Why the change you may ask?
#1. Lack of attention span. This is more common with teenagers, 13 to 15, in my opinion. Often teenagers in this age group just want to try archery and once they've tried it they either love it or they begin to lose interest. If they lose interest their attention span goes out the window and it is a bit like teaching someone who isn't even listening. "Failure to listen" has basically become a pet peeve of mine when teaching teenagers who just don't want to listen.
#2. Lack of emotional maturity. I find this is more of a problem for kids ages 10 to 13 and I have to be extra watchful of what they are doing to make sure they don't do something unsafe. I have the same concern for kids under the age of 10 too, which is why I previously set the standard of minimum age 10.
#3. Youthful Stubbornness. I wish there was a better way to describe this. I have on occasion encountered teenagers who not only refuse to listen, but just outright ignore the instructor and do what they think is right - and is ultimately wrong judging by their arrows flying right over the top of the target and have to coax them to shoot and aim properly, however no amount of coaxing will work if they are so stubborn that all my efforts are basically an exercise in futility. I encountered one such student in 2014 that was so stubborn I became suspicious that they might have a learning disability that caused them to refuse to listen to instructions. To this day I am unsure which it was as they seemed intelligent, but were so stubbornly opposed to listening / following instructions.
#4. Parents lying about their kid's age. Because I had previously set the standard minimum age of 10 I am pretty sure some parents were lying about their kids age so they could get their 8 or 9 year old archery lessons. Parents claiming that their kid is "small for their age" for example makes me worried they are just plain lying to me, and the behaviour of their kids often reveal their true maturity.
#5. I am not a babysitter. Parents have sometimes been known to sign their kids up for archery lessons and then disappear during the 90 minutes I am teaching, ignoring my request that they stay present at all times during the lesson. I require parents to stay present in case the kid has any health issues (allergic reactions, asthma, etc) and also so that their kid behaves themselves, thus reducing the chance that they might misbehave in a manner which is unsafe on the archery range.
By increasing my minimum age requirement to 16 I am guaranteed to get more mature students who have longer attention spans, more emotional maturity, less likely to refuse to listen due to youthful stubbornness, a significantly higher age that parents will be less likely to lie about their kids age, and lastly because they are at least 16 years old I don't feel like I am babysitting a kid any more.
Now in theory it is still possible that parents might try to lie about their 15 year old's age and claim they are 16, but I would hope that parents don't try to deceive me in that manner. If they did and I discovered the falsehood I believe cancelling the lessons (with no refund) would be an appropriate punishment for such deceit.
I should note that there are many kids I have taught in the past who listened, were very attentive, very safety conscious and their parents were equally responsible and took an interest in what their kid was learning - sometimes even developing a keen interest for having lessons themselves. It pains me that I have to change my rules / requirements, but sadly some bad eggs have spoiled it for other potential students.
As your kids get older contact me about getting them archery lessons for their 16th birthday. Have a great day!
|Above - Jeff and Austin, father and son, admire a shot at 60 yards that went half way through the target.|