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Just like any other sport, you will need to put in some time and practice in bowling to become a professional or at least advance to the next level. But just to make that practice time shorter, we have put together the best and most efficient tips and techniques and become the best bowler you can ever become.
There are already some simple tools to help, like the arrows and the dots which can assist you in aiming and targeting your shot. But many people don’t even notice them or know why they’re there.
How To Be A Better Bowler?
For those of you who want to know more and learn how to bowl, we have put together this ultimate guide with the best bowling techniques to get you through step-by-step.
Keep in mind that bowling is a sport, and you should do some stretching and warm up before starting to prevent injuries.
Part 1: How to Throw a Bowling Ball
1. Grab A Bowling Ball That Fits Comfortably In Your Hands
There are different types of bowling balls nowadays which can result in various reactions on the lane.
The ball should not be too light which might let you lose control and accuracy, and it doesn’t have to be too heavy which might affect your arms and may result in injuries.
Of course, it is always better to get your ball instead of renting or using the available ones.
WHY? Because it is almost impossible to find a random ball that fits your hands perfectly.
The perfect ball: One with holes that your fingers are firm inside but could come out without sticking.
2. Get Yourself A Pair Of Bowling Shoes
Just like you take care of any of your shoes, your bowling shoes should be taken care of as well.
Good shoes have a smooth, regular sole that should fit you comfortably.
*Pro Tip: Get a half size bigger than your normal shoe size.
Your feet will be more comfortable as you bowl.
3. Have An Upright Bowling Stance
One of the most important factors that could get you good or bad scores is how you hold the ball.
Make sure you have your fingers in the ball and balance it on your palm. Use your other hand to support the weight. The ball should be slightly to the side of your body in alignment with the seam of your shirt.
Your knees should be slightly bent, and your shoulders relaxed.
*Pro Tip: Keep your wrist firm and straight, it should be aligned with the extension of your arm.
4. Identify Your Target
Look at your target. It is almost impossible to hit your target without looking at it. And NO, your target is NOT the pins!
You will notice that there are seven arrows down the lane. Most beginners aim for the one in the middle which eventually has the highest probability to lead to a split. You should be aiming either to the right side of the middle arrow if your right handed, and to the left side if you’re left-handed.
To make it easier, try moving your feet to the right or left before you start approaching the lane so that your feet are lined up with your target, and then just throw straight ahead.
5. Time Your Approach
Timing is crucial.
You will have to time your approach so that your opposite foot of your throwing arm is in front when you want to release the ball.
The classic approach is the 4-step approach. To have your opposite foot, in the end, start with the same side of your throwing arm. (Right foot first for right-handers / Left foot first for left-handers).
On your last step, your right foot should swing out of the way behind your left foot, allowing you to throw the ball freely.
An easy way to know your best starting point is to start at the foul line and walk four steps back
*Pro Tip: Make your approach as simple as it could be.
The simpler it is, the easier it is to do it more consistently, and it will be simpler to identify mistakes and fix them.
6. The Swing
The swing should start with your first step. As you take your first step, push the ball out in front till your arm is fully extended and use your other hand to support the weight of the ball.
On the second step, the ball should drop making your throwing arm and the opposite leg almost even. Keep your grip to the ball and let it fall freely arcing behind you like a pendulum.
Keep in mind that the ball should start slightly beside you, and should swing in a straight line as illustrated in the image.
As you take your third step, the ball should continue going behind you and up as much as it can go.
As it has reached the maximum height, gravity will force it back down. On this step (fourth and last step), your opposite leg should be in front and planted by the foul line while your other leg should swing back behind it to get out of the way of your shot.
*Pro Tip: Do NOT include muscles in the swing. Let it flow freely.
7. The Release
Now that you have reached the foul line, it’s time to release the ball.
To have a better release, your knee should be bent to make the ball closest to the ground.
Throwing the ball from a high position, will first of all damage the lane and will also result in inconsistent throws.
