Tip of the Day - How to Bowl a 200+ game

I think that most people have the following two misconceptions about bowling:
  1. You should bowl straight down the center, hitting the pins head on
  2. You should force spin on the ball and curve it into the pins
This tip of the day/tutorial will tell you why these are not the best options, and what you can do to improve your bowling game.

Myth - You should force spin on the ball and curve it into the pins

Having the ball curve is actually a great way to knock more pins over.  The problem is that most people do this with the house ball (the ball they have for you at the bowling alley).

The reason professionals curve the ball is because they have bowling balls designed to spin. The ball is weighted differently specifically so it will spin.  The holes on the ball are also different so that the ball is gripped to allow the bowler to bowl in a way that will curve the ball.

If you try doing this with the house ball, you will be inconsistent and it puts a lot of stress on your wrist.  You can do it for fun, and you may have occasional success, but you will more than likely be inconsistent.

Myth - You should bowl straight down the center, hitting the pins head on

Bowling this way is typically inconsistent and may result in splits
Sometimes you will get strikes this way, but it is not the best way to bowl.  Bowling this way often results in splits.

This is how you should bowl: (Note - this is for right handed bowlers. If you are left handed, just think opposite day)

This is the correct placement of your feet when you start

You want to place your feet in between the three dots furthest to your right.  There are two rows of dots.  Depending on how tall you are and personal preference will determine which row you use. I tend to use the row furthest back to get more power.

This is the ideal way to bowl. Doing this well usually results in a strike
When you bowl, you don't want to look at the pins. You want to look at the arrows.  Aim for the second arrow from the right.  This will place the ball in the 1 and 3 pin pocket.  This is the best area to hit the pins and will usually result in a strike.

This is also good and results in many strikes
If you bowl slightly to the left and go in between the 1 and 2 pins, this is also good.

This will usually not result in a strike (sometimes you get lucky though). Often it will cause a split.
If you hit the center pin head on, you can sometimes get lucky, but usually this will not result in a strike.

When you need to pick up the 7 or 10 pin for the spare, aim for the third arrow from the right (for 7) or third from left (for 10)

You will find when bowling this way, occasionally one pin will stay up. Generally the 7 or 10 pin.  To get the 7 pin. Keep your normal stance and aim for the arrow third from the right.  To get the 10 pin, change your stance to be in between the LEFT three dots, and bowl for the arrow third over from the left.

Some tips:
Bowling a 200+ game is all about consistency.  The reason you want to pay attention to your footing and where you bowl the ball is so that you can be consistent and make small adjustments if necessary.  Once you get into your groove, pay attention to what you are doing and be consistent with it.  Take your time to focus before each bowl.  Rushing into the bowl will lead to small mistakes.

About McKay Christensen

After having lived in Oregon, Alaska, and China for the past 10 years doing landscape design and English teaching, I have returned to my home state of Utah and currently work for a growing tech company.

In my free time I enjoy working on my website where I post tutorials and reviews (and anything else I think is geeky) and I also like to write songs for my Super English Kid Youtube channel.

My favorite things to do include anything with my wife and son. Hiking, camping, and photography (or anything else outdoors). Playing Ultimate Frisbee or Ping Pong. Listening to 60s, 70s, or 80s, music. 

Feel free to contact me using my contact page. I would love to hear from any of you!


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