How to Throw a Bowling Ball

How to Throw a Bowling Ball [Straight & Hook]

Bowling is one of those classic, fun, relaxing activities everyone can do. This makes it an excellent activity for friends, families, and parties.

However, like any other sport, bowling involves a bit of skill and strategy. Therefore, getting a strike can sometimes take time and effort.

It can be pretty frustrating to throw a bowling ball only for it to veer off to the gutter.

No matter how often you fail, there is always room for improvement. While it might seem challenging at first, learning how to throw a bowling ball is relatively easy. In this article, we'll help you understand how you can accurately throw a bowling ball.

How to Prepare for the Shot

Prepare for the bowling Shot

There are various factors you should keep in mind to throw the bowling ball the right way. Some of the elements you should consider when preparing to throw a bowling ball include:

  • Weight of the bowling ball: The weight of the ball affects the momentum of your throw. Therefore, you should consider the weight of the ball you throw. Heavy balls have more momentum, therefore, have more power, and will have more impact on the pins. However, you'll not want a ball that's too heavy, which might be uncomfortable. Ideally, a bowling bowl should weigh 10% of your body weight.
  • Your position: Your steps are another critical factor to consider when throwing a bowling ball. You should note where to start approaching the lane, how many steps you take, and where to stop and release the ball. By practising, you can achieve precision which will help you improve your strikes.
  • Your speed: You'll also need enough force to keep the bowling ball moving so that it can knock down the pins with enough power. You can also achieve the right speed through practice.
  • Timing: Timing your throws will also help you make the right strike. Therefore, you should learn how to timely release the ball when making a throw.
  • Your grip: A bowling ball usually has three holes, and you should make sure your fingers fit easily into them. How you make your grip will also affect your throw. You should ensure your grip is comfortable, not too tight, and not too loose.

Combining these factors will help you make an accurate throw, knocking down the pins almost consistently.

Types of Bowling Grips

Types of Bowling Grips

When bowling, having the right grip is key in determining the ball's momentum and release point. How you position your hand will also affect your ball's trajectory making it essential for bowlers to choose the right type of bowling ball grip.

The common types of bowling grips to choose from include:

1. The conventional grip: This is the most common grip type suitable for beginners and intermediate bowlers. With this grip, you place your thumb all the way into the bottom hole, then your middle and ring finger all the way into the other remaining holes. This standard grip will give you control over the ball, making your shots more accurate.

2. Fingertip grip: This is ideal for more advanced bowlers who have mastered the conventional grip. To do this, you'll insert your thumb in the bottom hole up to the first knuckle but not all the way in. You should only insert the tips of your middle and ring finger into the remaining holes.

While there are many other types of bowling grips, it's best to go for the conventional grip as it's more straightforward and makes your grip feel secure and stable.

How to Throw a Bowling Ball

Bowling is a simple activity that's very easy to learn. The way you throw a bowling ball depends on the type of shot you would like to make. There are different types of shots you can take when bowling. They include:

The straight shot

The straight shot is the easiest and most consistent throw to execute hence convenient for beginners. Experienced bowlers often use the straight shot when they would like to clear a few pins. Straight bowling allows you to hit the pins with power because you can throw as hard as you want without affecting the trajectory of your shot.

To do this shot, you'll be required to throw the ball straight down the lane. You can make the straight shot by taking the following steps:

Step 1: Identify the imaginary straight center line

Step 2: Stand with your feet 4 inches apart and your right foot about five boards to the left of the center line

Step 3: Keep the bowling hand directly under the ball and your wrist straight

Step 4: Swing the ball back and forth to get some momentum

Step 5: Take two or three strides as the ball swings to the apex of the backswing

Step 6: As you take the final step, and the swing comes forward, release the ball onto the lane when it passes your ankle.

The key thing about a straight shot is that you keep your hand and wrist straight all the way as you swing and release the ball to ensure that the ball continues in a straight line.

The hook shot

The hook shot is a more advanced throw used mainly by experienced bowlers. This shot gives you more control over where the ball strikes the pins. It makes your ball curve sharply near the lane's end, leading to more strikes. By perfectly executing a hook shot, you can consistently knock down all of the pins. However, you'll be required to have more control over the power in your throws.

You can throw a hook shot by:

  • Visualize the line that the ball will take across the lane
  • Get your fingers in the ball.
  • Depending on your approach, take a few steps away from the lane to determine your starting position. That is if you have a four-step approach take 4 steps.
  • Swing the ball back and forth while keeping your arm completely straight the entire way through your swing.
  • Push off the ball on your first step
  • By your third step, you should be at the top of your backswing. Right-handed players should step with their right foot first.
  • As you begin to drop the ball out of the backswing on your last step and it passes your body, release your thumb from the ball and quickly flick your wrist. The ball will hook in the direction of your wrist movement. Therefore, if you're right-handed, flick it anti-clockwise or clockwise if you're left-handed.

The hook shot usually takes a lot of time and practice to master. You'll have to spend most of your time figuring out the right amount of spin and power to ensure your ball goes where you want it to. However, once mastered, you'll consistently get better scores.

Curve shot

The curve shot is an improved version of the hook shot. This throw makes the ball curve evenly from the beginning to the pins. You can throw a curve bowling ball by:

  • Get into the right stance and grip, preferably four steps away from your release.
  • You should focus on the lane that you would like to hit rather than the pin you're aiming for
  • You can then start your approach the same way as you would in any standard shot.
  • During your last step, release the ball at the bottom of your swing by removing your thumb from the ball before the other two fingers.
  • Use the last two fingers to sweep the side of the ball for it to spin.

The most important thing with a curve shot is your release. It's essential to use your fingers to direct the ball down the lane. This technique requires enough practice to execute it comfortably.

Backup ball

The backup ball produces the opposite result of a hook. This means throwing a backup ball will hook your bowling ball in the opposite direction of a normal shot. You can throw a backup ball by:

  • Position yourself on the lane the same way you usually would. Therefore, you should use the same stance and approach as you would for any other shot.
  • Swing the ball back and forth for maximum force
  • When releasing the ball, turn your wrist clockwise instead of anti-clockwise for right-handed bowlers. A left-handed bowler should turn their wrist counter-clockwise instead of clockwise.

How to Improve Your Bowling Accuracy and Scoring Potential

Bowling Accuracy and Scoring Potentia

There are a few things you can do to improve your bowling skills. They include:

  • Make the necessary adjustments: You should learn to adjust your release, footwork, and grip until you're comfortable with your movements and can properly execute your throw.
  • Start with the straight shot: It's a good idea to start slow with the most straightforward shot. Therefore, as a beginner, start with the straight shot before trying out the other shots.
  • Experiment with different ball weights and bowling techniques
  • You can also ask for help from a bowling coach.
  • Practice your aims and shots


Bowling is a fun activity when you master the technique. Perfectly throwing a bowling ball will not only lead to a higher bowling score but also give you personal satisfaction. If your ball regularly went off course during your bowling sessions, this guide is here to help you become a better bowler. By following the steps described above, we hope you find a technique that works for you so that you can impress others with your improved bowling skills.

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