What Does Nocking An Arrow Mean?

The ability to hit your target, besides other factors, depends on how you nock your arrow. Mastery of archery increases your knowledge within the field. However, nocking arrow demands more skills in addition to your knowledge.

To effectively shoot a bow, you must learn how to nock an arrow correctly. The process of nocking arrows is not too complex. Simple but careful steps are what you require to get the desired result. The right procedure demands that you face the fletching away from the plunger.

Through this article, we’ll take you on the steps of nocking arrows correctly. Also, you will discover the primary requirements for nocking an arrow and how to solve nock fitting issues. Keep reading to learn more.

What Does Nocking An Arrow Mean?

Nocking an arrow involves the process of positioning the arrow such that the nock snaps at the bowstring. In this process, the fletching will be on the bowstring in a position that ensures easy passage of the arrow through the riser.

What Does Nocking An Arrow Mean

Nocking arrow is a basic skill or step in archery within the sequence of shots. Mastery of this skill has a great influence on our performance to either winning or losing through your shots. So to improve your performance as an archer, you must inculcate nocking arrows as part of your routine.

Parts Of An Arrow

A good understanding of the different parts of an arrow will assist you to know its nocking process better. Also, it will ease your confusion when they are mentioned as part of terminologies with this article.

Parts Of An Arrow

Basically, an arrow has four parts; the arrowhead, fletching, shaft, and nock.


This is the arrow’s point part. Also, it’s referred to as the arrow tip. It comes in different kinds depending on the purpose of the arrow or the archery involved. The arrowhead is the sharpest part.


Arrowhead could either be the blunt or the penetrating types. As you shoot your arrow, it’s the arrowhead that hits your target to give you a win.

The penetrating arrowheads have a wide range of use than the blunt ones. They serve as the necessary weapon for both hunting and for practicing. When it comes to hunting, the point is made to have a deeper penetrating capacity. This ensures that once the arrow hits the targeted animal, it will be quite difficult to fall off its body. But the arrows for practicing have a lesser penetrating capacity and easily go off the target they hit.


These come as either feathers or plastic vanes on the arrow’s back. They comprise three or more vanes on the arrow placed at equidistance from each other. Usually, one of them has a different color known as the COCK feather, while the others are called the HEN feathers. The cock feather must point towards the archer as a corrective step in nocking the arrow.


Fletching provides accuracy and stability for the arrow once released from the hit. It institutes a wind drag that propels the arrow, causing the point to hit the target with the desirable force.


This is the main body or part of the arrow. It’s the longest part that comes very straight. Other parts of the arrow are attached to the shaft serves. Shafts are made from different materials such as aluminum, wood, carbon fiber, and others based on their use. Similarly, their lengths, diameter, and spine depend on the shooter and his purpose.


The shaft must have the correct stiffness that matches the bow to produce a good shot. Without that, the arrow’s flight will be inaccurate and zig-zag.


This is the other end of the arrow that usually keeps the arrow within the right position by snapping at the bowstring. The nock usually comes as a plastic tip. It’s very important that the nock hooks on the nocking point on the bowstring. This is what will help you to aim as you draw the string with the arrow.


How To Nocking Arrow

Nocking arrows are in different ways. First, place the nock of the arrow between the two nocking points at the center of the bowstring. For a string with a single nocking point, place the nock below the point.

How To Nocking Arrow

Below are 5 simple steps to nocking arrows for better aiming and shooting.

Position the Arrow

Your nocking process begins with placing it on the bow’s shelf correctly. The shelf is the flat surface of your bow’s cutout. Most bows have a shelf except for a few that don’t. Positioning the arrow can be done in two ways. You could either place it using the gap between the riser and string or move through the string alone. The former is faster and easier, especially as a beginner.

However, where your bow has no shelf, the arrow will remain on your hand throughout the entire nocking process. So, protecting your hand by wearing a suitable hand cover is very necessary while shooting.

Also, ensure that you don’t hold your bow horizontally if you have other archers with you. This is because there’s the possibility of hitting anyone. The best position is a vertical placement for your bow. Also, you should keep your bow pointed downwards all through your nocking process to raise it only when you’re ready to aim and shoot.

Confirm the Orientation of Your Arrow

There are two orientations patterns for attaching an arrow to a bowstring, but it’s only one that is the right. Also, orientation will depend on the type of bow you have. However, incorrect orientation will reduce your shooting accuracy through its clearance issues.

For compound bowstrings, point the cock feather of the fletching upwards. This will help you to prevent clearance issues. With most traditional bows, let the hen feathers of the fletching be near the riser while the cock points away from it.

Position the Nock Within the Bowstring

Getting the nock properly on the string is very crucial. Most bows feature two rubber pieces known as finger guards at the drawing center of the strings. They serve as protection and the perfect nocking point for your arrows. So, you will have to nock your arrow in between the finger guards.

For some strings, there’s just a single nocking point. You will have to position the nock below the point. However, arrows tend to shift upwards. But, the nocking point on its top won’t let it out of position. This will help to keep the arrow in place when you draw the string.

Click the Nock

After positioning the nock within the right nocking point, you should proceed to click it on the string. You just have to press the nock onto the string to either feel or hear the clicking sound. This will secure the arrow on the string even if you are pointing the bow downwards.

Furthermore, you should test the fitting of the nock on the string. If it falls when you point the bow down, it’s an indication that the nock does not fit or match the string. Using an unfitted nock will result in dryfiring of your bow. Your best solution is to either change your arrow nocks or go a string with a bigger size (bigger diameter).

Keep the Arrow On Its Rest

When you get a perfect clicking of the nock against the string, you can position the arrow on the arrow rest. At this stage, your arrow is perfectly ready for shooting. All you need do is to draw, aim and shoot. However, this stage does not apply to a traditional bowstring.

How To Nock An Arrow On A Compound Bow

Nocking a compound bow requires facing the off-colored fletching upwards. With compound bows, the resting of the arrow during the nocking process is not on the plunger or the bow. The arrow rest holds the arrow and will facilitate its shooting from the center of the bowstring.

Preventing clearance issues against the arrow rest is very necessary with a compound bow. So, nocking the arrow, you should endeavor to place the arrow with the cock feather of the fletching pointing upwards.

How To Solve Nock Fitting Issues

The fitting of a nock should not be too tight or loose on the string of your bow. Facing either of these issues demands a change of either the nock of the arrow or the string of the bow.

Detecting a loose-fitting nock is very easy and simple. Once you point the bow downwards, the arrow will simply fall. However, it could be more difficult to notice a tight-fitting nock on a string.

How To Solve Nock Fitting Issues

The following indicators will help you to detect a nock that fits tightly on your bowstring.

  • Applying more force while trying to attach the nock to the string.
  • Deformation of the nock as its attaches to the string.
  • The nock produces a louder clicking sound when nocking it on the string.

When you have the issue of either a tight or loose-fitting nock on your strong, it will affect your shot accuracy. You can change the nock of the arrow to a more suitable size that will perfectly fit the string.

Alternatively, you can replace the string on the bow to accommodate the size of the arrow’s nock.


Nocking arrow correctly is essential to get the best result while using your bowstring. The process may seem very complex for a beginner in archery, but the steps are quite simple and easy to achieve. This article serves as your handy guide on how to nock an arrow effectively.

Remember that a good understanding of the parts of the arrow is very important in your arrow nocking mastery. For example, you should place the cock feather of the arrow’s fletching upwards while nocking the arrow. Also, ensure that your nock fitting on the string is neither too tight nor too loose. In either of such situations, you won’t get accurate shooting on your target.