For many players, bowling is more than a fun pastime or a way to pass a Friday night.
When played correctly, bowling is a sport that can be a great way to learn and build a new skill, burn off some serious calories, and socialize and have fun with a group of new people.
One of the key skills that many bowlers are keen to master is the spin; this is an extra touch that can help your game to look super professional and is surprisingly easy to master.
To help, we have put together everything you need to know to spin a bowling ball, including a step-by-step guide to get you started in no time.
What Is Bowling?
Bowling is one of the most popular sports in the world, but it’s also one of the simplest.
The object of the game is simple – knock down as many pins as possible by using a weighted ball (or ‘bowling ball’) to strike them from behind.
It sounds easy enough, but there are plenty of things to consider before you even start playing.
The Basics Of Bowling
Bowling is a fairly simple sport, and there are a few basic concepts that you will need to get your head around before you start. These include:
- How to hold the ball
- How to aim the ball
- What types of balls are available
- How to score points
If you want to improve your bowling game, then these basics are essential for you to understand. They will help you to become a better bowler, and they will make sure that you don’t throw away any potential points.
Choosing Your Ball
When choosing your bowling ball, the weight is the most important consideration. This should ideally be between 8 and 12 pounds, depending on how tall you are.
If you weigh less than 140 lbs, then you should choose a lighter ball, while if you weigh over 200 lbs, then you should go for a heavier ball.
There are two main types of bowling balls available:
- Standard Balls – These are designed for beginners who are just starting out, and they tend to come in weights ranging from 7 to 11 pounds.
- Heavyweight Balls – These are used by experienced bowlers, and they usually range from 12 to 14 pounds.
How To Hold The Ball
To begin with, you will need to grip the ball properly in order to ensure that you hit the pins effectively. You should use both hands when holding the ball, and place your thumb at the back of the ball.
Your fingers should wrap around the front of the ball, and your palms should face each other. In addition, you should keep your elbows close to your body, so that you can easily move them into position.
Your thumbs should be positioned on top of the ball, where they can help you to control its movement.
Once you have gripped the ball, you should try to find the sweet spot on the surface of the ball. This is the area where you will feel the least resistance, and it is here that you should focus your energy.
Aiming The Ball
Once you have found the sweet spot, you should take a moment to aim the ball. When aiming, you will need to think about where you would like the ball to land.
You should imagine that the pin is directly ahead of you, and you should adjust your stance accordingly. For example, if you are standing closer to the foul line, then you should stand further back.
You should also remember that the ball travels faster or slower depending on where and when you release it, so you should aim slightly higher than normal.
Once you have aimed the ball correctly, you should now concentrate on scoring points.
This means that you should follow through with your swing, and you should not stop until the ball has struck the pins.
As soon as this happens, you should immediately step forward and attempt to knock down another set of pins.
In order to score well, you should always aim for the center of the lane. This will ensure that your ball strikes the pins in the middle, rather than hitting one side first, and this can then topple to bring the remaining pins down, increasing your chances of a successful strike.
As long as you practice regularly, you should be able to develop your own personal style of play.
However, if you do not know what kind of ball to use, then you should ask an expert for advice – there are plenty of coaches and more experienced players who will be more than happy to lend a helping hand and ensure that you are on the right path.
Bowling: The Process
Before we move to look more closely at the moves and techniques that you can use to improve your game, it is worth breaking down the bowling process itself.
When throwing, you must ensure that you maintain good balance throughout your entire throw. Otherwise, you risk falling over backward, which could result in a poor throw.
If you want to learn how to throw your bowling ball effectively, then you should focus on developing a smooth and fluid motion.
You should also try to keep your body straight at all times, which will help you to avoid any unnecessary movement.
The Release Point
Releasing the ball at the perfect moment is the secret to improving your score and landing strike after strike.
To achieve this, you will need to make sure that you are swinging through and releasing the ball roughly level with your hip as it comes out in front – this takes time and practice, so try not to feel disheartened if you do not get it immediately.
It can be useful to practice swinging smoothly without a ball at first – this will help you get used to the feeling of the right release point. Then, slowly add in lighter balls, and increase the weight until you are comfortable.
When throwing, you need to make sure that your grip is firm but not overly tight.
It is important to remember that you are trying to release the ball at precisely the same moment that you start moving your feet; therefore, you should not apply too much pressure when gripping the ball.
You should also think about using a slightly open grip. By doing this, it will allow you to feel the weight of the ball better, and this will enable you to adjust your throw accordingly.
When throwing, you need to take into account where you are going to aim the ball. This means that you should make sure that your feet are placed correctly before you begin releasing the ball.
