Bowling Basics for the League Bowler - Your One Stop Pro Shop!

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40 Comments on “Bowling Basics for the League Bowler”

  1. The conversational approach made this one of the most understandable and useful videos. For basic concepts, this instructor-student format can be more effective than a “lecture”.
    Also, there were good illustrations (arrows, etc.) in the bowling clips themselves.

  2. Great video! Going into practice, I keep forgetting that I’m there to practice and not shoot for score. I’ve been so caught up in chasing my score, that I haven’t actually practiced. So, if you’re someone who is competitive in bowling, when you go to practice, don’t just bowl games. (Assuming the alley you go to sets you up to basically do open bowling; which, then it gets hard to not open bowl where you’re shooting for score, etc.) Lately I had been down about my bowling, feeling like I was going so many times per week and practicing, but then feeling like I wasn’t actually getting anywhere. I felt like my game wasn’t actually improving, and that’s when my friend helped me see and realize that what I was calling practice, was nothing more than me spending hours and days on end chasing scores without actually working on any other drills. Sometimes, for me at least, it gets ingrained in my head that a low score on the screen is a bad thing…when a low score on a screen can be good, if I got legitimate drill practice out of it….such as shooting for just 7 pins and 10 pins, working on hand and wrist positions, footwork, getting comfortable bowling anywhere on the lane. Something else lately I’ve realized….when I’ve had to move deeper into the lane, and start at the 20 – 25 board instead of my usual 10 – 15 board area….I may not like starting there, but I’m glad to know that in the event that I have to start there, and bowl those lines, that I can; because I’m just as comfortable there. As bowlers, we generally have several balls in our arsenal…but it’s good to remember that our bowling balls aren’t our only arsenal that we possess. We have many other tricks in our repertoire, and more advanced bowlers keep adding more and more of those fine tune tricks, such as the ability to change ball speed, hand position, etc.

    1. +Kyah Rose Same here. It’s tricky but once you get your rhythm going and your fundamentals down you’ll be set.

    2. I recommend working on corner pins during practice sessions rather than seeing how often you can throw strikes.

    3. I’ve never had a coach or someone who knows how to bowl properly. So I never really know what I’m doing wrong or right.

  3. Well… I only have a 3 step approach… It just feels right to me. At least I think its 3. Ive been told I only take 3 steps…

  4. I conceded defeat on practice and open bowling years ago. Its not that the alleys are dry as a bone so the lanes are nothing like when bowling in league. Rather, we were bowling next to some grandparents who were taking their 6-10 year old grandchildren bowling. When just one was bowling, they would all go up on the approach at once and some would wander into our lane while I was taking my shot. I use a 16 pound ball and the entire approach to generate a lot of ball speed and power. When we asked the grandparents to keep their grand kids off our lane so I didn’t kill one, they started accusing us of being intolerant and made a scene. So for me, I get practice by joining more than one league.

    1. Truer words have never been spoken. I’ve been bowling for over 37 years, but I took the last four years off. I started back up this fall–three new balls, two new leagues, two new houses. I found myself last week going to one of my houses to practice. It was a Sunday night, so I didn’t figure it would be too busy. I was *so* wrong. To add insult to injury, the desk attendant, knowing I was in a league and I was there to practice, put me on a lane paired with mom, auntie, three children under the age of eight, and a newly-walking toddler. As I’m walking to the lane, I remembered why I never practiced during open bowling at night, especially on a weekend. I’m practicing with my Cherry Vibe, and the oldest one picks up my ball and heads for the foul line. I run in front of her and ask her to give me my ball back. She clearly doesn’t care that it’s 15 pounds and she can barely carry it. I try to get the attention of Mom and Auntie, but they’re so busy trying to corral the other three, they don’t notice me standing between this girl and the foul line not letting her hurl my ball against the bumpers. After too long of a wait, they finally tell her to give me my ball back. I then proceed to switch to my Black Widow, so the mistake won’t be repeated, and vow to never open bowl outside of school hours again.

    2. @erika When I practice, I typically ask for a pair. On this occasion, I didn’t feel I needed one because I was practicing 10-pins only.

    3. @Neil Truick I know that feeling but children see bowling balls that are brightly colored and think it’s light. Be glad they didn’t try to use it as a jawbreaker.

    4. I would complain to the staff at the bowling centre since it is a health & safety issue as well as a bad-parenting practise to not control your kids & allow them to enter your lane.

  5. What do you recommend for a league bowler who doesn’t want to buy or lug around multiple bowling balls? I haven’t bowled in about 10 yrs, but want to start again. I plan on joining an evening league next fall, occasionally entering weekend tournaments and bowling a few Sunday morning practice games. At most I’m willing to carry 3 balls including a spare ball. My ave during my last league was between 180-200. I understand a lot has changed since then and I’m going to use the spring/summer months to reteach myself how to bowl. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Doug.  Lugging around that kind of equipment can be very heavy. Does your bowling center have lockers to rent?Another suggestion is to pair down to a two ball bag and stick with a bench mark ball and a plastic spare ball.Thanks for watching!

    2. Oh sorry, I meant a recommendation for cover/core combinations. They do have lockers to rent, but they are barely big enough for an average size 2 ball bag.

