Win at Bowling Tournaments

Give yourself time to be sure you have packed up every piece of equipment you will need during the tournament so that when the time draws near, you can focus on the game.

Maintain a professional image

You should arrive at the alley with plenty of time to spare (no pun intended) so you can keep a relaxed mentality towards the venue, fans and competition.

Give Yourself a Proper Warm-up

Undergoing a series of exercises before the game can do wonders for both getting your muscles loose and prepared for the competition. Just because bowling isn’t a full-contact sport doesn’t mean you can ignore this part of the preparations.

Stay focused

Maintaining your cool and keeping a level head is crucial in a tournament situation. Becoming upset during a bad string of frame is only going to make a bad situation worse. Tournament champions are the ones who are able to fight back against adversity and maintain a positive outlook throughout the competition.

Anatomy of a Bowling Lane

There are four parts to a bowling lane. The approach leads up to the foul line at the beginning of the bowling lane. The foul line marks the end of the approach and the beginning of the lane. The lane is the majority of the planks where the ball is released and travels towards the pins. The final part of the bowling lane is the pin deck where the ten bowling pins are set. Bowling lanes were originally constructed of planks of hard maple and pine wood. However, lanes are now constructed of approved synthetic materials similar to wood. In total, the standard bowling lane is 41 to 42 inches in width and 77 feet, 10 3/16 inches in length.

The approach is a 15-foot starting point where the bowler takes aim and begins their movement forward towards the bowling lane. Two sets of approach dots assist bowlers in aligning themselves to the pins for proper aim.

The foul line is between 3/8 and 1 inch in width. This indicates the end of the approach and the beginning of the bowling lane. Players are not allowed to cross this mark; if they do, they are awarded no points in their bowl. The foul line must stretch the entire width of the lane at a minimum.

The bowling lane comprises 60-feet from the foul line to the center point of the head pin, or first pin. The bowling lane is regularly conditioned with an approved oil to reduce the friction and wear of the boards caused by the constant traffic and impact of bowling balls. Because oil is a slick substance, this causes less friction between the ball and the lane, and therefore minimizes any motion from the ball due to the spin the bowler applies to their delivery. There are several patterns by which to condition a lane, but the oil used must be the same from edge to edge of the lane. The oil is generally applied beginning at the foul line and continuing along the lane until a point several feet before the pin deck. This allows for additional friction where no oil is present to increase ball movement into the pins. The length of the bowling lane is bordered on both sides by a 9 1/4 inch gutter that catches balls that do not stay on the lane.

The pin deck is the final 2 feet, 10 3/16 inches of the bowling lane. This is the section of the lane where the pins are set equidistant from each other in equilateral triangle formations. Each pin is 12 inches apart from the next, measuring from center to center of each pin.

Maintaining uniformity from one bowling lane to the next is extremely important in order to allow a level playing field for all bowlers. Although the oil on the lanes can be pushed around the lane by rolling bowling balls, these guidelines give bowlers the confidence that each bowling lane they play on will offer the same consistency as the next.

Types of Bowling Leagues

When it comes to enrolling in league bowling, an individual can do this any time of the year. This although might be affected by the weather that come all throughout the year. Now looking at the composition of a league team, we see it varying in the numbers of members it constitute. In a team that is made up by adults, we see it constituting of four to five bowling members. This is different when it comes to the youth league teams that are made of three to four bowling members. Format of the games in league bowling is usually that of three games. The length of the time taken to play the whole game is approximately two and half hours that is taking a traditional league. The good thing about league bowling is there uniqueness when it comes to competition. Apart from the league bowlers at time playing for the main reason of winning trophies or cash awards, at times they play for the main reason of raising money which can be used for funding specific projects.

To join a bowling league one can get in touch with the bowling league offices that he or she wants to join and see if there are any offers. Usually one can form his or her own team or in other cases, the bowling alley can connect you with other bowling players who are also looking for a team. Requirement for joining a bowling league is not that much fixed owing to the different average scores that individuals get to achieve. The handicap system used in a game of bowling ensures that every one playing this game gets a chance to win. It is easy to form a membership when it comes to bowling league. This is largely due to the reasonable membership fee that gets to be charged, which may be weekly, monthly or even yearly. Therefore, before any one thinks of bowling all that he or she is to do is simply apply for certification through ones local jurisdiction of which he or she intends to play. This means one has to be qualified under the USBS by laws. All this ensures that the game gets to be played in compliance with the bowling playing rules.

