Many people love the game, or should I call it the art of archery: the blood rush, the pounding heart, and that bittersweet feeling of will I hit or miss the target this time around.
And when you release your bow and get a hit, the feeling is euphoric; it is like accomplishing a little life goal.
However, there is this little issue that is a drawback for many people who participate in this great outdoor fun activity, which is the pain that comes from a bowstring hitting the inside of their forearms as they release the bow. This is a big issue for most archers, especially amateurs.
Well, do not let this snag stop you from enjoying the game you love. Arm guards are there to the rescue; it will keep you from getting this infamous bowstring slap that leaves red marks on your arms.
Do you know what is even more exciting? It is the fact that you can make one for yourself using simple materials you can find around.
What Are Leather Arm Guards Called?
Many people refer to this important, sturdy piece of equipment that forms part of an archer’s arsenal as a bracer.
It is a sheath or strap of leather that covers the inside (ventral) surface of an archer’s bow-holding arm. There are different designs of these protective sheaths that could cover parts or the entire forearm.
It is also common to see archers wear these bracers on other body parts like the legs or even bigger versions on the chest.
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What Are Leather Arm Guards Used For
Arm guards are useful in the art of archery for the following reasons:
- Arm guards are used to protecting the archer’s forearm against any injury or accidentally whipping from the bowstring or the fletching of the arrow while shooting. This bowstring slap has stopped many people from really indulging in archery even though they love the art.
- Bracers are useful in preventing the loose sleeves of the archer from catching the bowstring, which will rip their clothes.
- beautifully designed bracers make an archer look ‘cool’ and boost their confidence as they try to hit their target. It is not just a piece of a protective sheath for some people, but also a fashion statement that tells people that they are trendy.
- The pain from the bruise that an archer experience when the bowstring hits their arm can be a source of distraction from them enjoying the art they love. So, when you wear a brace, you have one less thing to worry about.
Are Archery Arm Guards Necessary?
Yes indeed, thousand times Yes. Everyone who engages in archery is expected to wear an arm guard because they are very useful. More than 80% of professionals wear one, and even a higher percentage encourage those who engage in the art always to wear one.
There are, however, people who can do without arm guards, and they are:
- Archery professionals: Even though many Archery professionals wear bracers, they can do without them; they are so trained and used to the art that they can make a shoot and yet not get this bowstring slap. But amateurs must always wear a bracer because they must continually practice improving to a point where an arm guard will not be necessary for them. As they practice to become better, it means more arm bruises if they don’t wear one. This is enough reason to discourage them from getting better.
- If you are in very good form: Like in all sports or games, there are times that physical and emotional problems can cause sportspeople to lose their form, and when this happens, they will make mistakes they won’t make ordinarily. So, even if you are a professional but not in form, an arm guard is not a luxury you can do without. You must wear help yourself by wearing one.
- If you are not fatigued: Assuming you are a professional archer who is in form and you have been shooting for a few hours, it is inevitable that fatigue will set in. In this situation, just quickly wear an arm guard because the more tired you are, the more likely you are to make a mistake in making a shoot. So, only professionals who are not tired are excused from wearing a bracer.
- Shooting in warm weather: if you are shooting in warm weather, the chances are that you will wear a light cloth with a short sleeve or no sleeves. But if you are shooting in cold weather, you will most likely wear a jacket or long sleeves. These sleeves have a way of getting in your way as you shoot. So, if you are wearing loose clothing or a jacket or any long sleeve cloth for that matter, then wear an arm guard.
- The bowstring slap stimulates your performance: you might find it a little bizarre, but some amateurs refuse to wear an arm guard so that the pain they experience from the bowstring slap will propel them to become better. This group of people wants the pain to cause them to be better. I guess it works for them.
How To Make Archery Arm Guard
There are times when archers leave their house to the archery range only to remember that they didn’t bring along their arm guard. In this situation, there are quick fixes that you can resort to that will work.
- Many people use a rubber band to hold sticks made of plastic or wood on their forearms to protect them from bowstring slap. This might look rustic, but the truth is that it works.
- You can also improvise by putting plastic or metallic material around your forearm with your tight-fitting long sleeve cloth holding these materials in place. This method is crude, but it is still a lot better than not wearing an arm guard at all.
So now, let’s get down to how you can make a customized arm guard yourself. The materials you will be needing are:
- The leather of your choice
- A bungee cord, string or shoelaces
- Pen or pencil
- Scissors or blade for cutting the leather
- Cardboard or paper
- A measuring tapes
- A hole punch or grommet
The steps below suffice:
- Using the measuring tape, measure your wrist, the length of the arm guard, and the size of your forearm. Ensure that you add at least an inch to each measurement you take to create room for lacing and rounding the leather edges.
- Now, use a pen or pencil to draw the pattern of your choice on paper or cardboard using the measurements that you took. You use paper to make the pattern first so that any mistake you make, you can easily trash the paper and start again. It is better to waste your paper than your lovely leather. You can curve the edges of your pattern if you so wish.
- Now, use your blade or scissors to cut out the pattern you have drawn on the paper. Remember to add markings for lacing holes using a hole punch, and the distance between each lace hole should be an inch; anything closer can cause the leather to tear while lacing.
- Now, place the cut-out pattern on the leather material and then trace the same pattern on your leather. You can use white chalk or a colored pencil to draw this pattern if your leather is dark in color.
- Cut the pattern you have just drawn on your leather as carefully as possible. Remember to make the holes where the lace will go into. You can make the hole using a hole punch.
- Lastly, with your arm guard almost ready, all that is left to do is to use a shoelace, a string, or any other rope of your choice to lace the holes on your arm guard. Feel free to personalize your arm guard by adding designs of your choice.
And there you have it, your very own arm guard.
How Do You Wear an Arm-Guard?
Now that your arm guard is ready, you wear it on the upper arm of the hand that will hold the bow. Place the guard between the elbow joint and the wrist.
It is worn so that the arm’s guard widest end fits closest to the elbow for it to be balanced.
Archery is an old art, but the fun it gives can never grow stale. It is a beautiful game that is even played in the Olympics.
If you are an archer or are thinking of taking up the game as a hobby, your only worry is that you might receive that sting-like pain from a bowstring slap.
Then let us assure you that you have nothing to worry about with a good arm guard on your arm as you shoot, and what if you want to make one yourself? You are welcomed to do so with the steps enumerated above.
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