The Benefits of Learning Shooting Sports for Kids

Feb 6, 2023

From the time they are old enough to grasp a toy gun that ejects water, foam darts, discs, or ping pong balls, children take noisy and unbridled delight in shooting things. Many parents are understandably cautious about allowing their children to play with projectile implements. But did you know that, under safe conditions at the right age, learning shooting sports can have substantial positive impacts on children’s development?

When they are given high-quality training and are allowed to practice in a secure, supervised environment, shooting sports can teach children valuable life skills like personal discipline, responsibility, and sportsmanship. Many youth development organizations, such as the Scouting America (BSA), recognize this and offer carefully-organized marksmanship activities. If you’re interested in allowing your child to participate in Scout and Cub Scout shooting sports, be sure to consult these guidelines regarding BSA shooting sports

Here are some of the surprising benefits your child can gain from learning archery and modern forms of age-appropriate firearm use.


Archery is an ancient shooting sport that dates back as far as 20,000 B.C., and kids who learn it can take part in one of the oldest war and hunting traditions known to man. Children can more properly appreciate this if they are taught about some of the archery implements used in cultures throughout the world, including among Native Americans and in Scottish Highland Games. 

Age-Appropriate Firearms

Guns are also fascinatingly storied implements, with the first dating back to 10th-century China. Because of their superior capability for destruction, however, experts differ on which kinds of guns are appropriate for use by children. The BSA permits Scouts to use only pellet guns, BB guns, and air rifles, and only with careful safety training under close adult supervision. With the right instruction and safety precautions, using age-appropriate firearms in shooting sports can be healthy for your child. 

In addition to the opportunity to learn about interesting cultural contexts for shooting implements, here’s how your child stands to benefit from practicing archery and firearm sports:

  • Physical exercise. It may not appear so when you’re watching someone else do it, but practicing archery and firearm shooting can burn quite a few calories. These sports strengthen the chest, arms, hands, upper back, core, and even lower body. They also improve balance, since it’s difficult to hit a target when you’re wobbly.
  • Improved focus. Practicing the use of a bow and arrow or firearm helps kids to relax and focus intently on their target. The improved concentration comes not only from aiming, but from working to improve their form and techniques in general. The enhanced patience and ability to hone in on details that children gain can also transfer to other activities, like schoolwork, art, and other sports. Shooting sports can additionally be beneficial for kids with attention disorders like ADD and ADHD.
  • Mental well-being. Participating in shooting sports is great for kids’ mental health for a number of reasons. First, as a form of exercise, it offers stress and anxiety relief and releases feel-good endorphins, along with other benefits. As a learned skill, it boosts childrens’ sense of accomplishment, confidence, and self-esteem. They’ll look forward to showing off their skills to friends and family alike.
  • Glamorous fun. Archery and firearm shooting is a great sport for kids who are difficult to pry away from their screens in the name of exercise or fresh air. That’s because it focuses on building a skill first and foremost—one that many children have often seen represented in popular action and fantasy movies, TV shows, and PC and console games. With proper safety training, however, kids can also learn to separate fact from entertainment industry fiction.

Enjoy Safe Shooting Sports With BSA Laurel Highlands Council

If you live in the western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia, enrolling your child in the Scouting America Laurel Highlands Council is an excellent way for them to become proficient in a variety of shooting sports. This winter, check out fun Scouting events like our Cub Scout Winter Weekends at Heritage Reservation. Here, Scouts can practice shooting using bows and arrows, BB guns, and even giant slingshots!

Scouting’s programs and outdoor adventures give young people the opportunity to try new things, provide service to others, build self-confidence, and develop leadership skills. These experiences not only help Scouts while they are young, but help them grow into exceptional men and women that respect their family, community, religion, country and themselves.

The Scouting America Laurel Highlands Council serves youth members and volunteer adult leaders throughout Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, and parts of West Virginia. We aim to beneficially involve every eligible child and their family in the fun and adventure of our programs. We provide extraordinary youth development programs that develop and strengthen the values of the Scout Oath and Law. However, we can’t do it without you. Give today!


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