Info of Bowling Balls

Let’s briefly breakdown what each of the above mentioned terms mean in reference to bowling balls.

  • Coverstock is essentially to outer surface of the bowling ball that creates the shell. Typically, the coverstock can either be dull or shiny on a bowling ball.
  • A weight block is the core of the bowling ball. Depending on the shape and density of the weight block, it can influence the reaction of the bowling ball.
  • Top weight is the core variation within the bowling ball. If the core is higher in the ball, it produces a higher top weight. If the core is lower, then the bowling ball will have a lower top weight.
  • Pin location simply designates the location of the top of the weight block in a bowling ball.

These definitions simply apply to the bowling ball itself. What factors not related to the make/model of the bowling ball? For this we are referring to factors such as your bowling game itself. Things such as ball speed, track flare, axis tilt, etc all play an important role in bowling. Each person has their own unique way of bowling. Knowing your game and style will make it easier for you to make the proper selection when buying a new bowling ball.

Below is a brief breakdown of a few key definitions.

  • Ball Speed is simply the speed at which you roll your bowling ball. Many of the newer scoring systems measure the speed of your bowling ball. However, not all are 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of what the speed is.
  • Track flare is the “oil rings” that appear on your bowling ball after you throw it. These rings show the progression of the rotation of your ball as it is rolling down the lane and the ball changing its axis of rotation while seeking its preferred spin axis.
  • Axis tilt is the angle of rotation of the bowling ball.

Depending on your style and lane conditions, making the right decision can be tricky at times. The easiest and best way to decide which bowling ball is right for you is to visit your local bowling pro shop. Many pro shop owners have been around the game of bowling for quite some time. With their knowledge and experience, as well as watching you bowl, they can give you strong recommendations on which bowling ball will suit your game.

However, not every bowling center has an on-site pro shop. Luckily the internet provides a plethora of information regarding bowling balls. Many of the manufacturer sites provide in depth analysis of reactions and characteristics and even a few videos with the bowling balls in action. Customer reviews found on various bowling ball message forums can also provide real life insight as to what a particular bowling ball can do on certain lane conditions. There are even a few retail sites that provide bowling ball reviews, which are customer reviews for various products.

Bowling Mental Game

Here Is a Outline of a Few Approaches.

  • Visualization – Visualize how you are going to roll your bowling ball in your pre-shot routine, kind of like a video or a mental picture or image
  • Relaxation Or Self Hypnosis – This is one of the techniques that I feel is the root of all mental approaches like a basis for the mental game. There are several methods for this available.
  • Concentration – Here is a technique I use as a pre-shot warm up. I pick out one of the dots on the approach, then stare or focus on it briefly until I can only concentrate on the dot. When I know that I can fully focus on the dot I know that I can focus on my spot or mark on the bowling lane. At this point I know that my mind is clear, focused, and I can concentrate.
  • Subliminal – I use subliminal tapes or cd’s in combination with relaxation or self hypnosis. I have found only a couple of places to get these tapes or cd’s. With subliminal tapes you listen to music to distract you outer mind, while behind the music or in the background are positive suggestions for your inner mind to pick up on. If you can not find these tapes or cd’s that are specifically for bowling use some that are for self confidence.


  • Visualization – Concentration = Accuracy
  • Relaxation Or Self Hypnosis – Subliminal = Confidence
  • Self Hypnosis – Is a basis for mental training and can be used in all aspects of the mental game.

Get a Good Spin in Bowling

A bowler needs to have good bowling shoes because this will ensure an easy maneuver while spinning the ball. A bowler also needs to have a bowling ball that will make them comfortable will spinning. Bowling balls come in different varieties such as plastic balls, resin, and Urethane. The resins balls are highly recommended because they allow the bowler have a thorough grip. A heavy ball for example might make the player stride backwards and cause injury. Knowing your spin ball is very crucial. After identifying the best ball, the player should get the ball fixed through drilling. This is done with the first one being full finger drilling where the middle and the ring finger get into the ball up until it reaches the middle of your finger and the fingertip in two ways.

