Bowling is one of the oldest sports in existence, with roots stretching back to Ancient Egypt, and is hugely popular – according to statistics, there are over 3 million bowlers in the United States alone.
To bowl a strike, you need to master three things: Your grip, your stance, and your release point.
How often during a game of bowling do you find yourself getting frustrated because you miss the pins, roll the ball into the gutter, or get a bad angle on your ball?
The answer is probably too often – this is a situation that is familiar to many of us.
Fortunately for you, we have put together everything you need to know to bowl a perfect strike with a straight ball – all you have to do is read, absorb and implement – you will be bowling perfect strikes in next to no time.
What Is Bowling?
Bowling is a sport where players use a hard rubber ball to knock down ten wooden pins placed at regular intervals along a lane.
Each player rolls his own ball and attempts to knock down as many pins as possible, and the object of the game is to score more points than the other players by knocking down more pins per frame.
The history of bowling dates back to Ancient Egypt, where excavations have uncovered evidence of early bowling games dating back to 5000 BC.
In modern times, bowling was first introduced to America in the late 1700s when it was brought from England by immigrants who settled in New York City.
Today, bowling is played worldwide and is popular among both children and adults alike.
The Perfect Bowling Ball
One of the main secrets to succeeding in bowling is to ensure that you choose the right bowling ball, and this is a decision that can be more complex than it first appears.
There are a number of considerations to bear in mind when choosing the right ball, and these include:
The weight of your bowling ball will be amongst the most significant factors in your decision. You want to make sure that your ball is light enough so that it spins easily but heavy enough to give you good control.
If you are new to bowling, then you should start out with a lighter ball and work up to a heavier ball as you gain experience.
Bowling balls also come in a variety of materials, with the most popular being plastic (the most common type), wood, and composite.
Wood balls tend to be cheaper than their plastic counterparts, while composite balls are usually the heaviest option available.
The best option in terms of material will depend on what kind of feel you prefer, as well as your experience and confidence.
Durability is another important consideration when selecting a bowling ball. While some people may think that they can buy cheap bowling balls, there are actually very few options available if you want a durable ball.
Cheap bowling balls are typically made of poor-quality plastics which break quickly under pressure, and so you can actually end up spending more in an attempt to replace balls that are already broken.
Finally, consider the style of the ball you would like to purchase. Some people prefer a traditional look, while others enjoy a sleeker design.
The choice between these two styles depends on personal preference, as well as whether you plan to play competitively or just for fun.
What Are The Different Styles Of Bowling?
There are two different types of bowling that are commonly used today:
This is the original form of bowling, and involves using a single hand to roll the ball, which contains holes to grip, towards the pins. It is one of the oldest forms of bowling and has been around since ancient times.
Unlike alley bowling, which is typically played in alleys across the world, lawn bowling involves balls that do not have holes for fingers. Instead, they are held in the palm of the hand, and then rolled towards pins set out on the lawn.
This is usually played outside and though the basic principle is the same, the equipment is different.
What Is Straight Ball Bowling?
Straight ball bowling is the modern version of the sport and involves releasing the ball straight down the lane, without the player rotating their fingers, or putting any spin on the ball.
This allows the ball to travel in a single, straight-line straight in the direction of the pins, with no need for any extra effort or fancy moves.
Straight ball bowling is often favored by beginners to the sport, as it is simple, easy to pick up and master, and does not require much practice.
However, this form of bowling is also very effective and can be used by advanced players who wish to improve their game.
The Best Ways To Improve Your Game
If you have decided to take up bowling, then you should know that there are many ways to improve your skills. Here are some of the top tips to get you started:
Practice Makes Perfect
If you are new to the sport, then you will probably find yourself struggling at first. Don’t worry though, because practicing is the only way to become good at anything!
You can use your spare time to practice or even set aside specific hours each week to focus solely on improving your game.
Improve Your Grip
If you are having trouble holding onto the ball properly, then you might benefit from trying out a grip training device.
These devices allow you to practice gripping the ball correctly and can help you to develop a better hold on the ball.
Learn How To Roll
Learning how to roll the ball is essential, and can make all the difference to your game. If you don’t feel comfortable rolling the ball, then you should try practicing with a friend or family member.
They can show you what they do when they are playing, so you can copy them instead.
Get The Right Shoes For Bowling
When you start off learning how to bowl, you will likely want to wear regular shoes. However, if you are serious about becoming an expert bowler, then you should invest in high-quality bowling shoes.
These shoes are specially made to help you control the speed of the ball, and ensure that you hit the target every time.
Bowling takes patience, and it is important to remember that you won’t always strike the ball perfectly. Instead, just keep working hard, and you will eventually master the art of bowling.
