Archery requires a great deal of focus, patience, persistence and strength. Learning how to draw a bow and release an arrow also requires a quality youth archery set.
When choosing a youth archery set, you must decide if this will be a toy for playing or a real bow and arrow for serious training. For serious training, our top choice is the competition-ready Genesis Youth Compound Bow Kit.
Archery training can improve a youth's focus, hand-eye coordination and upper body strength. Additionally, it teaches a student patience, control and persistence while building confidence and reducing stress.
If your child just wants to play, a toy archery set may be all you need. These archery sets will feature arrows with foam or rubber tips that lack accuracy. However, if your child is serious about archery, you will want a set with quality equipment that will allow your child to train.
There are three different types of bows: longbow, recurve bow and compound bow.
Longbow: This bow is long and slightly curved. It is the hardest to handle and is not recommended for young archers.
Recurve bow: This is a smaller bow that is much easier to handle than the longbow. It features three curves: one in the middle that curves towards the archer and one on each end that curves away from the archer. The recurve is the best bow for a youth archery set, but does require more strength to operate than a compound bow.
Compound bow: This type of bow is immediately recognizable by its system of pulleys. It is an excellent bow to choose for the serious young archer because it is the easiest to operate. However, it is also the most expensive, and some competitions may only allow recurve bows.
The draw weight is how much force it takes to pull the bowstring back. In general, a youth who weighs less than 100 pounds should have a bow with a maximum draw weight of 15 pounds. A youth who weighs 100-150 pounds should have a bow with a draw weight between 15-20 pounds.
The draw length is how far you need to pull the bowstring back before releasing it. The formula for determining draw length is height in inches divided by 2.5. For example, a five-foot-tall youth would need a bow with a 24-inch draw length.
The best youth archery sets will have quality arrows with durable fletching, also called feathers, so the arrow flies straight and true.
Besides the bow and arrows, a youth archery set may include a quiver to hold the arrows, targets and safety gear. For more information on safety gear, see the FAQ section below.
You can find youth archery sets that are either designated as toys or entry-level recurve bow sets in the $20-$40 price range. For the serious archer, high-quality sets capable of being used in competitions cost $100-$200.
A. If the archery set is a toy, follow the age restrictions on the packaging. If it is not a toy, the USA Archery organization recommends starting at 8 years old.
A. Yes. At the very least, your child should use an arm guard, which protects the inside of the arm from injury after releasing the string. Additionally, eye protection is required, as are finger gloves to protect the archer's fingers.
A. A dry fire is when you draw and release a bow without an arrow. This is extremely dangerous and should never be done. Not only can a dry fire damage your bow, but it can do so with such force that the splintered parts may cause severe injury to the archer.
What you need to know: This is a top-quality compound bow that you can use in competitions.
What you'll love: The bow comes with a color-coordinated belt loop quiver, an adjustable arm guard, five aluminum arrows and two target faces. The bow has an adjustable draw weight that ranges from 10-20 pounds.
What you should consider: This is the highest-priced offering on or shortlist, and it’s best suited for the serious student.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: A fun yet functioning toy that is best for a kid who is more interested in playing.
What you'll love: This set comes with two handmade wooden bows, two quivers and 20 arrows. The bamboo arrows have rubber tips for safety but should never be aimed at people or animals.
What you should consider: The arrows in this set do not have fletching, so accuracy can be challenging to perfect.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
What you need to know: If you want to impress your friends by shooting arrows the longest distance, this is the set you want.
What you'll love: This kit comes with a bow and three arrows. The arrows clip right onto the bow, so they are always within reach. The bow features an arrow rest to help with aiming.
What you should consider: Even though the arrows have a foam tip, they release with a great deal of force. A great deal of care is needed when using this set.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.