The next important step is to choose the right shoes for the game. The best type of shoe for the player is the one that will allow the player slide while running up the lane. Brand shoes like Dexter are a perfect outfit for bowlers. The issue of whether the player is right or left handed comes into play if the bowler wants to have a good spin. If the player is right handed, then they should concentrate on the second arrow from the on the right side of the lane but if the player is left hander, they should shift their focus on the second arrow from the left side of the lane. The player should stand upright with the legs closely held and then position his or her shoulder together with the bowling ball directly over the arrow.

The shoulders should be held at angle of 90 degrees on the forearm while the player’s starts to move towards the target arrow, while the feet should be help perpendicular to the shoulders. The player should then push away the ball with the back of the hand facing downwards and then swing the ball from behind while slightly moving forward. As the player approaches the foul line, one should bring back the ball to the front and then plant the left foot exactly in front of the fault line and release the ball to swing forward towards the target arrow. The bowler should at this time keep the arm facing up and at the same time allow the right leg to swing behind the left leg.

Fivepin Bowling

This was invented in Canada at a local alley, where customers complained that the original tenpin game was simply too difficult and strenuous. The owner invented this for them, and they fell in love with the games simplicity. Because the ball is smaller and lighter, and because lofting is allowed, this game is very popular with senior citizens who do not have to strain as much in order to play the game.

The pins in this game are arranged in a V and typically are wrapped with a thick rubberband to make them fly farther when hit. The center pin is worth five points, while the next closest pins are worth three points each, and the outermost pins are worth only two points. The maximum score you can earn on each frame is 15, and strikes and spares are accounted for the same way as in regular bowling. The highest score possible in this game is 450, which is very rare because of the fact that splits are so much more common.

While currently this game is only popular in Canada, there are occasionally small centers that are equipped to play this game. This is probably the most popular variety of it aside from the traditional tenpin game, and there are three major Canadian bowling associations which all have fivepin bowling sectors and tournaments.

Whether or not you decide to try this game is, unfortunately, almost always going to be dictated by the center in which you are playing. Automatic pinsetters are unable to track the games and set the pins in appropriate positions. In addition, the pins in fivepin bowling are cut down, so they often do not reach the lane. The small balls will often be damaged or lost inside the underground ball return. Thus, in order to play, one must find a center equipped for you to do so.

Tuning Up Your Bowling Technique

Picking up spares is the one thing that even a beginner bowler can learn to dramatically improve their game. It can easily make the difference between a 110 and 180 average!

While strikes are an important thing to learn, for a beginning to intermediate level bowler, I advise this: Clear your spares and the strikes will come. You will beat most of the competition by simply clearing your frames.

Professional bowlers use a “spare ball”. That being a regular, plastic ball they use solely for the purpose of picking up their spares.

Even if you have your own ball, try using one of the regular, plain-colored, plastic “house” balls to pick up your spares. They are drilled to roll perfectly straight, enabling you to better hit your target.

Take the time to learn how to effectively pick up your spares. Start by looking at your body posture and stance. The way you hold yourself makes a difference. When your wrist is straight yet relaxed and your arm flows smoothly and in a straight arc forward (not curving around your body and back) your aim will be more accurate.

The easiest bowling technique to knock down your spare pins is to aim the ball directly at them in a straight line. It’s not the time to use your $300 hook ball; you want to minimize any spin.

Be sure to relax your wrist as you release the ball and it will roll smooth and straight. Take the time to practice picking up your spares every chance you get. Many experienced league and professional players practice by aiming for the 7 or 10 pin. This method allows them to see how the ball reacts to the effort of crossing the lane.

Practice, relax, concentrate and take your time when going after your spare. A moment taken to line up your shot and take a deep, relaxing breath will make all the difference.

A good rule of thumb is to aim your ball at the pin closest to you, striking it on the side opposite any other pins. Always start from the arrow to the left or right of whichever pins remain standing. Roll across the strike target at the pins you’re aiming for and before you know it you will be picking up your spares!