Choose The Right Ball
As we have mentioned, there are different types of balls available, but you should choose one based on the type of bowling you plan to play. There are three main types of bowling balls:
- Regular Bowling Balls – Used for recreational games
- Lightweight Bowling Balls – Ideal for beginner players
- Heavyweight Bowling Balls – Ideal if you are planning to compete in tournaments
Types Of Grips Used In Bowling
There are two basic grips that you can use when bowling:
Grip 1 – The Standard Grip
This is the most common grip used in bowling and consists of using both hands to hold the ball. It is recommended that you use this grip until you are confident enough to use other grips.
Grip 2 – The Reverse Grip
This grip is similar to the standard grip, except that you place your thumb over the seam of the ball. This allows you to spin the ball more easily.
The type of grip you use depends on the type of game you are going to play. If you are looking to learn how to bowl, then you should stick to the standard grip. This ensures that you are able to fully control the movement of the ball.
Types Of Bowling
The sport of bowling comes in a number of types, and the most common types include:
Tenpin bowling is the traditional form of bowling. It involves throwing ten wooden pins into a large circular area called a ‘lane’. Each pin has a score attached to it, and the aim is to knock down as many pins as possible.
Ninepin bowling uses a smaller ball that traditionally does not contain finger holes. Instead, it is designed to be thrown by hand.
Candlepin bowling is played with the tallest pins of all the options, and these tend to be 16 inches tall, as well as being thin. The ball used is the lightest of any style of bowling, and no fallen pins will be removed during a frame.
In duckpin bowling, the pins are short and squat, and a handheld ball is once again used.
Five Pin Bowling
With five-pin bowling, the height of the pins tends to sit between that of candlepins and duckpins, and this is a form that is predominantly found in Canada.
What Should I Wear When Bowling?
A key element of successful bowling is making sure that you have the right outfit, and there are a number of elements to this:
While bowling, you need to ensure that you are comfortable and that you do not get too hot or cold. You also need to make sure that you have clothes that allow you to move freely without getting tangled up.
When you are playing, you need to make sure that your footwear is appropriate. If you are wearing shoes that are too tight, they may cause blisters, and you could also damage your feet.
On the other hand, if you wear shoes that are too loose, you risk tripping over them – not only can this hinder your ability to play properly, but it can be dangerous.
The Key Bowling Terms You Need To Know
To improve your bowling game, there are a few bowling terms that you will need to get your head around, and these include:
A spare is scored when you knock down half of the pins on your first attempt, and then the remainder on your second attempt.
A strike is scored when you bowl a ball and knock down all the pins in one go.
Bumper pins are small, square pins that are placed at the end of each row of pins. They act as a safety measure and prevent pins from being knocked off their positions.
The pins are what you are trying to knock down, and they come in different sizes. The smallest size is known as a “bobbin”, which measures 6 inches across, while the largest is known as a ‘tenpin’, which measures 10 inches across.
There are also larger versions of these pins, such as the ‘dunkin’ and ‘duckpin’.
This refers to the lane where you are bowling. You will guide the ball down the lane towards the pins, and attempt to knock down as many as you can in one go.
This is the place where you record your scores. This is usually located at the back of the lane, and it shows how many pins you have knocked down.
How To Increase Your Bowling Score: The Stance And Swing Of A Bowler
As mentioned earlier, the stance and swing of a bowler is an important part of the game, and it is something that you should work on improving.
As a beginner, you should focus on learning how to stand correctly, and how to hold the ball correctly. Once you feel confident about these two things, you can start to think about improving your technique.
Your stance is the position that you take when you are standing next to the lane. It is important to keep your weight evenly distributed throughout your body so that you do not fall over.
You also need to ensure that you have your hands close together and that you are holding the ball with both hands.
When you are ready to bowl, you should raise yourself onto the balls of your feet, and then lift your knees slightly.
You must learn how to use your hips to create power behind your shots. You should try to imagine that you are throwing a baseball and that you are using the same motion for your shot.
In order to achieve this, you need to bend your knees, and then straighten them out again. You should aim to release the ball at the moment that your elbow reaches its highest point.
When you release the ball, you should aim to throw it in a way that allows it to travel as far as possible. You should try to avoid letting the ball hit the floor or roll away from you.
Once you have released the ball, you should follow through by keeping your arm extended until you reach the end of the lane.
If you want to increase your score, you should make sure that you finish your delivery with a strong follow-through.
How Can I Improve My Chances Of A Strike?
If you want to improve your chances of getting a strike, you should practice your form regularly.
You may find that you get better results if you practice more than once per week. However, you should always be aware of any injuries that you might suffer during the course of your training sessions.
If you are going to play a tournament, you should concentrate on practicing your form before the event.
You should also try to warm up properly, and you should ensure that you are fully prepared for the conditions that you will face.
The tips above should help you to improve your chances of scoring strikes. There are other aspects of the game that you should consider too.
For example, you should remember to maintain good balance, and you should watch out for the number of frames that you knock down.
