How to Bowl Better: Bowling Tips for Beginners
In bowling, it's not whether you win or lose, but how many times you get to do a celebratory dance in front of your friends. The sport of Fred and Barney may be easy to pick up, but it doesn't come with innate knowledge of how to be good at bowling. That's why we put together these tips on how to bowl better and start racking up those turkeys. When you're ready to give these bowling tips a try, click the banner below:
Bowling Tips for Beginners
1. Pick the Right Size Ball
More specifically, an ideal bowling ball weight is around 11–12 pounds for women, and 14–15 pounds for men. That said, weight matters less than finding a snug fit. Though heavier balls knock down pins with more force, ill-fitting finger holes are the surest way to steer your game into the gutter. Try for holes that are just a little larger than your ring size, and don't be afraid to change your ball if you can't grip it well. For more information, read our guide to choosing the right bowling ball.
2. Keep Your Swing Relaxed
In other words, don't put too much muscle into the swing, which results in slower, wonkier throws. Relaxing your swing involves more than taking a deep breath or whispering positive self-affirmations before each turn. It requires balancing the swing with the approach, and knowing where to position the ball at the outset.
3. Find Your Speed
• If you like to approach the line slow, start with the ball at chest level. This ensures that your swing takes as long as you to complete the approach.
• If you like to approach fast, start with the bowling ball somewhere between your thigh and waist since there's not as much time for a full swing.
4. Line up the Shot
Those little dots and arrows on the lane are your friends, but don't just aim for the center. Play around a little:
• To Start: Shoot for the second arrow to the right for right-handed bowlers, but only to gauge your own personal sweet spot.
• Move in the direction of your miss. If you just whiffed by slamming the ball into the far-left pin, move left but aim at the same target.
• Adjust: every lane is different—and even the same lane changes depending on wax levels, warp, and even humidity—so you'll inevitably have to self-correct.
For a more detailed blueprint on pinning down the elusive strike, read our article on how to bowl better by using lane markings.
5. Try Some Bowling Tricks
Use this easy trick to throw a hook. Start off with a light ball, leave the thumb out, and let your palm guide the spin and hook. This is the simplest, easiest way to throw a mean lane-crossing hook. You may actually feel like you have less control over the ball at first, but give it a couple of frames. Once you're comfortable with the grip, the rest will come naturally.
6. Release with Power
Release the ball at the bottom of your downward swing and just aim for the pins. Try not to overthink it. Once you’re past the beginner stage, then you can consider the harder tricks, like the 7-10 split, where your ball has to knock one far rear pin across the lane and into the other far rear pin. It's not easy; pro bowlers take years to master it. If you knock down just one of the pins, you're doing pretty well.
You're probably most familiar with 10-pin bowling. To spice up the game, try these other kinds.
Learn what those arrows on the lane mean...and how you can use them to your advantage.