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5 Reasons Your Kid Should Take Shotgun Lessons Instead of Soccer

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(Or piano, or football, or cheerleading)

Any parent can tell you that the most magical time of year is not Christmas, but the advent of “back to school.” Since you’re probably figuring out which extracurricular activities your kid will complain about attending for the next three months, here’s a thought: Instead of soccer, or piano, or cheerleading, get your kid into shotgun lessons. Here are five reasons why.

Scholarships

Getting a scholarship for a shooting sport is much less competitive than other college sports.

Let’s face it: The price of college is terrifying these days, and your kid will be competing for scholarships against an army of kids whose parents make the “Toddlers and Tiaras” moms look easygoing and mellow. So set your kid up in a discipline that most of those tiger moms aren’t even aware exists—the shotgun sports. Not only are there scholarships available, but they’re not dependent on your kid being the best of the best.

Not athletic? No problem.

Cannot hit a pitch to save his life? Your son might enjoy shooting more then. | Photo by Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics

Shotgunning, like all the shooting sports (with the notable exception of biathlon), is not physically demanding. You needn’t be the biggest, fastest, or strongest. All you need is decent hand-eye coordination and a willingness to learn, so even kids who have had their gaming consoles surgically grafted onto their fingertips since before they could walk can experience success.

The price of entry is low

This Mossberg Model 930 shotgun sells for $499 at Cabelas

Shotgun sports, especially at the beginner levels, have a relatively low cost of entry. A suitable shotgun can generally be had for $500 or less (and if that sounds expensive, check out the going rates on French horns—yow). Other than that, your kid will need a shooting vest, eye and ear protection, and a shell pouch. That’s it. Best of all, if your kid decides that they really don’t want to stick with it, their “instrument” can just become yours.

It’s safer than pretty much everything

Three-time Olympian Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III of the U.S. Army Marskmanship Unit | Photo by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs

It may sound counterintuitive, but here’s the truth: Shotgun sports boast an injury rate lower than walking. Here’s proof. You won’t have to worry about your kid garnering a career- and scholarship- ending injury halfway through their academic career. Plus, because the sport isn’t physically demanding, there’s no temptation to use performance-enhancing drugs like one sees with sports like football and baseball. (Heck, most serious competitors avoid caffeine.)

Your kid might not even complain about going

When your daughter learns to shoot, she might only complain about having to go home. | U.S. Air Force photo/Mike McKito

Sick and tired of the whining every time you try to get your kids rounded up for ballet or what-have-you? Well, getting them into the shotgun sports might just put an end to that. The shotgun sports are just plain fun, to start, and they also carry a bit of that “cool factor” that makes kids proud and happy to participate. Instead of the weekly “but I don’t feel good!” battle, they’ll be raring to go.

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