25 Jan How Competitive Shooting Is Good For Kids
There’s little denying that a bit of friendly competition can do wonders for a child’s development. It afford the opportunity to forge friendships, engage in problem solving, and develop skills they can put to the test against others in their age group. With this in mind, though, some still might question whether or not competitive shooting falls under the same positive umbrella as other sporting activities. We’re here to inform you that, competitive shooting can most definitely help youngsters build important skills, and there are plenty of outlets to turn to if you want to start your kids down the path of sport shooting.
The Benefits Of Competitive Shooting
Believe it or not, this topic of whether or not kids have anything to gain by participating in competitive shooting is one that’s been covered before. Becky Yackley over on the Winchester Blog delved into the issue back in 2018, highlighting the fact that there’s quite a bit that competitive shooting can teach the youth, both physically and mentally.
On the physical side, you’ve got aspects like balance, breath control, and all of the subtle bits of body control that go into being able to hit the mark. For competitive events that involve timed shooting, there’s an additional element of being able to do it all quickly that comes into play, further increasing the physicality of shooting.
As a mental discipline, being able to shoot straight during competition involves developing a very specific type of clarity. One must remain relaxed, have a psychological drive to succeed, and use techniques like visualization to help maintain concentration on their ultimate goals.
All the while, competitive shooting is a great way for kids to develop interpersonal skills, meeting friends and mentors who can help guide and shape their journey in the world of competitive shooting. It all starts with finding an outlet for that competition, though, which is what we’re going to be covering next. If your kids are interested in competitive shooting but you don’t quite know where to get started, the following resources can provide you with plenty to ponder.
Where Youngsters Can Learn More About Shooting
As with many things firearms-related, the NRA has plenty in the way of things to explore. As far as competitive shooting is concerned, the NRA “sanctions over 11,000 shooting tournaments and sponsors over 50 national championships each year,” and they’ve got events catered to just about every age group and skill level you could imagine. You’ve likely heard of their collegiate shooting program, which provides those at colleges and universities within the United States an opportunity to get involved in the world of sport shooting, and they’ve even got ambassador programs to help get younger kids in on the action as well.
The NRA isn’t the only organization that provides outlets for youth competitive shooting, however. You might also want to check out USA Shooting’s youth programs, which offer “junior shooters” and introduction to Olympic-style shooting sports. They have several age brackets for membership, for children 14-or-younger and ranging up to twenty years old. Alongside USA Shooting’s youth intro to shooting sports, there’s also 4-H, which offers its own programs introducing youth to the world of shooting through their local chapters:
“The focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. The National 4-H Shooting Sports Program stands out as an example. Youth learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more.”
What’s more, the 4-H programs put an emphasis on healthy competition, through their National Championships, which are held on a yearly basis. And there are even more resources to turn to if you want to get your youth involved in competitive shooting, like USA Youth Education In Shooting Sports, whose organization helps “develop, grow, and support state affiliate organizations” such as shooting sports leagues. It’s here that you can learn even more about the state organizations you can become a part of that will help your children grow both their shooting skills and their competitive spirit in equal measure.
The list of resources and organizations goes on, of course, and in addition to the aforementioned groups, you should also check out some of the following ones when you have the opportunity:
- ACUI Collegiate Clay Target Championships
- Academics, Integrity, Marksmanship
- National Shooting Sports Program
- Scholastic Clay Target Program
- Scholastic Pistol Program
And don’t forget, there’s always more you can learn down at your local shooting range. Even if your child is too young to head to the range to do some shooting themselves, it’s still a great place to meet up with like-minded enthusiasts who can point you in the direction of even more resources to devour on the topic of youth competitive shooting. The more you learn, the more options you’ll have to choose from when deciding what’s right for your kid, and in giving them the proper introduction to shooting as a worthwhile sport.