Overhand Bowling

Overhand Bowling 101: Tips and Tricks

Overhand bowling involves throwing the bowling ball over your shoulder. It’s rare for bowlers to throw the ball this way. Most of them prefer underhand bowling. So, is overhand bowling advisable? And how will it affect your game? We have covered everything you need to know in this overhand bowling guide. Read on for the details….

Bowlers must ensure they remain safe, avoid injuries, or damage to the lane, and make the game enjoyable. Therefore, various bowling practices, including how to throw a ball, can help bowlers achieve that. Typically, bowlers usually throw the bowling ball underhand. However, there are some rare cases when bowlers throw an overhand. In this article, we’ll help you learn more about overhand bowling and everything regarding how it affects your gameplay at the bowling alley.

What is Overhand Bowling?

What is Overhand Bowling

Overhand bowling is a technique in which a bowler delivers the bowling ball over their shoulders. Normally, bowlers throw the bowling ball below their shoulders. Therefore, overhand bowling is a little peculiar and unattractive. This throw is difficult to execute and frowned upon by many bowlers. That notwithstanding, the overhand throw is very commonplace in softball and baseball.

Why is Overhand Bowling Discouraged?

Why is Overhand Bowling Discouraged

Technically, bowlers shouldn’t throw the ball over their shoulders. And there are several reasons why it is not every bowler’s favorite throw. Some of these include:

1. It can damage bowling lanes

When you throw an overhand, the ball will land in a thud, potentially damaging the bowling lane. While standard bowling lanes are designed to resist damage, they can only handle the pressure from underhand bowling. Therefore, the weight of the ball and an overhand throw can cause significant damage to the bowling lanes, especially wooden ones.

2. It leads to gutter balls

The chances of hitting a pin with an overhand throw are minimal. When you throw the bowling ball overhand, you won’t have much control over the path the ball will follow. This makes it difficult for the ball to stay on the lane leading to gutter balls. Therefore, overhand bowling is not advisable if you want to score and become a professional bowler. Beginners are highly discouraged against trying this throwing technique, more so during competitive gameplay.

3. High chance of causing injuries to fellow bowlers and damage to property

Overhand bowling is generally not effective and may result in injuries to bowlers and damage to property. Besides posing a risk of injuring yourself, you might also end up hurting other bowlers. And that’s not all. Overhand bowling throws may also cause property damage. You are more likely to hurt yourself, damage things, or even injure another bowler when you throw an overhand. This would lead to heavy fines and even a suspension from the bowling alley.

4. It contravenes bowling ethics

Overhand bowling is viewed as one awful bowling etiquette and could make the whole bowling game look goofy. Therefore, many bowlers don’t like it when one bowl overhand, and you may get kicked out of the bowling alley. That’s not to say, that overhand bowling isn’t practiced anywhere. It takes quite some practice and experience to perfect this technique. However, even seasoned pro bowlers still get it wrong and most simply don’t like this style of the throw.

Underhand Bowling

Underhand Bowling

Unlike overhand bowling, underhand bowling is the most recommended way of throwing a ball. If you venture into bowling, here are a few tips to get started with underhand bowling:

  • Choose a bowling ball that’s not too heavy or too light, preferably 10% of your weight
  • Position yourself at the center of the lane and ensure your weight is evenly distributed
  • Take a few steps back and swing the ball backward and forward as you approach the foul line
  • Release the ball when it’s about your eye level
  • Remember to practice regularly to master the art of underhand bowling.

Generally, underhand bowling is a simple technique that can be mastered with regular practice. It will help you hone your bowling skills and become a better bowler.

Overhand vs. Underhand Bowling

Overhand strikes are very rare. Most bowlers use underhand bowling. This is basically because overhand throws are bad for your scoring potential. Whether bowling professionally or for fun, you’ll want to get strikes and high scores, because if you don’t get them then the whole point of bowling loses its essence.

Therefore, you’ll have to make throws that increase your scoring potential. That’s why you’re encouraged to stick with underhand bowling.

Advantages of Underhand Bowling Over Overhand bowling

Advantages of Underhand Bowling Over Overhand bowling

Here are some of the advantages of underhand bowling and overhand bowling:

a). Shorter learning curve

Unlike overhand bowling which has a protracted learning curve, underhand bowling is comparatively easier to master.

If you would like to hone your bowling skills, it’s best to adopt underhand throws over overhand throws.

b). Easier ball control with every throw

With underhand bowling, it’s easier to throw the ball and have control over its path. You can effortlessly throw a straight ball, spin the ball, and maintain and even predetermine its trajectory. This increases your chances of keeping the ball on the lane and making a perfect hit.

c). Widely accepted among bowlers

Unlike overhand bowling that’s often frowned upon by most bowlers, both pros and intermediates, underhand bowling is widely accepted and considered the better option for throwing a bowling ball.

d). Better strike potential with high scores

Underhand bowling throws come with the advantage of a better chance of strikes and higher scores when compared to overhand bowling.

Want to Overhand Bowl Anyway?

While you can make an overhand throw, doing it on your alleys is advisable. After setting up and building your alley, you’re free to bowl the way you want, including overhand bowling. That way, you can avoid paying for the damages or hurting others. Given how unpredictable overhand is, do it only when you’re ready to handle the consequences.

Even when bowling in your home alley, you should keep in mind that overhand bowling can be dangerous and can lead to significant damage and injuries. Nonetheless, you can get your hands on a home bowling alley or build your own from scratch to start enjoying bowling at your convenience.

Bowling Best Practices You Should Adopt

Bowling Best Practices

There’s more to bowling than just making approaches and throws. These are the etiquette that makes bowling a high-end sport. Here is a quick round-up of bowling ethics:

  • Allow other people to bowling uninterrupted
  • Avoid using disrespectful language or attitude
  • Respect other bowlers and avoid making distractions
  • Avoid giving bowling tips to others unless they ask you
  • Stay on your lane and avoid entering another bowler’s approach
  • Always return the bowling alley equipment to its right place
  • Always be ready for your turn
  • Maintain high levels of cleanliness
  • Avoid mishandling the bowling balls, as they can damage the alley lane or cause injuries
  • Remember to have fun even though bowling might seem challenging

Technically, bowling etiquette involves respecting others and the game you’re playing. Therefore, adopting good bowling best practices is important whether you’re bowling recreationally or professionally. Adhering to these rules makes bowling a more enjoyable experience for everyone.


Generally, overhand bowling is not an effective way of bowling and is, therefore, not worth the time and effort. It not only comes with a high risk of injuries to you as well as to other bowlers. Moreover, it also portends a high risk of damage to property that might not attract heavy fines, but may also cause one to be banned from gaming at a given bowling alley. Despite all the associated cons, if you are just being curious, you may want to give the overhand bowling technique a try, especially if you are playing on your private bowling lane at home.

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