No matter if you are an avid league bowler or just a casual fan that enjoys the game with friends, everyone who steps up to the lane wants the same thing – a strike. Follow these simple steps for knocking down all ten pins next time you visit the bowling center.
The first step is making sure to select the proper ball. For this lesson we will assume you don’t have your own ball and are using a house ball. To select the proper weight, hold the ball out in front of your body. If you can hold the ball straight out in both hands for a couple seconds, you’re at the right weight. If it is too easy, try using a heavier ball. Too hard? Choose a lighter option. You should be able to hold the ball for 2-3 seconds without strain. Also, choose a ball with holes that give you a snug but comfortable grip. A “conventional” grip is inserting your thumb all the way into the larger hole and your middle and ring fingers into the other two holes.
Next is figuring out where to start your approach. Stand with your back to the lane and your heels at the foul line, take four and a half normal steps away from the pins and using your toes, spin back around so you’re facing the pins. This is where you’ll want to start. Finding a reference board or a dot close to this spot on the floor will help get you back to the same place.
Next choose a target on the lane and align your feet so the ball is aimed at the 1-3 pocket for right handers, or 1-2 for left handers
Delivering a straight ball directly at the head pin isn’t the best option for strikes, aiming for a “pocket” (head pin and the pin next to it) with some angle is a better option. Example: A right handed player places their feet a couple dots to the right of center and aims between the 1st and 2nd arrows on the lane to hit the 1-3 pocket, and a left-handed bowler aims for the 1-2.
If the ball hooks instead of going straight, align your feet with the center dot and aim toward the second arrow from the right, or from the left, to let the ball hook back toward the pocket.
You’re now ready to begin your approach and as you walk, swing your arm in line with your target(s) during the approach. To learn to hook the ball, follow through and pretend to shake someone’s hand as you’re releasing the ball.
If you’re hitting your mark but missing the pocket an easy correction is to adjust your starting position by moving your feet in the direction you missed the pocket. (Miss the pocket to the right, move your feet to the right, miss left/move left.) This is called a diagonal adjustment, just remember to keep the target the same.
With this information and practice your ball can strike the pocket almost every time. Get out there and bowl those strikes!