Q: I’m getting used to my new recurve after finishing a beginners course a few months back, but I’m noticing I’m getting a lot of string contact with my arm guard. It’s not hitting my arm, so it’s not painful, but it is noticeable. What could be causing it, and how can I reduce it?
A: It is usual for the string to hit the armguard once the arrow has left the string, but the string should not hit the arm guard while the arrow is still on the string, as this will result in large groups and it may cause tuning and clearance issues for the arrow getting around the bow. It’s difficult to find out at what point the string hits your arm without using high-speed cameras. Nevertheless, if your string is hitting your arm guard particularly hard then it is probably hitting it while the arrow is still on the string, and you should check a few things and make improvements if necessary:
1. Check your bracing height. Make sure that it is within the bow manufacturer’s guidelines.
2. Check your hand position in the grip. If the hand is too far out of the grip, torque can be created by putting excess pressure on the outside of the grip which can cause the string to hit the arm. If the hand is too far into the grip, the forearm can be put in the way of the string. Too much pressure on the inside of the grip can also create torque, which may result in the string hitting the armguard. Your hand is in the correct position when your lifeline lies down the outside edge of your grip, your hand is snug up into the throat, and the pressure goes through the bone at the bottom of the thumb pad.
3. If your string hits your arm near your elbow, you need to rotate it so that the inside crease of the elbow is vertical, hence keeping the elbow well out of the way. This is not an easy thing for some people to learn, and you may need to start by practising this motion against a wall before attempting to do it with your bow.
Another thing you can do to help keep string to arm guard contact to a minimum, is to choose a thin arm guard that fits your arm snugly and securely.