To have a proper release, keep your hand behind the ball and let the ball out with a straight arm aiming towards your target.
*Pro Tip: Do NOT look at the pins, look at your target.
Bowling Release Tips:
Here’s a short video to understand more and improve your release.
8. Follow Through.
To protect your arm and avoid injury, follow through your shot and let your arm continue its movement upwards.
Part 2: How To Bowl Strikes
More speed and hook doesn’t mean more strikes. To get a strike you will need to have the proper entry angle, speed, and rotation on the ball.
If any of these factors are slightly off, chances of missing the right spot.
1. Hitting The Sweet Spot
Now after you have learned how to throw the ball, you should focus on getting more strikes.
It is not only hitting the pins; there is what is called the “pocket” – the space between the first center pin and the one behind it – which is the best spot to hit to increase your strikes rate.
This is where targeting comes in place. Your target should be that one exact point that will allow the ball to roll into the pocket and get you a strike.
Why do professional bowlers hook the ball into the pocket?
Learn the secret of getting a strike EVERY TIME!
2. Control Your Speed
Speed is an important factor to be taken into consideration when trying to get a strike.
You might think that the more power you put into the ball, the more pins it will knock down.
From a physics point of view, it does. But ball speed has a huge effect on your accuracy.
It’s good to have a relatively fast ball but don’t force it.
The more you increase the force and put speed into the ball, the more accuracy you will lose.
Part 3: How To Pick Up Spares
Ideally, you will want to throw a strike on every shot. Unfortunately, it’s much harder than that.
Picking up spares is an important factor to keep up your scores and missing one might make you lose the game.
Most bowlers use a plastic “spare ball” to pick up certain spares as it’s easier to hit your target with a straight ball.
The 3-6-9 Spare Shooting System
It is the most common method for picking up spares and probably the easiest to learn, which you will have to move your feet 3, 6, or 9 boards either to the left or right side from your starting point depending on which pin you are targeting.
IMPORTANT: You will only be moving your feet to the right or left side, but your target should remain the same.
Now that the idea is clear let’s have an example.
Assume that; you throw your first shot standing on the big middle dot (board 20), and your target is the third arrow from the right (board 15).
To get the pins on the left side, you will have to move to the right side.
|Pin #2||17||3 boards – right|
|Pin #4||14||6 boards – right|
|Pin #7||11||9 boards – right|
To get the pins to the right side, you will have to start by identifying your line hitting the 10 pin.
So, assume your line of getting the 10 pin is standing two dots left from the big middle one (board 30), you will have to move 3, 6 boards to the right to get the 3 & 6 pins.
|Pin #6||27||3 boards – right|
|Pin #3||24||6 boards – right|
Of course, the 3-6-9 spare system doesn’t apply and work with anyone. So don’t be afraid to modify it.
Some people do better with a 2-4-6 system, or even 5-10-15!
So it’s all about finding what works best for you and sticking to it.
Another way to know where to stand and how to move is to get the what is called “Dial-A-Spare.”
Avoid Emotional Response
In bowling, being calm is a key factor.
I know it sucks to miss your target or leave an open frame, but make sure no to get emotional.
If you let your emotions take over your game, you will start losing your accuracy and technique.
You have to keep in mind that bowling is one of the sports that you will never have complete control over the conditions. Many factors can affect your game, like the oiling pattern or even the other players playing on the same lane.
Final Take Out:
Bowling is both a mental as well as physical game.
Take note of the tips mentioned above and start implementing the next time you go bowling.
Still Want To Improve More?
Here are some great resources to help you through.
Another great resource is to learn how to bowl is to learn from the one and only Norm Duke.
Get your hands on his complete training DVD.
Now that you have been through the whole thing, I’m sorry to say that bowling is not as easy of just reading an article, and you’re all good.
As mentioned, it needs time and practice. But these here are for sure some good tips for bowling a better game.