Bowling is a popular weekend ritual that some of us uphold. Going out with friends to bowl is a simple but incredibly enjoyable way to kill time. It is surely a tradition that no one can skip out on once they get going.
Unfortunately, not all of us are as naturally gifted in bowling as others. The process becomes infinitely more difficult if you’re a beginner.
It even seems infinitely more frustrating when the people around you appear to be complete naturals and swipe the entire place down with apparently no effort at all.
In this article, we’re going through key tips you’re going to need to learn how to bowl better. All you have to know is what exactly to integrate into your bowling manner and routine.
#1 – Select the Perfect Ball Size
The hilarious thing about picking a good ball size is that many people do so based on color preferences, which truly makes no sense at all.
Is it better to bowl with a heavier ball?
It is essential to know exactly how much each ball weighs before scooping one up at random and throwing it on the bowling alley. Their weight can go up to 16 pounds, which is not a suitable weight for everyone.
Sure, you might think that more weight translates to a better chance at knocking down pins, but that is a misconception you need to clear. It is crucial to use a weight that we can consistently throw at a good speed without getting tired too fast.
Most adults will prefer a ball weighing between 10 and 15 pounds.
How to select the right bowling ball weight?
How can you know for sure which weight suits YOU the best?
Here is a way of calculating the perfect ball weight for you:
- Take your weight in pounds. (for example – 160 pounds = 72 kg)
- Divide that number by 11. (160 ÷ 11 = 14.54)
- Round it up to the nearest whole number. (in this case – 15 pounds).
- Start with the ball 1 or 2 pounds lighter and work your way up to your ideal weight. (If you weigh 160 pounds, you should start bowling with a 13 or 14-pounder and then ease into your perfect weight of 15 pounds.)
However, the only way to know for sure is trial and error. Guess what – you need to bowl a lot! At least that’s fun. Here are a few simple pointers you can follow once you start playing:
- What is your weight? If you are naturally a small person, picking up a lighter ball to begin with might be a good choice.
- Listen to your body. Do you experience pain or get tired fast when you ball with a 16-pound ball? It’s time to drop the weight down.
- Do you notice that, as you keep playing, you can’t throw as fast as in the first few rounds? Again, switch to a lighter ball that you can throw at consistent speeds.
- Is the ball feeling too light, and you seem to throw it around way too easily? In this case, it might be better to choose a heavier ball.
Are there any other factors that I should consider?
Firstly, we need to select a ball weight that we can manage, and secondly, the size of the holes is just as important as the weight, if not more.
The way our fingers can grip the ball determines how well we can steer it and manage its force and direction. So, when picking a ball, be mindful of a manageable size and holes into which our fingers can fit well.
This tip is incredibly important because it can help you avoid any unnecessary injuries.
You should be especially aware of your thumb. It should be able to slide in and out of the hole easily without getting stuck. However, it shouldn’t be too loose, or you might want to switch to a different ball.
#2 – Get a Proper Grip
In the spur of the moment, we all tend to take things over a notch or two. The same goes for bowling, especially when we are trying to achieve greater speed and force.
At this moment, we usually stretch our hand and completely distort the momentum of the ball and, frankly, give ourselves a horrible hand cramp in the process too. While our hearts in the right place as we do this, the ball ends up swaying sideways.
Gripping the ball too hard is a good indicator that you’re going to over-stretch your hand. So, keep a proper grip on your ball, and you’ll save yourself a whole lot of pain and frustration.
If you want to know a fool-proof tip on how to bowl better, then simply not holding your ball too tight between your fingers and palms is a good place to get started.
#3 – Master the Approach
If you are messing up your approach every time, you will never learn how to bowl better. It’s important to practice it every time you go to the bowling alley, as consistency is the only way to build a healthy habit.
The 4-step & 5-step approach
There is a 4-step and a 5-step approach, which don’t differ greatly. You should choose the one you feel the most comfortable with, which you can learn only if you try both. Here is a great video explaining the bowling approach basics:
Gauge The Perfect Speed
It would also help if you kept in mind, as an amateur bowler, that a high speed does not automatically indicate that you’re doing well. You need to be the judge and determine which speed works for you.
You need to select and opt for a speed that you cannot not only secure but every time but maintain each time you bowl.
#4 – Learn to Aim Properly
Believe it or not, the targets on the bowling lanes are there to help you and not mock you.
In fact, if you’re clever enough to keep your eye on them as you aim to swing the ball, you’ll be surprised to see how accurate your swings will become and how more likely it will become that you knock more pins down. Targets are a beginner’s best friend since they’re basically forming a beeline for your goal.
Ensuring your ball goes the way you want it to go is not as easy as it appears when you watch someone else play. In addition to the smoothness of the aisle, the mass of the ball makes it quite hard to navigate the ball properly.
So, if you want to learn to bowl better, try visualizing the path the line your ball should take to bowl a strike. It might be surprisingly helpful in improving your aim.
#5 – Make a Flawless Release
You can focus on a perfect swing to make sure that you release the ball perfectly. The notion that the more power you put into your release, the better chances your ball has of reaching the targets is perfectly correct.
However, you still shouldn’t be chucking the ball mindlessly with every ounce of your strength. We hope that, by now, you have realized that bowling is a delicate sport.
Follow your instincts when it comes to letting the ball swing on the lane because your body is an accurate judge of the power you can put into the swing.
Once you know how to hold the ball, then putting as much power you have into the exact instant of the release is a very efficient and smooth technique to get your ball straight towards the pins.
Take a look at this video that covers a lot of important points that we mentioned:
How to Bowl a Strike Every Time – The Checklist
Finally, here is a checklist you can follow to learn how to bowl better in no time:
- Pick the proper weight of the bowling ball.
- Check if your fingers sit comfortably in the holes – not too tight and not too loose.
- Grip lightly but firmly – don’t grab the ball too hard.
- Always start your approach from the same spot. Consistency is key.
- Visualize the line you want your ball to take. This depends on whether you are throwing a hook or a straight ball.
- Ensure that your steps and your throwing arm position sync perfectly. Practice the approach of your choice until it becomes second nature.
- Aim for the pins and keep your eyes on the lane.
- Follow through with your hand in one smooth motion.
- Learn from your mistakes and adapt so you can improve.
In short, bowling is a very exciting and social hobby that takes a combination of good hand-eye coordination and appropriate physical exertion. Being a beginner, this might seem a tad overwhelming.
Still, as you gather experience and keep in mind the above-given pointers, you’ll learn how to bowl better in no time!