The shooting sports are better for children than traditional sports

Kids these days are playing youth soccer, baseball, football, etc at prodigious rates. But while those sports certainly can supply athletic accomplishments and physical condition, they’re not as good mentally for a child as the shooting sports.

Molly Smith

Because in the shooting sports, your child will never get a participation trophy. You can argue all you want about whether IDPA awards too many classification plaques or on the legitimacy of a category “championship” in USPSA, but the bottom line is that a child that competes in the shooting sports is going to lose a lot more than they win. They’ll receive positive encouragement from older shooters, they’ll receive training and support from skilled shooters, but no one is going to say “hey, it’s great that you showed up, here’s a trophy!”

Winning high Junior at a match is a legitimate accomplishment that a teenage or youngster can be proud of, and it’s important that the sport continue to recognize those categories.

You could argue that traditional sports teach all the same positive character traits that the shooting sports teach, and while that may be true, the shooting sports teach two things that you won’t find in football or baseball. The first of those is a real sense of responsibility, because of the nature of the sport. We all agree guns are dangerous, and so the level of responsibility that is taught to juniors in the shooting sports isn’t mirrored anywhere else. We’re playing with guns, and that’s a tremendous responsibility.

The second, and even more important skill that juniors in the shooting sports learn is something that I think is very important: how to talk to grownups. When I was a youth, my parents raised me to be able to talk to adults; this became an important skill when I magically became an adult and had learned important social interactions as a child. By and large, the juniors I meet in the shooting sports are extremely well versed at talking to adults; which in this modern era of insulating children from the world with iPopTarts in their ears is unusual.

Now, all of this theory is coming from someone who isn’t a parent, and is based entirely on my fairly traditional upbringing and my interactions with junior shooters during my career. But I have to say, that if I had kids, I’d much rather they took up IDPA and Bianchi Cup than baseball. That’s not to say there isn’t value in the traditional sports, and baseball is awesome.

5 thoughts on “The shooting sports are better for children than traditional sports”

  1. Good points. As a father I can tell you that I see a few opportunities for my kid, and one of them starts on the range out back. We don’t push her into it. She sees her mom and dad do it and wanted to try. Now she talks like she might have legitimate interest. She’s been out before and is asking to go again. This weekend.

    And as someone else noted, the risk of injury is much lower. I know kids here who have had concussions at under 12 years of age. They are being told to NEVER (as in, “not even once”) get into activity that could hurt their head because their risk of permanent injury is exceptionally high. At age 12.

    No military. No sports. No surfing. No bike riding (in one case). No martial arts.

    For life.

    All for repeated low-grade head hits in soccer, football, etc. The MRIs are telling me to keep my kid off the field, unless it is to run track. Guns are safer than playing with balls, for sure.

  2. Injury can still happen.
    Hearing loss is a danger. Shooting noise levels on a range with hearing protection can exceed safe levels for impulse noise. A 130 decibel gunshot is reduced to 104 decibels with hearing protection. Refer to OSHA standards for an example. Only 15 minutes of shooting allowed at this sound level it it was a job. http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/phys_agents/exposure_can.html
    I don’t know how much damage can occur.
    I think we should make suppressors legal without a tax stamp to protect hearing.

    1. Besides the noise indoors, no one seems to mention lead inhalation? Air systems indoors are not removing every last trace, plus it also gets on your hands as you shoot. Instead of trying to prove one is better than another (for various reasons), why not suggest it as an excellent choice to being a well rounded person.

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