The fun of archery can quickly be overshadowed by the pain of the string hitting your forearm every time you shoot an arrow. Sometimes wearing an arm guard simply isn’t enough, and the bowstring still finds a way to contact your exposed arm. Fixing this issue can be done in a couple of ways: Reposition your arm guard or learn how to properly turn your arm so that it is out of the way of the bowstring.
If you’ve been hitting your arm, you’ve hopefully already gotten an arm guard that covers the area of your arm that gets the most abuse. If not, you’ll need to find one that fits your arm comfortably and adds the needed protection from the bowstring — and of course it should also match the color scheme of your archery gear! Once you’ve started shooting with your arm guard, you’ll have to find the specific location on your arm to wear it; if you consistently hit a certain spot on your arm, that’s the spot that should always be covered.
Arm guard placement isn’t the only thing that can help with stopping the bowstring from hitting your arm. The orientation, or twist, of your bow arm can actually move it out of the path of the bowstring, eliminating the tendency for your arm to be hit. This is especially effective for people who have hyperextended elbows that always seem to get in the way of the bowstring.
When your bow arm is properly oriented, your elbow will face backward. A great way to learn this is to raise your bow arm as if you were holding and aiming your bow and then bend your elbow; if your forearm comes back toward your head over the top of your shoulder, then you haven’t turned your arm properly. If your forearm comes back in front of you, almost toward your chest, then you’ve turned your arm properly.
Practicing this position is key to avoiding the bowstring with your arm. One of the ways to practice turning your arm without a bow is to gently lean into a wall with your outstretched bow arm, place your hand on the wall, and rotate your bow arm into the correct position. Hold this position for several seconds, relaxing your arm and shoulder in between holding. If this is a new motion for you, you’ll most likely feel a stretch in your tricep, which means you are rotating your arm correctly.
When you start implementing this position while shooting, remember that it is much easier to rotate your bow arm while you’re not holding the poundage of your bow. If you can rotate your arm to the correct position before you draw back the bowstring, you’ll be able to achieve the correct position with less effort.
This arm position is unnatural to everyone else, but a normal part of the setup to archers. The more you practice it, the more flexibility you will achieve and the easier it will be to do. Maintaining a solid bow arm, along with proper arm rotation, will build a solid base for your shot. From there all you’ll need to focus on is putting your arrows in the middle of the target instead of icing a bruise caused by your bowstring.