There are a few instances in which your efforts may prove futile. If you know that you’re doing the right bowling techniques but are missing your targets, one of the following culprits is usually to blame:

If your ball is too dull or dirty, it can roll early and use up all its energy instead of storing it up until it reaches the back-end. Pop it in the ball-polishing machine.

If your ball is consistently hooking early and slowing down on the back end, it could be the ball’s surface. Again, use the polisher or have it buffed with very high-grade sandpaper.

If your ball seems to slip, or obviously moves funny at the same spot on a lane, it could be a divot, oil, or other flaw in the lane. Try a different lane and see if that helps.

If you’ve tried a new ball surface and a new lane and your ball is still hooking too early, move your feet a little to the left if you’re right handed or right if you’re left handed to compensate.

With just a little extra effort you can learn to improve your average and clear your frames. You will have a newfound appreciation for the sport, admiration of your teammates and the envy of your competitors once you’ve mastered the bowling tips and techniques to effectively pick up your spares.

Throwing A Hook Ball in Bowling

Hook Bowling

Straight balls are great if you’re a beginner but they can limit your scores to the 160 – 180 range. When you’re constantly throwing straight balls, you have to focus more on bowling perfectly the first time. The way to truly raise your scores is to change that straight ball of yours into a hook ball.

The Definition Of A Hook Ball

A hook ball unlike a straight ball, curves after delivery. The bowlers hand comes from behind the ball rounding the side that makes the ball rotate sideways. The sideways rotation makes the ball go to the left or the right. There are three types of hook: the cranker, the stroker and the helicopter. Here they are:

  • The Stroker. The bowler’s sliding foot stops just before the bowling ball gets to the bottom of the swing, creating moderate leverage for a controllable ball reaction. The shoulders have to be very square at the release point. I like the stroker because it plays straighter up the outside of the lane which allows the ball to gently hook into the pocket.
  • The Cranker. The cranker is different, using this technique, the ball reaches maximum revolution. This way more power is produced. The bowler stands with their feet to left hand side of the approach and then swings the ball out to the left hand of the approach. The cranker technique uses late timing (this means getting to the foul line before the ball). They plant their foot and then pull their arm through, bending the elbow in order to keep the hand behind and under the ball and leaving the shoulders open for the maximum leverage. Because of all these moves the cranker can cause muscle injury.
  • The Helicopter. This is a very popular form of bowling in Asia. This technique originated in Taiwan where the lanes generally were in poor condition. When using this technique it is best to use a ball weighing between 10 – 12 lbs. Bring the fingers all the way round the top of the ball, as opposed to the hook where you bring the fingers round the sides. The ball travels straight down the lane but it spins like helicopter propellers as it travels. Once you master this technique, believe me when I say that you’ll love it.

Ways of Bowling a Hook

The hook of the ball while you are hook bowling requires you to insert the fingers up to the second knuckle for a nice score. This is because you use the thumb to hold the ball in space while you swing it back. However, you could also use any other type of hooking as long as it supports the long swing and it gives the ball the required momentum while maintaining the body balance. You might fall the first few attempts you try bowling a curve. This is mainly because of lack of enough speed or lack of balance after the releasing the ball. This is the reason why this technique is assumed to be done by pros only. Bowling a hook also requires the shoulders to be kept broad while the elbow joint is kept straight. It is advisable to swing from the left so that the ball can curve from the left and hit the pins from the left side of the rail.

The favored throw that works with the hook bowling is the cranker. This is because it is equally vigorous and it entails late timing and so by the time you get to the foul line, the ball is till swing from the back and the process of releasing comes systematically just as you get to the line. It also enables the ball to roll from the hand and join the rails as it is rolling from another rail. Since the cranker also involves moving the elbows out and keeping stretching the arm all the length, it is ideal for hook bowling. If you want to tell the difference between a pro and an armature, pros always resolve to hook balling if they want to catch up or if they want to start with a high mark. They are always sure that the hook bowling allows them to spin the ball as much as they want and they can therefore drop all the pins with a throw of this move. When learning this trick, it is advisable to start with a light ball since it can easily dislocate your fingers.