    3. Hi Doug, I would recommend as I do to all my clients that you carry 3 types of balls for different stages of your league play. It is all according to how much oil your center uses on the lanes to determine the first high performance/hook ball, many out there your local pro shop can find you PAP and your axis tilt to help you get something that would work. Next your normal ball, or what they call a benchmark ball, this would be a mid to upper mid performance ball that does not hook as much, possibly with a simple arc shape to control the lane better. Third ball would be a transition ball, all according to bowler, many of my clients use a similar ball to their high performance ball with either a shiny cover stock or a different layout, a pin down will cause your ball to transition later and in some bowlers styles that works well to help off set transitioning lanes. 4th ball would be a spare ball, I like urethane many people like plastic to slide with no hook, that choice I leave up to individual. If you want less carrying, remove transition ball and use urethane for lanes during transition phase, if 3 is still to much re move high performance ball and just go with 2 a stronger benchmark drilling layout and a urethane ball. My recommendation if you are in one house you can use 2 bowls, if you are going to a tournament in a different house than 4 balls would be what you need.

  6. If you are in a competitive mindset, like preparing for a tournament, you will subconsciously take the most conservative approach to practice and not get much out of your practice. If you truly bowl for exercise and to get the most out of yourself you will allow your natural balance and anatomy to dictate a style that is the best for you. For example, if you find that a big hook rolled near the gutter gives you the most carry, then practice that and don’t let gutter balls, and the gutter distract you for practicing that line. A good custom fit is important to formulate a feel. A bad fit will cause your hand to contort and thereby not giving you a full range of hook angles. The ideal hook angle is your finger tips pointing at 10:00 or 10:30 at release. For example, try making a claw like you would if you were fitted inside your bowling ball. Now move your thumb to the inside so as to creates tension on your hand muscles. Now try swinging that hand and rotating your wrist fully. You’ll find that the tension in your hand muscles prevents you from getting the full range of rotation. This illustrates the importance of a good fit. It keeps your hand relaxed so that you can position your roll angle at the release to get the maximum hook. Keep in mind that you are managing a weight during you swing and trying to maintain that weight in line with your target line such that your finger tips will lift the weight block from the side (not back.) at release This is akin to bending over to lift a heavy travel bag by the strap by positioning a forward leg (in the case of the right hander the left foot) to the side of the bag to provide leverage so that you can lift the weight up without toppling over.

  7. What??? Write it down? on index cards? 15 minutes of practice? Man, I went from under 100 to the just under 200 club in about 4 weeks of intense practice sessions. Every day for at least 3 hours and 10 games a day. At first I had no clue, just throwing down the center. Then I paid for one lesson and the guy showed me how to throw straight. Still didn’t help much, but the constant practice and video taping my games so I could see my bad habits and try to correct them really paid off. Now I can throw a perfect strike when I throw it correctly, and I know as soon as the ball leave my hand if I threw it bad. Then I had the alley give me sport shot and practiced on it forever and a day and now I’m in the 140’s solid.

  8. Could you please do a video on Ball Return Courtesy? I went on a Sunday to bowl when the alley was crowded. There were too many balls in the return rack (more balls than people on the lane) Nobody wanted to remove a ball but I was bowling alone and shot after shot. One of the other bowlers eyed me pushing her ball out of the way to make room so I could grab my ball as it came out of the return. She retaliated by holding my ball to the return belt for a short time. She wanted me to see her do it, and it was done with spite and revenge in heart and mind. I’m very worried about going into league play and don’t think I have the mental capacity to deal with crowds of people. But, alas, I know that the only way to the PBA is through a USBC membership, and the only way to get that is to bowl on a league. (Is that totally correct?) What if I get to the 280’s and just want to do tournaments because I’m not a league type of person???

    1. Hello and thanks for the question.

      I’m sorry to hear about your issue at practice. 

      I assure you at tournaments and league nights that bowlers will adhere to having two balls on the rack (pretty common practice).

      Below are a few videos on lane courtesy and a link to our mental game tab.

      Thanks for watching! <> <> <>

    2. Thanks so much for replying. I hope to check out your links when I can, and, I’m considering coming to DFW to go to IRTC for help with my swing and delivery. Can I pick out some oil patterns to work on there? or are you not associated with them?

  9. It took me 3 weeks to realize tape was the reason why I couldn’t get a proper release because of too much grip pressure. Tape is my bowling savior!

  10. The section of this video that was easy to understand and resonated with me occurred at minute 3:50. Talk is useless with a corresponding visual.

  11. I have not bowled for 3 years, due to personal and knee replacement surgery, I am fine now and i read your comments. I started in a league last week. None of the people in my team practice. I have always practiced and found it helped me in my score. But your right about chasing a score and not developing your abilities. I throw a back up ball and I was pretty good at it. By the time I realized everyone else was throwing hooks and getting better scores but not always I decided to try the fingertip method which was brutal. I am a senior senior and
    yes I did repeat senior. The ball was too heavy and my different coaches tried to show how to hook a ball, I really did try. So back to a back up ball. I know now after reading and watching You tube videos it is not an easy task. I live in Las Vegas where the lanes are always filled with leagues. So I will have to go in really early or late evening. I am definitely not in your league but thats OK I enjoy the challenge. Have you tried bowling with two hands?

  12. I am a beginner league bowler with a low-level reactive ball which seems to go to the left instead of straight over my target arrows. How do I correct this?

    1. Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. I would be happy to send your question off to the experts. To get started, please send the email associated with your paid membership account. Thanks!

  13. “How do you get your thumb out faster?” Two hole guys, “DONT PUT YOUR FUCKING THUMB IN THE BALL.” That is the quickest way to get the thumb out.

    1. Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert’s knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hundreds of hours of Premium content.

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