Practice Bowling at Home

The kicker is that bowling requires a lot of equipment in order to practice effectively. First you need a bowling lane and pins, a few bowling balls, bowling shoes, etc. Not things available in the typical home.

There is however a readily obtainable way to hone your swing mechanics, spare shooting angles, and strategies without leaving the comfort of your living room.

Enter the Nintendo Wii(TM), one of the newest electronic home game systems on the market and the sports pack of games that comes with it. Included are a few bowling games that can actually give immediate quality feedback for a variety of bowling skills.

Now before you get really excited, this would not be a substitute for learning the game of bowling, you will still need a real bowling alley to learn the basics.

The movements involved with the Wii controller are very close to the actual moves involved in the release of the actual bowling ball, wrist movement is very similar, in order to make a good delivery in the game you have to “release” the ball at the bottom of your swing, this is identical to real bowling. In my opinion the more you play the Wii bowling game, the more smooth and accurate your swing mechanics will become, you will learn more about spare angles and how ball speed and hook affect how the ball hits the pins. These are skills that are transferable to actual bowling.

The scoring functions for the game are accurate and exact, so you get the added benefit of learning how to keep score. Yes I know that most bowling centers offer computerized scoring, however there are times the computers are not working, there are also instances when they are not accurate, knowing how to keep score is still important. You can “bowl” by yourself or against up to 3 other players

Featured in the Wii bowling suite of games is a “billiards” game that has you shooting at a 1 pin spare, then a 2 pin spare, followed by a 3 pin spare and so on, this game does make you think about spare angles, and how the ball hooks and hits the pins. Planning how you are going to make these spares is identical to the planning and ball movement in actual bowling. Also included are an obstacles game and another game that adds a row of pins to each additional frame, getting up to really ridiculous numbers, these 2 game while entertaining do not really depict real world ball movements and are not much use as training devices.

The Wii system, because the controller senses actual body movement is very popular with the younger crowd and is also becoming very popular with older people, now being used in many retirement or nursing homes as a way to keep seniors active.

Bowling With Finger Tip Ball

Bowling with a finger tip ball uses the second of two basic grips in bowling. These grips are the conventional grip and the finger tip grip. Bowling with a finger tip ball is more commonly used by advanced bowlers, as opposed to beginners because of the lack of depth of finger hold. Some people who have tried bowling with a finger tip ball have stated that it lessens their secure feeling of holding the ball with full finger contact. The finger tip grip enables more surface coverage of the ball which increases the lift during your delivery and release of the ball.

League bowlers and professional bowlers who are accomplished in the sport are those that usually prefer bowling with a fingertip ball since they have already mastered the basics of bowling and prefer bowling with a finger tip ball for producing better hook balls.

The balls used when bowling with a finger tip ball are specially drilled to allow only the bowlers’ finger tips to fit into the finger holes. This particular grip enables bowling with a finger tip ball as a way of exhibiting more control over the ball’s rotation during the release.

If you prefer to bowl for fun and not for competition, bowling with a finger tip ball might not be what you are looking for. However, if you are able to control the ball well, but you just need a way of improving your hook, then you should try bowling with a finger tip ball.

Bowling with a finger tip ball consists of the thumb being fully inserted into the thumb hole, and the additional fingers (middle finger and ring finger), of the bowling hand, are inserted into the corresponding holes which have been drilled to a depth of the first joint. By bowling with a finger tip ball, the bowler is able to gain a significant increase in the number of revolutions of the ball when released. Finger tip bowling balls are always custom drilled, so in order to find yourself a ball, you’ll need to go to a local pro shop to have them measure your hand and do the fitting.

Because of the distance between the thumb and fingers being increased when bowling with a finger tip ball, there is a slight decrease in the release of the thumb compared to the fingers, resulting in a ‘spinning’ motion. If your intention when bowling with a finger tip ball is to deliver a better hook, then bowling with a finger tip ball should help.

Bowling with a finger tip ball is not only for delivering hook balls, but also for a better means of control throughout your game. Bowling with a finger tip ball basically enables a higher number of rotations of the ball which could also benefit the speed of your ball, as well as controlled movement.

Find Your Strike Line

How quickly you determine how the oil pattern is affecting your ball and how quickly you adjust to it can greatly influence what your score will be.

Most accomplished bowlers will use their practice shots before league starts to see if they can find clues to what the pattern is. Sometimes you may have the advantage of being told what the pattern actually is and even have a graphic representation of it available.

You should, over time, establish a shot and starting point that you are very comfortable with, This would be the shot to start with on any given lane, paying particular attention to where it hits in relation to your intended target, and how it got there. If the ball finished right of your target, you should move your feet right, only a board or two at a time, on the approach and try to use the same target, again observe how the ball reacts and adjust again if needed. Conversely if the ball finishes left of your target you would start moving to the left, again only a board or two at a time, and still using the same target.

When you encounter very dry lane conditions, which would cause your ball to move very aggressively away from your intended target, this may require that you move and also change your target line. You could also be on a lane condition that is heavily oiled, in this case the ball will skid through the oil and then grab the lane when it gets to the un-oiled part, this kind of pattern may even require a ball change.

Lane conditions change constantly even while you are bowling, this is caused by the oil drying up or carrying further down the lane, making your ball either over react or not react as well on the back parts of the lane. Because of this shifting of the oil pattern you may have to make adjustments throughout your bowling session.

Oil and conditioner patterns greatly influence scoring conditions, being watchful and aware of the need to change your delivery will help shift that influence in your favor.

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.