How to Curve a Bowling Ball
Bowlers who seek to better their bowling skills and scores must evolve from rolling the ball on a straight shot down the bowling lane to curving the bowling ball, which often is called a hook shot. It’s a hard shot for beginners to learn and veterans to master due to the technical aspect needed. A curve gives you better control, and allows you to strike the pins at an angle that increases your chances of bowling strikes. Any pins that remain standing when you roll the ball with a curve often are in a position for an easy spare. Here are some bowling tips to cut your average bowling game score with a simple curve of the ball.
What bowling ball should you use?
Choose a bowling ball that is lighter than the weight you normally use. You stand less chance of injuring yourself if you use a lighter ball when you first learn how to curve a ball. This is because learning the arm and wrist bowling technique needed for a hook can be strenuous especially at heavier weights. Start with a plastic ball, with a light weight. As you learn, work up to a 16 lb ball which is what most PBA professional bowlers use.
Also choose a bowl with a fingertip grip, which is a ball with shallow finger holes that don’t allow for your knuckles to go into the ball. However, most house balls have knuckle grips so a dedicated bowler may need to buy a new ball. If you decide to buy your own ball, go to the pro shop at your local bowling alley or bowlerx.com.
What should the starting form be?
Stand with your feet close together in the area of the lane where you normally begin your approach, and place your fingers in the holes of the bowling ball. Some people who try to curve bowling balls do not insert their thumb, and keep just their ring finger and middle finger in the ball.
Hold the bowling ball with your free hand while you adjust the position of your grip hand so that it appears as if you are shaking hands with the ball, according to bowlingball.com. This is known as the handshake position. Keep your wrist straight, so that it lines up with your hand.
Focus on the aiming arrows printed on the lane. If you are a right-handed bowler, look at the second arrow in from the right side. Left-handed bowlers should look at the second arrow in from the left side. This is the area where you want to roll the bowling ball.
What is the proper windup?
Walk toward the foul line with a steady motion, and lean your body forward while swinging the bowling ball backward. It is important that your footwork stays in a straight, evenly paced line. Keep your wrist and your hand straight while you swing the ball into a backswing, to ensure proper control upon release.
Plant your left foot, swing your arm forward and raise your right foot as you prepare for the bowling release. Left-handed bowlers should plant their right foot and raise their left. Continue to keep your hand and wrist straight during this motion. Be sure to control your arm swing so it moves a long a straight line.
What is the proper release?
Release the bowling ball by allowing it to first slip off of your thumb, and then lift your fingers straight up. If you kept your wrist and hand locked throughout the motion, your palm will face up after release. The position of your hand and wrist combined with the motion of your fingers will curve the ball toward the pins.
Here is a full video demonstration of how to hook a bowling ball shot by a Professional bowler.
You likely won't throw a good curve ball on your first try. Continue to practice to improve your technique. As your skills increase, consider looking into different types of bowling balls. Urethane, reactive resin and particle bowling balls all provide a different level of control depending on your style and lane conditions, according to Better Bowling Guide. Your approach is just as important as your release. Concentrate on each step to improve your ability to curve the ball.
William Pullman is a freelance writer from New Jersey. He has written for a variety of online and offline media publications, including "The Daily Journal," "Ocular Surgery News," "Endocrine Today," radio, blogs and other various Internet platforms. Pullman holds a Master of Arts degree in Writing from Rowan University.