Bowling is probably one of the easier looking sports to a lot of people. But there's a lot that goes into being a pro, and much to consider before throwing that ball down the lane. From the weight of your ball to the spot you choose to look, every little thing matters if you're trying to achieve that perfect 300.
Want to impress next time you go to the bowling alley? Here are seven bowling tips for beginners that'll help you get started.
Bowling Tips for Beginners: Follow Proper Etiquette
This one isn't so much about your performance in the game as it is about being a decent person. Respect is an important aspect of any sport, and bowling is a game of respect through-and-through.
Things, like wearing bowling shoes, not stepping over the foul line for any reason, and not using others' balls without permission, are among the most basic rules. Another one is to avoid standing on the approach (where you shoot from) while others are bowling. When your ball hits the pins, sit down and let the next person bowl as fast as possible.
Bowling isn't football, it's more like golf. It's okay to get excited, just be respectful about it.
The Right Approach
First thing's first: Your approach. The most widely accepted one is the four-step approach. Stand far enough back so that naturally, within four steps, the foot on the opposite side of your body (the one you're not holding the ball with) lands a few inches from the foul line.
Practice this a few times to find exactly where you should be standing. Don't overstretch your legs or rush it, you want this to feel as natural as possible. Get your approach down and you're well on your way to being a better bowler.
Don't Look at the Pins
Your first instinct when bowling might be to focus on the pins, but that's a beginner's mistake. A better place to look at is the arrows on the lane. There should be seven of these, and the one you want to look at really depends on what type of shot you're trying to make.
Start out by focusing on the center arrow on the lane when you release your ball. You'll notice it goes much straighter. Once you've mastered this you can start working on the left and right arrows, although to really utilize these properly you're going to need to learn how to hook the ball.
Hooking the Ball
Hooking is one of the most important bowling techniques to learn. This means getting the ball to curve, or "hook", when you throw it. Perfecting your hook takes time, so it's important to get practicing as soon as possible.
There are a lot of different guides online detailing the specifics of hooking. You want to go at the lane with a four-step approach and keep your arm entirely straight through the wing. You'll also want to use a fingertip-grip rather than a standard one (don't go as deep into the holes), as this allows for more power.
Visualizing what you want the ball to do helps a lot, and the motion will eventually come naturally. Three things to keep in mind are getting your thumb out of the ball quickly, lifting your fingers toward you on the release, and moving your wrist and hand in a counter-clockwise motion on release. It might sound like a lot to keep in mind, but the motion is fairly natural and makes a lot of sense.
One very important thing to note is that hooking is a lot harder with a house ball as opposed to a custom-bought ball. House balls are usually plastic, and can't get the right amount of traction. Without investing in a good ball, you'll definitely have more trouble getting this down.
Invest in the Right Ball
Using house balls is okay for some, but if you really want to get serious it's time to invest in a ball. Not only will this ensure your ball is the correct size, but also the correct weight. If you're trying to get those hooks down, buying a ball is a must.
A reactive resin ball or particle ball is always a good way to go. They provide the proper amount of traction to get great hooks in with ease.
You'll also want to consider getting custom finger-holes drilled into the ball. This can make a huge difference for a player, since house ball holes are almost always either too tight or too loose.
Follow the Ten-Percent Rule
Always remember the ten-percent rule when purchasing a bowling ball or picking house balls. It's easy: Get a ball that weighs closest to 10% of your total body weight. Keep in mind that the total allowed weight of a bowling ball is 16 lbs, so if 10% of your weight is over 16 lbs, go with a 16 lb ball.
This is one of the easiest beginner bowling tips you can follow to improve your game.
Swing Calmly, Find Your Speed
You might think that the harder you throw the ball the better, but this is untrue. You want to stay relaxed the whole way through, otherwise you risk the chance of releasing too early or late. Power doesn't all come from the strength of your throw, but the setup and technique itself.
Do you like to come at the lane fast, or slow? If you're a speedy bowler, you'll want to start with the ball nearer to your waist, and if you're slower you should start with the ball up at your chest. Give yourself time and space to follow through completely, and work with your natural bowling speed rather than trying to modify it.
Don't let the frustrations of an imperfect game get you down. Try these simple bowling tips for beginners and you'll notice a significant increase in your skills almost immediately.
Feel free to contact me with any questions, suggestions, or concerns, and check out some other great articles on the site.