How To Bowl A Strike With A Straight Ball: Step By Step Guide
In this section, we will take a closer look at how to bowl a perfect strike with a straight ball, and offer a complete step-by-step guide.
1. Stand Correctly
It is very important to stand correctly when bowling. This means that you should place your feet shoulder-width apart and that you should have your toes pointing towards the middle of the lane.
You should also ensure that you are balanced and that your weight is evenly distributed throughout your body – this will help you to balance
2. Raise Yourself Up On The Balls Of Your Feet
Once you have placed your feet correctly, you should raise yourself up on the balls of your feet as you prepare to throw, and when you release the ball – according to experts.
This action helps you to generate more power when you throw the ball. As you swing your arm through – we will take a closer look at this momentarily – bring your feet upwards slightly at the same time.
This will help you maximize the power in your quads and upper legs, and keep your core steady.
3. Bend Your Elbow And Follow Through
You should now begin to lower your arms. As soon as your elbows drop below your shoulders, you should start swinging your arms forward. At the same time, you should push your hands downwards.
Once you have completed your swing, you should continue to follow through by extending your arms completely.
4. Swing Your Arms Backwards
As you extend your arms, you should swing them backwards when holding the ball, and swing through smoothly when you go to throw.
This movement should be smooth and continuous from back to front, as this will increase your chance of a straight ball and a successful outcome.
Practice without the ball at first -the aim is to bring your arm from back to front as smoothly as possible. Once this motion feels comfortable, try adding the weight of the ball.
5. Keep Your Shoulders Square
As you follow through, you should keep your shoulders square. This will prevent you from letting your head go forward or backward and will ensure that your momentum follows the ball through in the right direction – forward.
Moving your body from side to side can impact the accuracy of your throw.
6. Throw The Ball From Your Waist
When you have finished following through, you should release the ball from your waist. When you throw the ball, you should aim to hit the center of the pins.
7. Sweep Your Arm Towards The Middle Of The Lane
As you sweep your arm towards the middle of the lanes, you should make sure that your elbow stays close to your side. If your elbow moves away from your side, then you will lose some of your power, as well as your accuracy.
Keep your elbows tucked in close to the sides of the body, and point your body in the direction you are aiming for – we will take a closer look at this momentarily.
8. Concentrate On Your Next Shot
Even if you miss a shot, you should still concentrate on your next one – as with any sport, there is a psychological element to bowling.
It is important not to let yourself get distracted or disheartened by a missed score or opportunity, but instead to focus on moving forward.
9. Take Care Not To Let Your Head Go Forward Or Backward
At all times, you should watch out for any unnecessary movements with your head. These may cause you to lose concentration and thus result in an error, as well as increasing your risk of neck injury.
Remember that wherever you look with your head and neck, the rest of your body will follow – and this includes your arm. Face your whole body the way that you are aiming your throw, and increase your accuracy.
10. Use Your Whole Body To Rotate Your Upper Body
In order to rotate your upper body, you should use your entire body. This may sound confusing, but the concept is pretty simple – rather than simply turn your shoulders, neck, and head, aim to ensure that the turn comes from your core and lower body.
You should try to turn your hips first, followed by your torso, and finally your head, as this will reduce the risk of you cracking or damaging your neck, and will offer more stability and strength in your turn.
11. Aim For The Center Of The Pins
In order to score well in the game of tenpin bowling, you need to aim for the center of the pins instead of aiming for the outer edges.
If you hit the inner pins, they are more likely to knock others closer to the edge as they fall, and this can increase your chances of a strike without any extra effort on your part.
12. Make Sure That You Are Balanced
If you are not balanced, you will find it difficult to throw the ball accurately. Therefore, you should ensure that you are standing upright before you begin to bowl, and make sure that your weight is distributed evenly on both feet.
Taking a little time to ensure that your posture is correct before you get started will also offer you a stronger position to start from – remember to put your head up, shoulders back, and hips over knees, and knees over feet.
Take some time outside of the alley to practice activating your core muscles, standing up straight, and locating and controlling your center of gravity – this will help you to remain balanced when you are ready to bowl and gives you a strong foundation and an increased chance of success.
13. Focus On Your Feet
If you do not focus on your feet, you will find it hard to maintain good form when you are bowling. Therefore, you should always look down at your feet whenever you are taking a step.
This will also encourage the rest of your body to follow the movement, and will increase your accuracy and chances of achieving that coveted high score.
14. Keep Your Eyes On The Pins
When you are bowling, you should keep your eyes focused on the target area – the pins, and avoid looking anywhere else.
This will help you to stay calm and relaxed and will allow you to concentrate fully on what you are doing.
For new bowlers, and those building up their skills and experience, a straight ball is a great way to boost your way of achieving a strike and can help you to land those coveted high scores in no time.
Simply follow our simple, step-by-step guide to master this skill and bowl strike after strike with every throw!