How to Start Bowling Like a Pro

Bowling is a wonderful sport. It’s a great way to exercise in a fun, low-impact way. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to connect with friends and family while staying active and having a great time. But if you’ve been bowling for any length of time, at some point you’re going to want to up your game. No matter how much you say it’s just for fun and you don’t care how good you are, eventually you start to want to bowl higher and higher scores. So how do you go about improving your game without just spending hours and hours practicing by yourself?

Equipment

One of the first things that can distinguish a beginner from an experienced or pro bowler is equipment. If you’re still using the bowling balls provided by the bowling alley, you can only improve your game so much. Making that jump to owning your own bowling ball can help you improve your game immensely.  

Bowling Balls

When you’re looking for a good bowling ball, you’ll want to pay the most attention to the weight. An average adult male should be looking at a weight around 14lbs, and adult women and smaller statured men will want to stay around 13lbs. Children should not be using anything above 12lbs. Make sure the weight feels good in your hand, and that the finger grips fit well without being too tight or loose. Another important factor for a good bowling ball is the coverstock, the material used for the outermost layer of the ball. Different coverstocks are better suited for different styles and shots. For an in-depth look at coverstocks, check out this great article by the bowling pros over at Feel Like Strike.

Bowling Shoes

We all know the struggle of using the bowling shoes at the bowling alley. The never fit right, they’re worn out and usually uncomfortably old, and their grip is unreliable, to put it politely. Owning your own pair of bowling shoes lets you be that much more comfortable when you start your bowls, helping you stay in the zone and make better shots. A solid pair of bowling shoes should have a smooth regular sole, and they should fit comfortably. Many bowlers find that their bowling shoes fit best at half a size bigger than their normal shoe size.

Technique

Of course, equipment can only get you as far as your skill will take you. Working on your technique is the best way to start upping your game and improving your score.

Stance

Most beginners are too casual when they step up to the lane. They don’t think about their body, their posture, or their stance. This is equivalent to just winging it. When you step up to bowl, you should adopt a balanced, athletic stance. You should be holding the ball at your chest and slightly towards the right side of your body, or the left side for left-handed players. Support the ball with both hands, the dominant hand fingers in the holes and the supporting hand just helping to balance and support the weight. Keep your knees slightly bent and your shoulders relaxed and back. Remember to keep one foot slightly in front of the other, or else you’ll always be slightly off-balance.

Visualize the Shot

When you first start bowling, every shot could be categorized under the word ‘hope’. You throw the ball out, hoping that you’ve done everything right, and hoping that it will hit the pins just right. As you improve your game, however, you start to grow out of hope and skill begins to play a bigger part. When you’re looking down the lane, before you take a step forward or begin your shot, you should already be visualizing where the ball will go. When you first start doing this you’ll be wrong a lot of the time. That’s okay, being wrong is part of the process of becoming a better bowler. Just be patient and keep trying, eventually you’ll be able to make the ball do just about anything you want just by thinking about it hard enough and focusing.

There are plenty of other tips that can help you become a better bowler, but these are some that are often overlooked. Remember to get equipment that suits you and your play-style. Make sure you have shoes that fit correctly. Focus on your technique, remember that any shot made from an unbalanced stance will always be an unbalanced and uncontrolled shot. Most importantly though, have fun! Becoming a better bowler should be a fun journey, not a stressful one.