WestC0T's Bowling Tips [The Definitive Guide]


killer_jd101

Posted: 2 months ago

Method One --------

1) Know where you want the ball to hit. Strikes are most common when the ball hits the "pocket," the space between the front centre pin and the next pin behind it, directly. For right handed bowlers this means curving the ball so it strikes right between the front pin and the second pin on the right. This scatters the front set of pins, cascading them into all of the pins behind them.

Key Points for this section:

- More power means the pins scatter faster, potentially knocking over more pins.

- Curving the ball is essential to hit consistent strikes. Remember to work on snapping your fingers and wrist as you follow through.

- Left-handers want to hit between the front pin and the left pin in the second row.
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2) Know how lane conditions affect your throw for strikes. An unknown secret of bowling is that every lane is a little different. Lanes are oiled up so that the ball glides straight over the wood without hooking constantly. When the ball is in less oiled, or "dry" areas, it tends to hook more, taking it off the line you threw it on. To make matters even more complicated, the lane patterns will change throughout the game. But bowling your best game ever requires you to read the lane and adjust your shots accordingly, not throwing the same shot 23 times.

Key Points for this section:

- The most common pattern is wet in the front and middle, and dry on the outsides and back, like a big triangle of oil pointing into the centre of the lane. This means a throw to the outside will curve back to the middle, where a throw in the middle might not curve until the last second. This is why you aim out to the side, instead of down the centre -- it cause the ball to move out, then curve back in right to the pocket.

- As the day goes on, oil gets picked up by the balls, making the lane drier and causing the shots to hook more.

- Many tournaments have "alternate" oil patterns that force you to change your shots to get strikes. Ask to see an oil pattern or warm-up with different angles and starting positions to find your strike mark.
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3)
Find your strike mark while warming up. Starting in the centre and throwing for the arrow just to the right of centre (right-handers) is a great starting place to learn strikes, but you need to adjust it for your personal thrown. Make sure you watch the arrow you throw at, not the pins. If you are hitting your mark, but still missing the pocket, you should move your starting position.

Key Points for this section:

- If your ball is going too far to the left, move 2-3 boards to the left. This means your throw will angle more to the right, giving it more time to curve back to the left.

- If your ball is moving too far to the right, move your feet 2-3 boards to the right. This will get your ball out of the oil, allowing it to curve more back to the centre.

- If you still have trouble, or the ball is hooking a ton, move your mark to the right or left. The closer to centre your mark is, the less the ball will hook. However, you should move your starting position first.
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4)
Move your starting stance closer to the centre as the lane dries up. Near the end of a game, especially with a big group, you may notice your normal shots are hooking more to the centre and you're missing the pocket. As you notice your shots curving more to the centre, move 1-2 boards to the left (right-handed throwers) and keep throwing at your normal mark, the arrow just to the right of the centre arrow. Focus, again, on having the centre of the ball hit this mark, not on the pins. If you're hitting your mark but still missing pins, move your feet starting position to accommodate.

Key Points for this section:

- This extra hook happens because the balls pick up oil throughout the game, removing it from the lane and causing it to dry out. A dry lane hooks more.
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Method Two --------

1)Understand how scoring works to plan your shots well. Knowing how bowling is actually scored helps you decide which pins to go for and when. The basics are easy -- there are ten pins, and each pin you hit is worth a point. However, spares and strikes are worth more than just 10 pins. Strikes (X) are worth 10 points, plus whatever you hit on the next two throws. Spares (/) are worth 10 points, plus whatever you hit on the next throw. This means a single frame can be worth more than 10 points if you get a strike or spare.

Key Points for this section:

- For example, say you throw a strike in the first frame. In the second frame you hit 2 pins on the first throw and 3 on the next one for 5 total pins. Your first frame would be worth 15 points (10 for the strike, + 2 for the first throw and + 3 for the second). You still score, however, the 5 points from the second frame too. So your total score, after two frames, is 20 points (15+2+3).

- If your throw three strikes in a row, your first frame is worth 30 points, 10 for the strike, plus 10 for the second frame and 10 for the third frame. You cannot score you second and third frames until you take another throw.

- Spares add to your next shot only. So, if I throw a spare in one frame, then throw a gutter ball immediately after, my spare is only worth 10 points (10+0), no matter what I do after that. A spare followed by a strike is worth 20 points (10+10).

- If you throw a strike or spare in the 10th frame you get a free shot at the end, making the 10th frame the only one with three potential rolls. Thus you should always go for the spare in the 10th frame.
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2) Remember that speed makes it easier to pickup spares. Higher speeds mean there is less time for the ball to react and turn off line. Practice a straight, consistent spare shot and you will beat many a people who throw the same shot every time. Everybody can strike. Not everybody spares.
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3) Lower, or "weaken," your wrist on your shot to get less spin and a straighter throw. This provides a more accurate shot, as less spin means the ball will hook less. To weaken your wrist, start your shot with your wrist curved slightly down, towards the floor. On your follow through, don't let your wrist and fingers snap up as much. This may take some practice, but changing wrist positions is one of the most important skills for intermediate or advanced bowlers.
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4) Adjust your starting position based on your spare. By adjusting your starting position you can often throw right at your normal mark and still get a spare. The boards on the lane (thin wooden pieces running to the pins) are made to give you a measurement system for aiming. If you need to hit a pin left of the centre, you move several boards to the right, and vice verse. You then throw at the same mark you aim at for strikes. The system is actually pretty easy to learn and is reversed for the opposite direction of throws.

Key points for this section:

- If you want to hit the first pin to the left of the centre, move your start position 3 boards to the right.

- If you want to hit the second pin to the left of the centre, move 6 boards to the right.
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5) Use the middle of the lane when trying to hit the far right and left pins. Most lanes are the slickest in the middle. Oil is applied to lanes in complex patterns that determine how much a ball hooks -- more oil means less hook, or a straighter, more accurate shot. Since a right-hander going after the far right pins doesn't want the ball to curve to the middle, you should throw diagonally across centre instead. This ensures a straighter flight, curving just a bit at the end to avoid the gutter and hitting all the pins.

Key points for this section:

- For example, there may be one solo pin on the far right side of the lane. While you could try and hug the gutter, the ball will naturally want to spin to the centre because the outside of the line is low on oil. Instead, start your walk from the far left of the lane, throwing the ball from the left diagonally, across the middle, to the far right pins.
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6) Aim for the most pins possible during a split. Unless you are skilled enough to hit the outside edge of a lone pin, shooting it like a missile at the pack of three pins in the back corner, you should take the sure-fire three pins. This is especially important if you threw a strike the previous frame, because any pins you hit now get counted twice, once for the strike and once in this frame.

Key points for this section:

If you didn't get a strike in the previous frame, you might be more likely to take a risk now, trying to get a spare to boost your score for later.
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