Tips on how to teach kids proper form?
I'm trying to help one of my friends teach his son how to shoot a bow. His form is a little off and he can't seem to quite get it. What are some good ways to get him to do this? I thought about suggesting a kisser button just so he has the same anchor point every time? Anyone have some suggestions?
A kisser button can be a good start. But what I have found in the past it is practice, practice, practice. But, make sure you or the father of this boy are helping him with repetition. Ensuring he is pulling back to the same point. If he is not using a kisser button to help with an anchor point, is he using a knuckle against a cheekbone or thumb to a spot on the face, etc. Whatever it is make sure he does it the same each and every time. Then make sure he is holding the bow the same way, and his release (if he is using one) is fastened the same way and he. Look at things like that and then everytime he shoots watch his form and help critique him and before he shoots give his form a good look over and go through a mental checklist (but announce it to him what you are checking and if it is good or not). That way he learns what you are looking for and after a few dozen times or maybe hundred times he will start to do all this on his own.
Also, try to have him "blank" shoot to get the form down. Don't have him aiming at a specific target at 20 yds or 10 yds or whatever distance you choose. Instead, if you can get something large to shoot at (around me I can get to a farmer's house with round hay bales) and then let the person shoot into that. At this point you don't care where he the arrow is hitting at, but rather you are trying to develop form and muscle memory. This way the boy will be focusing on form and shooting rather then aiming.
I have found with young kids it takes them a bit to understand things such as form. Just like trying to teach a kid to bat or throw a ball properly. If you can break it into small steps or pieces I find they learn it quicker.
Some good info.
Originally Posted by Work2hunt
I used to teach kids at my local club for several years.
Know a few things. Kids hate advice from their parents. Have another parent tell your child and they will take it to heart.
Start simple. Does the bow fit the child? Is he over bowed, weight wise? (watch for him "skying" the bow to come to full draw. BAD. He should be able to pull back with bow arm horizontally extended) Look at the draw length? Many times they are set too long. If they are shooting a Genesis, see if you can install a set of draw stops. Preach foot work. Feet should be ~ shoulder width apart and toes should line up with target face. (Lay arrow on the ground at tip of his toes, arrow should be pointing at target.) They should be relaxed prior to drawing back the bow and through aiming routine). WATCH HIS BOW HAND. A riser should be lightly held, not gripped like he is trying to choke a duck! (Gripping riser can cause left/right issues or forearm slap. OUCH)
You will likely need to nibble at these topics. The shot process is a checklist every time you pull an arrow out of the quiver.
Pull arrow from quiver and nock.
Address target (Acquire aiming point)
Draw back and settle on checkpoint/checkpoints (Kisser to nose, thumb settled into jaw bone (If shooting release) etc)
Focus on aiming point and begin shot sequence.
Follow through after the shot. (Bow arm stays extended and toward target, release hand naturally comes straight back etc) No peeking or violent explosions of body position after shot.
Repeat. And practice repeating.
When they are tired or they start going backward, stop them. (Difficult to do) More is not necessarily better. They need to repeat and reinforce good shooting sequences, not repeat and imprint on bad sequences.
Now I need to heed my own advice! Good luck!
Just out of curiosity how old is your friends son? I think that there is some great advice in this post already. The only thing I would caution is that if the little guy is is lets say less than 9 or 10, I wouldn't worry nearly as much about technique, as I would about being safe and just having some good old fun. I know my son is 7 and he hates to shoot his bow when I am constantly pointing out what he is doing wrong, or even when friends of mine point things out to him, however he loves to just shoot and have fun. So right now I just find myself letting him have a good time, ensuring that he is being safe, and whooping and hollering when he hits the Glendale buck at 20 yards. Now my 10 year old daughter I find critiquing a lot more, and she appreciates the help because she is all about making a great shot every time. Just some of my experiences with my own brood.
Practice, practice, practice. He'll eventually get it and want to hit what he's shooting at everything he lets one fly. Most common thing I see in kids is their need to strangle the bow with their grip and drop the bow to pick up the arrow in flight. A lot can be corrected by showing them the bow isn't going to jump out of their hand and to watch the arrow through the sights....when they hit the target they can then drop the bow and do a touchdown celebration dance just to keep it fun.