How This Sport Builds Confidence and Focus in Kids

How This Sport Builds Confidence and Focus in Kids

Archery Can Provide Numerous Benefits to Kids

Kids realize these benefits because they often find success in archery fairly quickly, said Tommy Floyd, president of the National Archery in the Schools Program. 

The former school principal recently was a guest on our Ultimate Sports Parent podcast.

The program helps students achieve success by teaching them a number of mental  game skills–including focus and visualization.

“The students who are really, really consistent have the mental game figured out,” he said. “They shut out distractions. They focus on the mental process of carrying out the shot before they ever execute the shot in reality.”

Coaches begin by teaching kids an 11-step process for shooting an arrow, starting with where to place their feet. The aim is for this process to become automatic. Once they learn the 11 steps, they practice them in their heads before shooting or competing.

“A lot of the kids that do really well actually execute the shot sequence in their head before they physically execute the shot sequence,”  Floyd said. One successful young archer shoots entire tournaments in his head before he gets off the bus.

In addition, the archery program teaches kids to focus on the moment to block out distractions. Students who do well in archery have the ability to weed out distractions around them and focus on the process.

“These kids are probably more comfortable accepting themselves at the end of the competition, wherever it is, and know that they gave it their best,” said Floyd.

The National Archery in the Schools Program also teaches kids the importance of moving on after making mistakes.

“If you shoot an arrow and it doesn’t go where you want, you can’t get that arrow back. So the best thing you can do is focus on the next one you’re going to shoot,” said Floyd.

This strategy echoes the strategy of the Positive Coaching Alliance, which teaches parents to make a flushing motion to tell them to let go of mistakes and move on.

In the archery program, the kids also help each other out. Receiving and giving help is a confidence booster, said Floyd.

Perhaps best of all, many of the archers gain confidence by overcoming fears about archery–and doing that fairly quickly.

“I think archery is something that you can build on almost from the basic beginnings to get that confidence,” Floyd said.

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