We’ve discussed how to keep shooting interesting for kids in this column before. What about how to actually improve their shooting skills? Kids learn like adults, but their brains work a bit differently. They often pick things up faster, but at the same time, their attention spans can be shorter. Additionally, no matter what anyone tells you, shooting is a physical sport, so it is important to not overwork kids when teaching them to shoot.
When working with kids, it’s crucial to allow them to actually see the results of their efforts. Remember, they live in a world where everything they do is graded—their schoolwork, their athletic performance and even their deportment. Keep those trends in place, but don’t formulate a drill so that it seems like a real test. Make it more like a fun competition between you and them.
You should conduct shooting drills that actually demonstrate their successful comprehension and mastering of the task at hand. For example, if you’ve been working with a kid from the seated position and they are starting to group their shots appropriately, set up some sort of reactive target that is about the same size as their group, at about the same distance so that they can hit it and get a visual, followed by a verbal reward from you for their achievement.