To find your starting position, stand
in the center of the approach with your back to the
pins with your heels approximately 2 to 3 inches from
the foul line. Take three regular size steps forward
and turn and face the pins. This is your starting spot!
Begin your approach from this spot each time you bowl.
After you have developed your style and learned some
techniques of bowling, you may want to adjust your starting
You must not finish on or beyond the foul line. In fact,
the bowler should not end up closer than 2 to 4 inches
from the foul line. This will leave some room for error.
When you have selected the proper location to start
from, you should stand with your feet together. Slightly
more than half your weight should be supported by the
leg on the side of your throwing arm. This provides
for better balance since you don’t have to shift
too much weight from one leg to the other in order to
start your delivery in a well balanced manner. For new
bowlers this helps to ensure you start off with the
|The three step approach should be promoted
whenever possible. The three step approach is the most
simple and easily learned and is the one where everything
can be done naturally. It is the same style that we use
every day when walking or running. In other words, the
arms follow the leg on the opposite side and, as a result,
better balance at the end of the delivery assured. There
are, of course, other deliveries, such as the two, four
and five step approaches. Both the four and five not only
create poor balance but are likely to cause the bowler
to go over the foul line because of the speed that is
generated during the approach. The two step approach does
not allow for good balance and should be discouraged whenever
possible. The delivery should be started from an upright
position (do not lean way over) and should be completed
with a combination of the legs and back bent sufficiently
to allow the ball to be released just slightly above the
lane. This will allow a smooth delivery, does not damage
the lane and will improve accuracy. Your head must be
held upright with your eyes on the pins. In other words,
don’t let your head incline sharply toward the side
the ball is being delivered from. Remember, speed is not
the most important ingredient, accuracy is. If speed is
given more importance than accuracy the result will be
inconsistency and frustration when easy shots are missed.
If the correct approach is used, and the ball is delivered
properly and accurately, the additional speed is rarely
ever needed to get a good break, convert a spare or to
get a strike. Later, with experience, speed will come
automatically. Basically, the ball should be released
with the middle finger pointing at the pin being aimed
for. However, the speed of the ball could cause this to
be modified slightly to eliminate too much of a curve.
The size of the bowler’s hand should also have a
bearing since control will be affected if the ball slips.
Some beginners will find it difficult in some cases to
master the three step delivery, particularly when it comes
to the proper co-ordination of the arm and leg. When instructors
or coaches become aware that the person is likely to have
difficulty, it is strongly recommended that the learner
is not allowed to have a ball in his or her hand during
the first few practice deliveries. The most effective
way is to have the beginners go through the delivery several
times with the instructor or coach then a few times alone.
Only then should they be allowed to try it with a ball.
ball should be placed in the hand in such a way that it
does not fit firmly against the palm. Spread your fingers
to a comfortable position evenly around the ball with
thumb up. This will place the ball in your hand similar
to that illustrated. It is very important to note that
you must attempt to hold the ball with your fingertips
only, since this is what will make good control.
|All bowlers should be taught to follow
through after releasing the ball. By this, we mean do
not stop your hand at the point where the ball is released,
but allow it to continue on up past the point of release.
This will give more accuracy. This particular part of
the technique can be practiced endlessly at home. Simply
pick a spot on the wall about 3 to 4 feet up and go through
the three step approach, without trying to slide and make
your hand go up across the spot. This simple exercise
will not only help your follow through but will improve
your accuracy as well.
|Bowling is as much a game of concentration
as any sport you have ever played or are likely to play.
What is concentration? The dictionary tells us that to
concentrate means “to fix efforts and attention
on a single point or object”. This is exactly what
is meant when you are asked to concentrate on a single
pin, not all ten pins. This is more easily done if you
remember four simple things. (1) Do everything you can
to “get ready” before you begin your delivery.
(2) Do not delivery the ball if you don’t feel ready.
