In this post, we’re going to discuss how to find a proper nocking on a bow. But first, let’s talk about what is a nocking a point and why it is important.
If you already knew what is a nocking point and its benefits, then you may skip ahead to the section on “how to find a nocking point on a bowstring?“.
What is a Nocking Point?
A nocking point is an attachment on the string that tells us where to put the arrow.
Without a proper nocking point you would probably have a hard time to shoot the arrow straight every single time, especially during quick nocking.
One or Two Nocking Points?
Depending on the type of archery that you’re doing, you may use one or two nocking points.
Horseback archers often use only one nocking point while those who are practicing target and field archery use two nocking points.
Different Forms of Nocking Point
The most common forms of a nocking point on the most bows is a brass nocking point that pinches onto the bowstring with a special pair of pliers.
Fitting the arrows with brass nocking points is easy, and they are so tightly attached, they almost never come loose.
The downside, brass nocking points are quite heavy. Since heavier brasses make the arrows flight slower, they can become a great disadvantage for some types of archers who rely on speed.
Precaution should be taken when releasing the arrows using brass nocking points as they can rub or cut your fingers if you’re careless.
Some archers may find that this brass nocking point is easier to use for practice, particularly when you’re still developing your drawing form, and you don’t need to do quick nocking.
Tied nocking point is another form of a nocking point that you would often see in the bows of many Olympic archers. They can be served with a piece of thread or dental floss; both will work well.
The tie-on nocking points are often preferred than the brass nocking points by those who practice quick nocking since they are lighter and more secure — they won’t cut or rub your fingers when you do quick nocking.
However, tie-on nocking point is harder to set up, you need to manually tie the nocking point, unlike brass nocking point where you can just pinch the brass with pliers.
I’ll write about “how to tie a nocking with a dental floss” in my next post, so stay tuned.
How to Find a Nocking Point on a Bow String?
Finding a nocking point is best done with a bare shaft to get the most precise location. A bare shaft is an unfletched arrow. Why?
If you try to find the nocking point using a fletched arrow, you will not yield the most accurate location for even a poorly spined arrow will fly well with fletching.
Even though a fletched arrow may appear to fly well but the arrow will not travel as fast as it could. Furthermore, any mistakes that you make when releasing the arrow will be amplified many times.
Without fletching, no aid will come to help the arrow stabilizing its flight. It will only fly straight if the arrow is appropriately tuned and shot from the right nocking point — and therefore yielding the most accurate location.
What Do You Need to Prepare?
Before we begin, you will need to prepare the following:
- Your bow.
- One or two unfletched arrows.
- Bag target.
You can get the bare shafts from the local archery shop or online from Amazon or any other online archery stores. The bare shafts must be complete with a nock glued on and a field point attached or inserted.
For carbon arrows users, I would recommend these bare shafts from Carbon Express (link to Amazon). The shafts have come with exclusive nocks and half-out inserts.
For bag target, I would recommend bag target from Morell (link to Amazon). Because the arrows will not be flying straight during the whole process of finding the nocking point, you’ll need a bag target to prevent the arrows from being bent or broken caused by hitting hard surfaces.
After you got all of those three requirements above, the next thing to do is to find a safe area to shoot.
5 Steps to Find The Nocking Point
The following steps must be done everytime you change your bowstring or find your nocking point is incorrect.
1.Above or below the arrow?
The location of your nocking point will be significantly influenced by the drawing style that you use.
Those using a thumb draw generally place their nocking point above the arrow. Thumb drawers slide their arrows upwards, so the nocking point has to be placed above the arrow to stop it from sliding up the bowstring.
Those using a finger nock high and slide their arrow downwards before drawing, so their nocking point has to be placed below the arrow to keep the arrow stationary in place.
This is something that you need to remember as you move onto the next step.
2. Find your starting point
Let’s start with finding the starting point on your bow. If your bow has a shelf, that’s your starting point.
If you use a traditional bow without an arrow shelf, you need to gauge roughly the location on the string — you can eyeball the location — where the shaft lies horizontally between the string and resting on your bow hand.
3. Start out with the nocking point too high
From the starting point that we have determined at first step, we place our nocking point 1.5 inches above that location. You can eyeball or use a bow square to measure the distance.
We want to start with the nocking point in a location that is too high to avoid our perception from being fooled.
If the nocking point is too low, the arrow will leave the bow with the nock end of the arrow to bounce off the bow hand or arrow shelf and flight downrange with the nock high. This will make you mistakenly think that the nocking point is too high when it is actually too low.
4. Shoot the bare shaft
Once you have your nocking point located 1.5 inches above the arrow shelf, then take one of the full length-shafts and shoot it at a bag target at a distance of 7-10m.
Regarding the shaft length, the fast rule is the shaft length should be your draw length plus 1,5 inches. The length can be longer if you want, but not shorter.
Do not cant or tilt the bow when you shoot but maintain as close to a vertical position as possible.
Most archers (including me) may have a habit to instinctively cant or till our bows to get a clear sight but it is important in this step to shoot from a vertical position, so you’ll be able to see the trajectory of the arrow, both in flight and after impact.
5. Lower the nocking point position by 1/8 inches
Lower the nocking point by 1/8 inches and repeat the shooting exercise again. Keep lowering the nocking point bit by bit until the arrow hits the target straight. Once the arrow hits straight, that’s the correct nocking point on your bowstring.