Why Do Cricketers Wear Arm Sleeves? Does it Even Help!

Cricket player fielding the ball while wearing black arm sleeves aka compression sleeves (Image Credit – Steve Thomas)

When watching a cricket match, I have always wondered why the cricketers might be wearing the arm sleeves or the compression sleeves. What is its purpose? Is it just a fashion trend, or does it have any benefits? So I decided to a bit of research, and here’s what I found out. 

Cricketers wear arm sleeves because it helps in – 

  1. Performance improvement
  2. Reducing the chances of injuries
  3. Providing Protection
  4. Prevent skin rashes
  5. Protect the Skin from the UV rays
  6. Showcasing a Flair of style

But, there is one more thing to wonder. Even though we see many cricketers wear arm sleeves, not all of them do. So the question is – are there any particular situations, ideal time, or apt activity for which the arm sleeves are more suitable? Let’s find out!

Note – If you’d rather like to just skip this article to buy the best currently available Arm Sleeves, then my recommendation is to go with this one on Amazon if you are in the UK or go with this one [if you are in India]. It is inexpensive and also provides adequate UV protection.

Advantages of Wearing Arm Sleeves

Players wear arm sleeves not just in cricket, but in about every other sport where they play out in the open under the sun. More than being an athlete-special fashion trend, the arm sleeves have some covert benefits. For example – Did you know that some good quality arm sleeves block the harmful UV rays and protect the player’s skin? 

Let’s check out more such interesting benefits of arm sleeves for the cricketers:   

1. Arm Sleeves Act as Compression Aids 

Perhaps the biggest advantage of wearing an arm sleeve is the compression. An arm sleeve, created by a reputable and dependable brand, has advanced fabrics and ideal elasticity. This compression not only stabilizes and relaxes the arm muscles but also regulates the blood flow.

In a research conducted by the American Physiological Society, it was concluded that external compression increases forearm perfusion (links to research) by more than twofold!

However, do keep in mind that if your arm sleeve is too tight, it will clot the blood flow. Bad blood circulation leads to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, especially in summer or humid environments.

2. Arm Sleeves Enhance Performance & Reduce Chance of Soreness

Arm sleeves provide a healing  boost for the cricketers. While playing, cricketers (the batsman, bowler, and wicket keeper, to be specific) tend to suffer soreness in their arms. It can cause swelling or inflammation and ultimately hamper the performance.

As we saw in the earlier point, arm sleeves with good elasticity help maintain blood circulation. Therefore, cricketers wear them to prevent soreness and bad circulation. In the humid environment, arm sleeves also keep them dry and comfortable. If the compression is well, it helps the sore and tired muscles heal faster.

3. Arm Sleeves Provide Protection

Not just cricket, but in any sport, players often tend to get injured while catching the ball, running, etc.  Arm sleeves protect the players from such wounds. Also, there are possibilities of players having field bruises. Arm sleeves reduce the chances. 

In addition to that, arm sleeves provide flexibility to the forearm and elbow portion. This prevents players from having cramps because of fatigue or strain. 

4. Arm Sleeves Minimize the Chances of Sunburn

Cricket is played in the open ground under the sun. Traditionally it is popular as a summer game. Therefore even if the players wear a cap, there is a chance of sunburn on their elbow portion and forearms.  It might also cause skin rash or rug/friction burn. Arm sleeves reduce the chances of such burns keeping their skin healthy.

5. Arm Sleeves Block UV Rays

In continuation with the last point, playing continuously under the sun exposes the player’s arm to UV rays. Good quality arm sleeves provide a shield and block those harmful rays keeping their skin healthy.

Why Do Cricketers Prefer the Arm Sleeves Over Long Sleeved T-shirts?

The main reason for this preference is “Comfort”. Arm sleeves are convenient to carry along. Cricketers can wear them whenever they want. During bowling or wicket-keeping, the players need to move quickly to throw or catch the ball. In such cases, arm sleeves are more comfortable than long-sleeved t-shirts. 

Additionally, arm sleeves are meant to provide support and comforting compression to the person wearing them. This does not happen in the case of a full-sleeve t-shirt.  

