Youth archery participants generally follow the same rules as that of adult participants, unless house rules govern a particular tournament or competition. The major difference between youth and adult competition is the distance of the target in question. But outside of the target distance specified in competition, archery rules are the same, regardless of your age.
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Archery’s basic safety rules are the same for children and adults. All archers must know not to aim a bow at anything they don’t want to shoot and that the bow must not be loaded until they are cleared for shooting. Some elements of the rules, however, are a bit more stringent for children. When shooting, a child must always be accompanied by a supervisor or teacher; once achild is finished shooting, he or she must step back from the shooting line until the teacher gives the signal to retrieve the arrows. And if the child chooses to ignore or neglect the rules, he or she will be asked to leave the shooting range.
Archery competition is open to children of all ages, and different organizations have different rules regarding children’s age brackets. The National Field Archery Association, for example, defines the Cub division as children younger than 12, the Youth division as ages 12 to 14 and the Young Adult division as 15 to 17. The International Archery Federation, on the other hand, defines Cadet shooters as 17 and younger, and Junior shooters as 17 to 20. Be sure to check specific age guidelines prior to entering your child in a specific competition.
Depending on the competition, the distance of the target will not be as far away as in adult competition. The guidelines for the National Field Archery Association show that for some rounds, their Youth division shoots at the same distance as the adults, but that the maximum distance for the Youth division is 50 yards, while the maximum distance for adults is 80 yards. The Cub division has even shorter distances, maxing out at a 30-yard range.