't need much teaching. His form was impressive, and I attribute that to a bow weight that fit him. Many adults get bad form from being over bowed. Your body will naturally find the easiest position to hold a comfortable weight. I didn't teach any back tension or release either, just let him shoot. I didn't teach any aiming technique, and although he got decent just looking, I lost him to a compound with sights, cause he was rewarded instantly with consistent success. So I agree with your method, wish I had seen this a few years ago. :D At hunters safety they had some genesis bows without sights and he shot them. The instructor noticed he was hitting low and left. He asked are you looking at the bullseye? Well picture a clock and I want you to try to hit the 1. Bam he was hitting bullseyes. He got interest back in archery, it was cool. He went to 5th grade camp and outshot all his buddy's. His one friend asked him how he was so good, he said its the 1 o'clock secret. :lol: I think now is a good time to get the longbow back out and teach him to gap.
Thanks Matt.
 

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Yep, it really is that easy.

-Grant
 

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Your right on there, very nice post. You pretty much followed The NASP program, but I think more details.

I just got back from my son science camp were I helped the archery coach 200 kids over three days we instructed the NASP Program.

Anyways, it was as eye opener. Some of the kids, well most, I had to hold there elbow so they could get the feeling as to were I instructed them to hold. After about three shots they were good to go. Well some of them.

Also, if the shooter was not expanding I hold their elbow once they draw and push the bow shoulder in to align. (like you said about the rod along their back). After about two six arrow rounds I could see the smile on their face after they nailed the gold. Before the end of the hour session they were having a competition on hitting each other's balloons. Man, I had to blow up a lot of balloons. Lol. By the way my son had no problem, first shot left, the rest in the middle, well he has had a bow in his hand since 3or4.

Look up NASP if your interested it's being instructed in the schools. Here a link.
http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/i_e/archer...riculum6-8.pdf
once again Matt thanks for sharing.
Dan
 

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Dan

I've got an e-mail into our State NASP coordinator and will hopefully have a program started at the kids school next year.

Matt
That's great. Remember it's federally funded.
I think your kid is allowed to use a "string bow" if they compete.
Mine took his bow to camp, but didn't use it. To much in a hurry going from one event to the other, left it in the cabin. He used Their Genisis and shot great without any instruction. Kind of proud. As I know you are.

Ps. I was going to post This on AT, But you know the story.
Dan
 

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Kenn, as I said above about camp/hunter course. When the kids asked about aiming. I told them to hold up there bow hand and point their finger at the target. Then replace their finger with the arrow tip.

The only sad thing was three fingers under. Instructor stuck with the boyscot salute the whole time. Some kids wanted to use one over and two under. So during the break I experiment and yes the bow were tuned for three. Instructor was even upset that I adjusted the weight for weaker kids. At that point I did care! She was so concern that I didn't mess with the bows. I finally told her I have been doing this longer than she had been a teacher. After the first Day she was letting me run the program when she needed to take a important call from school. I went with Matt's version. KISS.
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is awesome Matt. I hope when I have kids I can give them the same start you've given yours.

Quick question though, what happens if this doesn't fit their G.A.P profile??
I beat them and make them shoot - know now how it is with me being a form Nazi and all
 

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Nice post Matt ... ought to be a sticky
 

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I beat them and make them shoot - know now how it is with me being a form Nazi and all
Tell the other parents all the time. Spank them when they leave the house and spank them when they get back.

Why!

For what their going to do and for what they did. JUST KIDDING!

Best kids ever! Pretty good with a bow too.

Dan
 

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Great info but you forgot to add the G.A.P profile or was it CRAP profile, well it sounds a load of crap when described :sbrug:

It's pretty simple and you nailed it in your post, you make it too complicated at the start and people will just lose interest (specially kids). Start easy and simple while keeping it fun and they learn the complicated stuff later with enthusiasm.:cheers:
 

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Good looking hound you run *****??

Matt
Matt:
She RAN *****.
She recently turned 14 years and old age/arthritis have caught up with her.
She is truly tough as a boot but sitting the back porch and walks with me along my 3D course in the woods is the extent of her "hunting" now. Every time a bow is strung in our house she is barking at the back door.
 
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