Wearing a full-sleeve t-shirt in the summer season is not advisable. It will make the player sweat a lot. A good arm sleeve not only covers his skin but also prevents his arm from sweating. 

Since arm sleeves are lighter weight (depends on the quality), they are better than long-sleeve shirts in winter.

How to Choose the Perfect Arm Sleeves for Playing Cricket?

Buying the perfect arm sleeves for the big game can be a little intimidating. Other than looking at its color, style and durability, these are the three major factors that you want to look for.

1. Determine Your Arm Sleeve Size

Here is an easy way. Measure your bicep. Subtract around 0.5 to 2 inches from it. That answer is your sleeve size range. 

However, sometimes, even if you buy an arm sleeve based on the bicep size formula, you might find trouble in its fitting. Two players can use different sizes even after having the same bicep measurements. This is because of the difference in arm density. It affects the fitting and feel of the arm sleeves.

While buying an arm sleeve, always check out the arm sleeve size chart of that company.

2. Determine the Quality of Fabric

One of the most important thing you want to check while buying the arm sleeve is its quality.

Arm sleeves that are poorly stitched or are made from poor material don’t tend to last long and fall apart after a few weeks. Thus, buying a good quality arm sleeve that ensures the goal of comfort, protection from injuries, and durability is very important. I found that COOLOMG Arm Sleeves with UV Protection [on Amazon] tends to have these attributes.

Also, do not forget to check the moisture-wicking properties of the arm sleeve. It will help you during the humid climate. 

If your arm sleeve becomes mushy or raggedy, or if the stitching starts tearing off from the side, it is always better to invest in a new arm sleeve as these are inexpensive but play an important role to prevent injury.

3. Choose an Arm Sleeve with UPF 50+ Sun Protection

Aegend Arm Sleeves with UPF 50+ UV Protection [on Amazon] that provides professional grade UV protection to the players

Cricket often demands you to play under the sun for hours. Thus, it is often recommended to choose an arm sleeve that has at least a high grade protection from UV rays.

Choosing a specialized UV protection Arm Sleeve is especially recommended if your skin reacts a lot from exposure to the direct sunlight. If this is the case, it is highly recommended to choose an arm sleeve with at least a UPF 50+ protection against harmful UV rays like the Aegend Arm Sleeves with UPF 50+ UV Protection [on Amazon]

4. Choose an Arm Sleeve with an Elastic Gripper

This one is optional but highly important.

An Elastic Gripper ensures that the arm sleeve stays in place and doesn’t slip while playing. While this may be important if you have a slightly loose arm sleeve, it is not necessary if your arm sleeve is a good fit.

Either way, it is always better to go for an arm sleeve that has an elastic gripper (preferably made out of silicon) at the top. It ensures that the sleeve will stay firm in place and not fall down your arm regardless of the fit.

5. Make Sure that the Arm Sleeve is not Too Tight

The perfect tightness of the arm sleeve differs from person to person. Also, the arm sleeves come with different levels of compression. That means every compression arm sleeve can fit differently.  

In general, when you are trying them on, you have to check if they are pinching your skin, creating pain, or creating the difficulty to move your arm. (Try all the positions required in the game.)

When you take them off, if you feel that the arm sleeves made your skin suffocate, then probably it is a little tighter for you. 

Also, if you are buying the arm sleeve always make sure that you check the size chart

Final Thoughts 

Arm sleeves are one of the major parts of a cricketer’s outfit. Not just for comfort and health, but arm sleeves can take the style of the cricketers to another level. Sometimes they are designed specifically according to the team style. Some athletes and cricketers also wear them to cover their tattoos.

Whether for health or style, arm sleeves are important for an efficient play. What do you think?

Shrot Katewa

Shrot is an avid cricket fan! He has played and endorsed the sport ever since he was in School. In fact, he played as a professional cricketer represented his state team in National Indoor Cricket Championship held in Pune, India. Shrot loves the game, loves talking to other people who play the game and share his learnings with other interested individuals. He is the founder of CricketMastery.com. This website is a culmination of his desire to help others understand this wonderful Game of Cricket!

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