There is no better feeling than delivering a perfect strike and watching every pin on the lane collapse at your command. Apart from being a competitive and fun game, bowling also offers numerous incredible benefits, including muscle strengthening and toning, improved social life, weight loss, reduced risk of diseases, improving balance and flexibility as well as enhancing coordination. Bowling is also a great stress reliever. However, just like any other sport, it’s important to master proper bowling techniques whether you are a casual, recreational or professional bowler. Here are some bowling tips and tricks that will help you to bowl like a pro.
Wear the Right Shoes
Whenever you are bowling at the alley, you must wear the right type of shoes. Unlike conventional footwear, bowling shoes come with softer soles, designed to help you deliver an accurate shot while protecting the approach area surface. While you might be contented with renting a pair every time you visit the bowling alley, it’s highly advisable to purchase your own pair of bowling shoes.
One of the most important reasons why you need to purchase your own shoes is the issue of fit and comfort. If you purchase your own shoes, you will choose the right fit and size, making sure they provide you with ample comfort whenever you are bowling. Most rental shoes will not give you the comfort and stability that you need to deliver a better shot or enhance your skills. Also, you should note that rental bowling shoes are normally worn several times by different people. And as you probably know, it’s almost impossible to wash every pair after it has been worn. Therefore, rental shoes might not be as clean as you would want them to be. But when you have your own shoes, you can be washing them after every session, making sure they remain clean and fresh. There is also the issue of cost. Renting a pair of shows at the bowling alley will cost you approximately $4 every time you use them. On the other hand, purchasing a pair of shoes will cost you $30 or even less. If you plan to go bowling regular, then it’s more economical to buy your own pair.
Now that you already know the benefits of buying your own bowling shoes, what factors should you consider when purchasing a pair? First, you need to consider your level of experience. If you are a beginner, inexpensive bowling shoes should do just fine. You can then upgrade later as you enhance your skills. Size and fit are equally important when buying bowling shoes. As noted above, if your bowling shoes don’t fit well, then they affect the delivery and accuracy of your shot. When buying bowling shoes, you will come across two main types – performance bowling shoes and athletic bowling shoes.
Athletic shoes are designed for casual bowlers and recreational bowlers. They are perfect for beginners or anyone who doesn’t aspire to be a professional bowler. Athletic bowling shoes come with sliding soles on both shoes, and they can be used both by left-handed bowlers and right-handed bowlers. On the other hand, professional bowling shoes are designed for serious or professional bowlers. Apart from being pricier than athletic shoes, performance bowling shoes also tend to be more specialized. One shoe is designed for sliding while the other one is meant for braking. Performance bowling shoes are specifically designed for left-handed bowlers and right-handed bowlers. For instance, if you are a right-handed bowler, the left show will be the sliding shoe while the right shoe will be the breaking shoe and vice versa. Some models come with interchangeable sole pads, which you can alternate, depending on the bowling surface as well as your style. Whichever you are a casual bowler, a left-handed bowler or a right-handed bowler, make sure that you choose a pair of shoes that you are comfortable with.
Choose the Right Ball
Just like bowling shoes, it’s important to choose the right bowling ball if you want to avoid injuries and bowl well. Whether you are purchasing your own ball or using one from the alley, you need a bowling ball that suits your level of experience, fits your style and meets your needs. If you are using a house ball, then the two most important things you should consider are the finger holes and the ball weight. Also, you should inspect the cover carefully to see whether there are any chunks, dents or other surface imperfections that might affect its roll.
House balls at the alley are available in a wide range of weights. As much as there is no fixed and definitive formula on what weight you should go for, make sure the ball is not too heavy or too light. If the ball that you choose is too heavy, then you will struggle the entire game. On the other hand, if it’s too light, then it might not give you enough power to launch accurate shots. Therefore, the right weight can mean a world of difference at the bowling alley. One of the easiest ways of selecting the ideal weight of a bowling ball is extending your arm and then placing the ball on the palm. If you can comfortably hold the ball for at least 5 seconds without losing your balance, then the weight is ideal for you. And if you are still unsure about the weight, then you should stick to the 10% rule. A bowling ball should weigh approximately 10% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, then you should go for a 12-pound ball.
As noted above, finger holes are equally important when selecting a ball at the bowling alley. Every bowling ball comes with holes for the ring finger, the middle finger and most importantly, the thumb. The thumbhole should be big enough but snug. It should allow the thumb to come out easily and smoothly, without any resistance. If the thumbhole is too large, then you will place additional strain on the thumb joint, leading to poor shots. You might also end up with injuries on your thumb. As for the finger holes, they should big enough so that you can insert your fingers deeply up to the second knuckle. After bowling for a few sessions and grasped the basics, you might want to purchase your own ball. If you intend to bowl regularly, then it’s highly advisable to buy your own ball, personalized to your hand. Whether you will be using the house balls or you intend to purchase your own ball, having the right fit and size will lead to better overall performance.
Aiming the Shot
After you’ve chosen your bowling ball and learned how to grip the ball properly, it’s important to learn how and where you should aim the ball, to ensure you knock down a maximum number of pins. There are various main aiming techniques in bowling. They include pin bowling, arrow bowling, line bowling and spot bowling, among others. Pin bowling is the most popular aiming technique for beginners. In pin bowling, you simply need to select a gap between the pins or choose one of the pins and then aim directly at that spot. Pin bowling is also an effective bowling technique for recreational bowlers. It’s easy, direct and straight forward. Spot bowling tends to be more advanced. Instead of aiming at the pins directly, you will be using the dots and arrows on the line to line up your shots. If you use the arrows to line up your shots, then that is known as arrow bowling. And if you line up your shots using the dots, then that is spot bowling. Learning how to aim properly is a product of trial and error. But with consistent practice, you will eventually discover what works best for you with each stroke.
Making the Approach
Mastering the approach is vital if you want to bowl more strikes at the bowling alley. However, it requires proper timing and coordination. The most common approach techniques are four-step and five-step. Most professional bowlers use the 5-step approach while the 4-step approach is most common among beginners. Whether you are using the 5-step or 4-step approach, the most important thing is to keep your head up, your shoulders square, pace even and consistent and arm swing smooth. During the approach, ensure you keep your wrist and hand firm. When you put all the components together – hand and wrist positioning, timing, power, speed and steps, you should deliver a clean strike. On the other hand, if your approach is poor, then your throw will also be poor. You also need to master how to release the bowling ball. Without a doubt, release has a direct effect on the accuracy of your shot. Just like other aspects of bowling, timing is vital. Getting the timing right requires plenty of practice. And once you release the ball, make sure you follow it through.
Bowling is a fun and interactive sport that is perfect for unwinding with friends or spending time with family. On the other hand, it’s also quite competitive. And for a few people, it can become a lucrative career. Whether you want to advance your skills or you just want to become a casual bowler, bowling is more enjoyable when you take the time to learn and master it. By using the right gear and following the above tips, you will soon be bowling like a pro.