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Long Island archery classes for kids

Omar Anees, 9, watches as his arrow flies

Omar Anees, 9, watches as his arrow flies through the air toward a target at C and B Archery in Hicksville. (Apr. 6, 2012) Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick

Katniss, you may have some more competition.

Smith Point Archery in Patchogue has seen an increase in kids interested in learning to hit a bull's-eye since the release of the megahit movie "The Hunger Games," whose heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is a master bowhunter who can nail a fleeing squirrel in the eye with an arrow.

"We've got a lot of people coming in with bows they've dug out of the attic or closet," says Craig Wagner, a Smith Point instructor. "You'll either do it once because that was enough, or you'll become one of our regulars."

Here are several indoor arenas that offer children the chance to give archery a shot, whether through lessons, open shooting hours or participation in competitive leagues.


11 Commercial St., Hicksville


HOURS Noon to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; noon to 7 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays

COST $11 to rent a bow; $9.50 for one hour of shooting and a target; $5 for one-time required basic instruction. Weekly Saturday league costs $12.50 a week, including bow and practice time and competition.

Francesca Rodino, 15, and her brother, Luigi, 12, of Port Washington both compete in the weekly home-school league at C & B Archery. "I like how it helps me focus. I can depend on myself. It's a very independent sport," Francesca says. "You can keep getting better and better."

Luigi likes the competition. "I like doing it better than my sister," he says. The hardest part of the sport is learning and maintaining correct form, he adds.

Avery Scott, 10, of Williston Park, says he enjoys the fact that archery is "calmer" than soccer or football. "You can stand in one place rather than running around," he says.


215 E. Main St., Patchogue


HOURS 2 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

COST $25 for bow rental and range time; $10 for range time only. Junior Olympic-style lessons at 6:30 p.m. Mondays are $20 a week; at the end of lessons, kids try to pop balloons with arrows

Instructor Wagner recommends waiting until children are 9 to introduce them to archery. "Once you get below 9, they have a problem with holding back the draw weight of the bow," he says. Archers can choose between two types of bows -- recurve bows, which are the more traditional bows, and high-tech compound bows, which are more often used for hunting.

Smith Point is running a promotion in conjunction with "The Hunger Games" -- people who are National Amusements StarPass loyalty members at the Island 16 theater complex in Holtsville have been emailed a coupon for 90 minutes of free archery and can bring up to two guests each, Wagner says.


291 Deep Hole Rd., Calverton


HOURS 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays; 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

COST $10 annual membership fee required, then $20 to shoot six arrows at each of five stations

Thrill of the Hunt is a 3-D arena; instead of shooting at paper targets, archers shoot at 3-D replicas of game such as white-tailed deer and bears. The arena doesn't rent bows or arrows; bring your own equipment. "We do have kids 9 and 10 years old," owner Art Binder says. However, they have some advanced experience with a bow.

"It's really not for beginner children," he says. "We teach bowhunters and archers how to humanely harvest game." Most people use compound bows at the facility, and only field-point arrows are permitted, Binder says.


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