If you are serious about getting your child involved in archery, then youth archery gear is something you need to know a little about. Finding the best compound bow for kids is where it all starts.
Unfortunately, too many kids head out to the back yard with the wrong bow and no knowledge about how to shoot. After a few attempts, the outcome is often a frustrated kid who puts the bow down to move on to something more enjoyable.
As a parent with 3 young kids, I’ve forged down this road when they expressed interest in archery. Hopefully my journey to find the right archery gear for kids can save you some time and frustration.
Best Youth Bow
The Genesis Compound Bow is definitely the best compound bow for kids. The Genesis Original is available here on Amazon.
Genesis Archery is a branch of Matthews Archery Inc., the largest bow manufacturer in the world. Matthews changed the landscape of archery when they invented the single-cam compound bow back in the 90’s. Matthews has a mind for innovation when it comes to the compound bow and this eventually led them to create the Genesis line for bows for kids. This bow is not just a smaller or lighter compound bow. It is a one of a kind, modified compound bow designed to work for children as they grow.
Disadvantages of Other Youth Bows
Your child will outgrow most bows quickly.
Kids grow fast. If you are like me as a parent, it’s tough to spend a lot of money on something your kid is will grow out of in a year. Youth bows are not “one size fits all.” The bow needs to be the right size for your child. This means that the bow has the correct draw length and draw weight. Draw length for a bow correlates with a persons height. So, you buy a bow with a draw length for their height today, but how tall will they be next year? Or the year after that?
A recurve or longbow will have a certain draw length and weight range which is determined by the the length of the limbs and the material they are made of. These types of bows are often less expensive than compound bows but they are not adjustable so you will have to continue to buy them as your child grows.
Adjustable youth bows are difficult.
While youth compound bows may be adjustable, most present a number of problems. First, you should know that most compound bows are going to require a lot more maintenance. When you buy a youth compound it will have an adjustable range of draw length and draw weight.
Before you ever shoot a compound bow it MUST be set up. This means adjusting the draw length and draw weight for you child. Depending on the bow, it may require specialized tools and knowledge. This means further investment of time and money on your part. Either learning to adjust your kids bow or making yearly trips to your archery shop to have it adjusted.
Second, is the expense. Youth compound bows range from $50-$500 plus dollars. Your child doesn’t have to have the most expensive compound on the market to help them become a good archer. BUT….. for the most part……you get what you pay for.
It’s unlikely that a $100 compound will serve you well.
The quality of material, machining, and components. A compound bow is a marvel of stored energy and mechanical advantage. This comes from the pulley system of wheels and cams holding the bowstring under incredibly high tension. Personally, I’m not interested in me or my kids trying to figure out where the bow manufacture cut cost in a $50 compound bow (fully loaded.)
Why the Genesis Bow Is So Great.
So, with these disadvantages for compound and recurve bows, how is the Genesis any different? The Genesis is different because although it is labeled a compound bow, it is almost in a category of it’s own.
It is essentially combining some of the best features of a compound and recurve.
This bow was designed specifically for the needs of young archers. They realized the benefits and drawbacks of a compound bow when it came to kids. The primary drawback is that compounds have to be adjusted to a kids specific draw length, and kids are growing every year so their draw will change.
Features of the Genesis Original and Genesis Mini Bow
These bows are designed with a single cam which gives you a smooth draw and quiet release.
Zero Let Off
The zero let off on these bows means that you don’t have to adjust the cam for draw lengths. This is what makes these bows more like recurves and is a great feature for kids. Since they are growing. This also helps with a fast release when you let go of the string.
Both of these bows comes with a simple arm arrow rest and a knocking point that can be adjusted if needed.This is the official bow of NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) which tells you about their quality and suitability for kids. They come in a variety of colors but will all have the same features.
Differences Between Genesis Original and Mini Bows
The specs show the only differences in these two bows which is the size and draw weight.
