Bowling is a fun, competitive sport that can be played alone or with a group of people. Whether one is a league bowler or just shoots a few games for fun with family or friends a few times per year, bowling is a very humbling game. One can be on top of the world, stringing strikes along, or they can have multiple open frames and end up with a low score.
Becoming a truly great bowler requires a bit more than just your final score. There are many different components that comprise being a great, and smart, bowler. Some of these are rules, and some are just plain common sense.
Proper form is important
Bowling form is one of the most important aspects of the game. Whether you buy your own fitted ball or use a house ball found on the racks at your local alley, you should always select one that is a weight that is comfortable for you. Adult women typically use a ball that is anywhere from 12 to 15 pounds, while men tend to opt for a 15- or 16-pound ball. You don’t want to use a ball that is too light due to the fact that you will find yourself chucking it up into the air and possibly even angling it wrong upon release. Likewise, using a ball that’s too heavy isn’t the answer, either, because you will put strain on your arm and won’t have good control over the ball.
What type of grip do you want in your own bowling ball
If you own your own bowling ball, you will want to choose the type of grip you’ll use when you get it drilled by a professional at the pro-shop. If you are a more casual bowler, you might opt for a standard grip. If you’re a more serious bowler who plays in leagues, then you’ll probably prefer a fingertip or at least semi-fingertip grip, which have wider spans with finger inserts in the finger holes. These grips make for a more natural feel as the ball is in your hand and give you a more controlled release. The driller will probably make the thumb hole slightly larger so that you can insert bowling tape to make a more custom fit. This is handy during different seasons of the year, and you can always remove or add tape, depending on how your hand fits in the ball.
Always wear bowling shoes when you’re on the lanes, and stay off the foul line
All bowling alleys have a rule, as do leagues, that bowlers must always wear bowling shoes. This is for your own safety. The approach is slippery so that bowlers can easily meander up to the foul line to release the ball smoothly. Also, speaking of the foul line, you should always stay off of it. Another rule in the sport is that if any part of your body crosses it, the ball thrown at that time will be counted as an “F” for foul. This is equivalent to a zero.
You should also never, ever step over the foul line and walk down the oiled part of the lane to retrieve a dead ball (bowling ball stuck in the gutter), a finger insert that fell out, or any other object. Ask someone who works at the alley to get it for you instead.
Footwork and arm swing play a big part in your game
Fluid footwork and arm swing are vital in good bowling form and will definitely have an impact on your scores. Most bowlers utilize a four- or five-step approach and swing their bowling arm back by around the third step. Always make sure your feet don’t speed up ahead of your arm. Everything should feel natural, fluid, and not rushed.
One of, if not the most important aspects to bowlers is courtesy!
This cannot be overstated, but bowling courtesy is probably the most important thing to bowlers, especially serious ones who play in leagues. There is nothing more aggravating and frustrating than having someone else run up ahead of you from the next or two lanes away, distracting you from a shot. Leagues instill rules that state that all bowlers must give courtesy to people at least one lane away, although the majority of bowlers in leagues give courtesy for those two lanes away from them on either side. Even if you are bowling just for fun, please look on either side to check whether someone else is already on the lane and setting up for making a shot. Giving courtesy to your fellow bowlers is the true key to becoming a truly great bowler!
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