November 04, 2010
Theoretically, when you shoot a group, no matter how big or small, it ought to be fairly circular, that is, about as high as it is wide. If your groups are taller than they are wide, or vice versa, then you have some sort of problem going on. That's the bad news.
The good news is that the shape of your groups can actually give you some pretty good clues as to what you're doing wrong.
In this column, I'll go over some of the things that can make your groups wider than they are tall -- shooting flaws that will make you miss left and right. Then, in my next column, I'll discuss things that can make your groups taller than they are wide -- flaws that will make you miss high and low. So, if your groups are wider than they are tall, analyze these three aspects of your shooting form:
First, and probably most significant, is hand torque. If your bow hand is not relaxed when you shoot, you can put different twisting forces on the bow's handle. This will cause arrows to fly left or right because the bow is actually twisting as the arrows launch off the rest.
Second, look for interference with the bowstring from your face or your clothing. This causes left and right shots because the string deflects laterally as it drives the arrow forward.
Third, if you shoot a bow with a draw length that's even a little too long for you, you cannot maintain proper alignment, which can cause your arrows to fly to the left or right of your aiming point.