Genesis Original Specs:
35 ½” axle-to-axle length
7 5/8” brace height
Adjustable draw weight 10-20 lbs
Draw Length range of 15-30 inches
3.5 lbs mass weight
Genesis Mini Specs:
29 1/2” axle-to-axle length
6 1/8” brace height
Adjustable draw weight 6-12 lbs
Draw Length range of 14-25 inches
2 lbs mass weight
Frequently Asked Questions About the Genesis Bows
What size bow does my kid need?
A lot of people are buying theses for their kids and one of the most common questions is, what size bow does my kid need?
The answer depends on their size and strength. These factors are hard to assign a specific age to since kids grow at different rates. In general, ages 6 and under need the Genesis mini. Ages 8 and up most likely need the Genesis Original. Ages 6-8 are hard to assign one bow or the other and many kids can probably use either bow.
Kids that weigh at least 50 pounds should be able to draw 10 pounds on their bow comfortably. Both bows overlap at the 10-12 pound draw weights so if they are in this age category, so factoring in their draw length may also help you in deciding. Check out this page if you want to learn how to measure draw length.
Bow size is the other big factor in deciding. A kids in that age range may be able to draw 10 pounds but the bow is to large for them to comfortably hold. This was the issue I ran into with my 6 year old. It was a tough call in deciding which bow to get her. I wanted to get her the Genesis Original because she wouldn’t outgrow the original. Unfortunately, it was a little too big for her. She needed the lower draw weights and was more comfortable holding the Mini.
What arrows do you need for the Genesis bow?
If you buy the kit, the bow comes with 5 aluminum arrows. These are made by Easton for Genesis archery. These are Easton’s 1820 shafts and they are 30 inches long. The reason they are this long is because the Genesis Original bow can be draw out to 30 inches.
For safety reasons you don’t wont a shorter shaft that could come off the bow when you are drawing. These come with Eastons 3 inch Easton diamond vanes and the Easton end nocks. These are specifically made for the genesis bowstring with a little larger grove in them. These are currently the only arrows tournament approved by the NASP.
Now a 5 year shooting the Mini with a short draw length looks a little unusual with such a long arrow but it’s not a big deal. You can buy different arrows if you want to and have them cut shorter but it’s important that you monitor how long the shaft is relation to their draw length as they grow.
What Draw Weight Does My Kid Need?
Figuring out the correct draw weight your child needs is extremely important. Pulling too much weight can cause injury and also your child will not enjoy shooting their bow if it’s too heavy. The best way to figure out the correct draw weight is to have them sit in a chair and draw the bow.
Make sure they can draw without straining. Watch their face and body language. If they are pushing the bow upward with their bow arm, its too much weight. If they are having to brace their body, it’s too much wight. Continue to adjust down until they can comfortably draw using only their arm while siting down.
Can the Genesis Bow Be Used For Hunting?
A lot of folks ask about using this bow for hunting. I would say in general NO. Why? First, a lot of states have a minimum draw weight requirement for hunting. Most commonly it’s 35-40 pounds. So that rules out the Genesis original which only goes up to 20 pounds.
On simple archery I have a list of the states and the bow regulations. What if you are in a state with no minimum draw weight regulations, then can you hunt with it? I would still advise against it. Especially not deer, elk, and bear. Why? It’s not responsible hunting. 20 pounds of draw weight will not fire an arrow fast enough. At those speeds there is too high a percentage that you will just wound and injure an animal.
Can You Use A Release Aid with the Genesis Bow?
You may also wonder about using a release with the genesis bows. You can, but most kids just shoot with their fingers. If your child does want to try a release, I would recommend a index finger trigger release with calipers.
Can You Change the Arrow Rest on The Genesis Bow?
Many kids struggle with keeping the arrow on the riser with a simple arm rest. Eventually they will get the hang of it but it can be hard at first. You can change the rest on these bows. I attached a whisker biscuit to the Genesis Mini.
If your child is struggling to keep the arrow on the riser with the arm rest you may want to get a full capture rest so that they can just concentrate on their shooting form. If you do change the rest, make sure you center align with the arrow nocking point. You can check out my page on setting up a compound bow if you need more information on that.
Author: Kasey Jones
Published: April 2018