(3) Do not take too much time. You cannot maintain your
concentration properly if you wait too long. This of course
will vary with different bowlers to some degree. (4) Be
sure to keep your eyes on the pins at all times during
|Since most of the things you’ve learned
are relatively new, a “get ready” stage is
necessary. Indeed, this is important to even the most
experienced bowler. Everything you can do before you start
your delivery that is required to deliver the ball properly,
is that much less you’ll have to do during the actual
delivery. Therefore, the possibility of error is reduced
and concentration on the pin aimed for is improved. Let’s
review briefly the things that can be done during the
“get ready” stage. (1) Correct location on
the approach. (2) Proper distribution of your weight.
(3) Correct position of feet to start delivery. (4) Ball
is held properly and comfortably. (5) Concentration.
|Discipline, in this case, means making
yourself do what you know is right. Once you have learned
the proper techniques and then have worker for you, make
yourself use them as closely as you can every time. This
is a very critical part of bowling since there will be
times when they don’t appear to work any longer
and you will be tempted to change. Many times we will
change something that is not wrong and it will only take
longer to return to the effectiveness you enjoyed before.
If you do decide you want to change, it should only be
done with the advice and under the direction of an experienced
bowler who clearly understands the proper technique. Even
then, don’t expect the change is going to ensure
success day after day. Everyone has occasions when they
don’t perform as well as other times.
|This is a very necessary ingredient in
any sport and bowling is no exception. It won't take anything
away from your game to congratulate another bowler for
a good shot or for winning, but it will give other players
a reason to respect you. Be careful; don’t become
known as a poor sport. Being a poor sport will not make
you a better bowler. Quite the contrary, you will likely
not do as well. Being a good sport will come easier if
you don’t take a loss as a personal defeat that
should never have happened. Remember, no matter how proficient
you become at this great sport, never over rate your ability
or underrate the ability of others. On any given day you
can lose to another bowler who may or may not be considered
as good as you are.
- Do not talk to the bowler beside you while he or
she is in the act of delivering the ball.
- Do not lean over the ball return to pick up a ball
or to reset the pins.
- Do not use so much body English that it will carry
you over into or close to the other bowler's lane.
- Be ready when your turn to bowl comes up.
- Do not clear gutters while the bowler next to you
is in the act of delivering the ball or if the pin
is likely to fly into the lane before he or she is
- Do not stay on the approach after you have finished
delivering your ball.
- Always reset pins when you are finished.
- Remain back of the foul line at all times.
- Respect the lob line; roll, do not lob the ball.
- Do not walk in front of a bowler when he or she
is in position to start delivery.
- Do not attempt to deliver a ball at the same time
as a bowler in the next lane. If you are both ready,
the bowler on the right should be given the "right
- Control your temper and refrain from abusive or
- Do not expect a strike each time you throw a ball.
- Do not throw any balls "away". You pay
for a full ten boxes; get your money's worth. In addition
the pin you don't try for may be the one or ones the
game was lost by. It has happened many times.
- Get every possible pin with the third ball. It is
the most important of all. It picks up pins that win
matches and increases the bowler's average.
- Be a good sportsman at all times. Give credit where
credit is due.
- Do not become easily discouraged. You will get
better with practice.
|League bowlers consist of people of all
age groups, all walks of life, and all levels of athletic
skills. Leagues are organized with various numbers of
teams consisting of all men, all women, or a combination
of men and women. These leagues meet on a regularly scheduled
basis, normally once a week, to compete against each other
as teams. Some compete for prize money, some for trophies,
but all of them compete for the fun of bowling. League
bowling becomes a more equal form of competition because
of its handicap system. An inexperienced bowler can compete
with a bowler of more experience and skill and still have
a chance to win. League bowling is an inexpensive night
out giving you a chance to make new friends, compete on
an equal basis, and be assured that you will have lanes
to bowl on each week at a time that is suitable to your
this page was adapted, in part, from the Bowling Experience
by Lou Marks and The Game of Candlepin Bowling by Florence