In order to achieve this, you should first look down at the lane markings and then turn towards the target area.
Once you have done this, you should lift your elbow up and back until you see the ball coming out of your hand. At this point, you should let go and watch the ball fly away.
By turning your body in the right direction, you will increase your accuracy, and when you release the ball, it will follow this direction of your body.
The Follow Through
When throwing, you should make sure that you follow through with your arm fully.
By doing this, you will ensure that the ball does not come out of your hand too early, which could result in an inaccurate throw and increase your accuracy, which boosts your chances of that all-important strike.
When throwing, you should also make sure that you do not hold onto the ball for longer than necessary. If you do this, then you may end up losing control over the ball, and this could lead to an errant throw.
Bowling Throws And Techniques
Now that we have taken a few moments to consider the wider and broader context of bowling, it is time to hone in on the specifics; namely, the throws and moves that you can use to improve your game.
There are a number of different throws and techniques that you can use in bowling, and some of the most important to add to your repertoire include:
Spinning a bowling ball is one of the best ways to improve your game, and there are several reasons why this is the case.
Firstly, spinning allows you to change the trajectory of the ball, which enables you to hit more pins. Secondly, it helps you to create more spin, which increases the likelihood of getting strikes.
Finally, it gives you the opportunity to bowl faster, which makes it easier for you to catch the ball, and thus increases your chance of scoring well.
To learn how to spin a bowling ball, you should focus on two main things. First, you should try to get used to holding the ball by its seams.
You should be able to feel the seam when you are holding the ball, and this will help you to keep track of where the ball is heading.
Secondly, you should practice keeping your fingers relaxed as you roll the ball. The reason for this is that if you tense up your fingers, then you will lose control over the ball, which will cause it to veer off course.
Instead, you should try to relax your fingers so that they remain loose, and this will enable you to keep the ball on the line.
To spin the ball, rotate your wrist as you release the ball, rotating the ball towards the opposite side of your body – this means that those who are right-handed will rotate the ball counter-clockwise away from the body, and left-handers should spin the ball clockwise towards the body.
Once you have completed the rotation, release the ball at the perfect moment, and it will have plenty of spin to increase your chances of a successful strike.
Another popular option is the hook, and this is caused by combining two forces – revolutions, and side rotations.
Once again, the secret is all in the release, as well as the rotation of the fingers – the difference between a spin and a hook is that the latter does not rely on wrist movements.
The first method of success is to adopt the correct grip, and this is a little more advanced than a traditional grip.
To pull off the hook, you need to place your ring and middle fingers up to the first knuckle, placing your thumb all the way into the hole.
As you throw the shot, you need to take a step forward with your leading foot and remove the thumb as you release. This will transfer the weight to your fingers, as the ball is at the lowest point of the swing.
Remove the middle and ring fingers from the ball and, as you do so, turn them counter-clockwise if you are right-handed, and clockwise if you are left-handed, “flicking” your fingers away as you do so.
Your fingers will come up to the side of the ball, offering a greater lift, and continue to swing your arm up and through after release – you will end up looking as though you are preparing to shake hands with another person.
How To Improve Your Bowling Score
Once you have the basics down, there are a number of things you can do to improve your technique and boost your bowling score. Some of the top tips include:
Choosing The Right Ball
When choosing a new bowling ball, you should always choose one that feels comfortable in your hand.
If you find yourself struggling to hold onto the ball, or if it feels like it is going to slip out of your grasp, then it may be time to go down a weight category – the most important thing is that you can maintain the right form and technique while bowling; this will go a long way to boosting your overall score and success rate.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you want to get better at bowling, then you should make sure you practice regularly.
Whether you bowl alone or join a league, you should ensure that you spend some time practicing at least a few times a week if possible.
You should also try to keep track of how many strikes and spares you manage to achieve during each session, which will help you to see where you are improving and where you could use some extra practice.
Maintain Good Form
As mentioned above, you should focus on maintaining good form when you are bowling. This includes keeping your elbow close to the body, ensuring that your back is straight, and making sure that your feet remain flat throughout the delivery.
When you are bowling, you should also avoid taking any unnecessary steps forwards or backward, and ensure that you don’t lean too much towards either side.
These small changes can make a big difference to your game, and they will also help to prevent injury.
Once you have mastered the basics of bowling, including the key terms, the equipment and location, and the correct footwear, you will be in a great position to take your game to the next level.
Learning extras such as spines and hooks can make a real difference to the success of your bowling game, and offers a great chance to get your score up, increase the chances of a strike, and add a little excitement to each and every match.