Here is more on five Olympic sports you probably won’t see on prime-time TV.
The appeal: All the archery in “The Hunger Games” and “Brave” has meant an uptick in interest, said Ruth Rowe, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and the head coach of the archery program at the Bull Run Shooting Center. But don’t be fooled by what you see in the movies. Archery is deceptively difficult, she said.
Shooting correctly and hitting the target requires strength, but also focus and self-discipline. Practicing with that kind of intensity can help kids in other areas, either school or other sports, Rowe said.
“In most sports, you get yourself hyped up and get your adrenaline going before a competition,” Rowe said. “Archery is the exact opposite. It’s completely internal. You want to be quiet and calm and completely aware within yourself. Most kids have no idea what that’s like. Trying to teach that can be a challenge.”
Best for: Athletes who are looking for an individual sport or enjoy solitude.
Ages: 8 and up for an introductory class; 10 and up for lessons
Where to go:
Bull Run Shooting Center
in Centreville (571-215-4403 or www.thearcheryprogram.net)
Cost: $30.25 for a one-time, 90-minute introductory lesson at Bull Run Shooting Center in Centreville.
Time commitment: Weekly lessons for casual archers. Serious competitors practice several times a week, in addition to their lessons.
The appeal: Courtesy and sportsmanship are a key part of fencing, where competitors are required to salute each other before a bout, and salute and shake hands after. Kids get a chance to play with swords with rounded metal tips in a safe, disciplined environment, and the sport really works their mental skills.
Fencing helps kids develop arm and body coordination, strategic thinking and how to stay focused in a stressful situation.
“Fencing is very technical, and practically difficult and complex,” said Janusz Smolenski, the head coach at DC Fencers Club in Silver Spring. “That helps [kids] to find solutions, and it helps them focus and helps them to find the best choices. When they fence, they make their own decisions.”
Best for: Quick thinkers and those who enjoy one-on-one competition.
Ages: 7 and up
Where to go: DC Fencers Club (301-562-1990 or www.dcfencing.com) in Silver Spring.
Cost: $185 for eight weeks of weekly one-hour lessons at DC Fencers Club.
Time commitment: One hour a week for introductory recreational fencing. More serious fencers practice two or three hours at a time, four to five times a week, Smolenski said.