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How to Bowl a Strike

The key is in the pocket

The key to consistent strikes is to angle the ball into the “pocket.” For a right-handed bowler, the pocket is between the one-pin and three-pin. For a lefty, it’s between the one-pin and two-pin.

Choose a lighter ball

You want to show off your manly strength by hurling an 18 pound ball down the lane like the thunder. And yeah, it’s fun to see the pins fly in the air when a heavy ball hits them, but if you want to bowl strikes, consider lightening up a bit. To bowl strikes, you want the pins to hit each other, and not just fly up in the air. Heavy balls make pins fly in the air; lighter balls make the pins hit each other. Many pros these days have started using the 14 1/2 or 15 pound balls because of the advantage lighter balls provide. So go ahead.

Focus, but not on the pins

The pins are your target, but you don’t want to focus or aim for them. Instead, pick one of the arrows in the middle of the lane and aim to have your ball roll right over it. If you’re a right-handed bowler, aim for the second arrow from the right. Lefties, aim for the second arrow from the left. Because most lane oil is in the middle of the lane, throwing your ball on the outside will give it more traction down the entire lane.

Line up your approach

Before the foul line, you’ll see three rows of dots that parallel the lane–one row right before the foul line and two rows a bit back from it. Use one of these latter rows to line up your approach to the foul line (which one you choose is determined by how many steps you take before releasing the ball). If you’re right-handed with a slight hook, place your left foot just to the right of the middle dot. If you’re left-handed, your right foot should be placed just to the left of the center dot.

If you consistently hit the pocket from that approach, you’ve found your strike ball. Keep approaching from that spot. If you’re missing left, move a bit to your left on the approach. If you’re missing right, move right. Yeah, that seems sort of counter-intuitive, but a righty bowler misses left because his ball hooked too early. Same goes for a lefty. Moving towards the direction you’re missing and aiming for the same arrow will force the ball farther down the lane before hooking into the pins. Try it. It works.

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