Arrow Patterns by Coach Jim White
Is it high and left? Low and right? Or is it just straight across the middle? Which way do you find your pattern of misses when you are trying to hit the ten ring? Your pattern of your misses can possibly tell you why you are missing the center of the target.
For right handed archers, if you are missing low and right, it could be, and probably is, that you are “collapsing” on the shot. That means you are not maintaining the bow arm pressure needed to keep the bow moving directly at the center of the target upon release. If you relax the bow arm even a millisecond before you release the string, it will allow the bow to move to the right and downward. Just a quarter of an inch can make a big difference at the target and it gets worse as the distance increases! The remedy is to maintain and even pressure between the bow arm and the release hand to keep the bow on line.
If your pattern is high and left you may be pushing too hard with the bow arm. If your bow arm moves off to the left after the release, it could be starting the movement at the instant of the release, causing left misses.
Another cause of left and right misses is grabbing the bow at the instant of release. This causes torque in the bow handle and a sideways movement of the bow and string. Proper use of a bow sling will correct this problem.
Finally, the old “pluck the string” movement will also cause left and right misses. Close-up blank bale practice on a smooth release and proper shot sequence will usually fix this one. As you know, there are a lot of ways to miss the bulls-eye, (and I’ve perfected most of them over the years) but knowing what to look for to correct the error can give you an edge on the competition.
Working with your coach is the best remedy because it’s hard to see what you’re doing when you’re shooting. But knowing the cause of an error is also a way to fix a shooting flaw when help is not available, like in the middle of a tournament!
Coach Jim White