Maine State Candlepin Bowling Proprietors Assocation
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BOWLING TIPS
 
THE APPROACH

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 spot slightly.
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 correct foot.

THE DELIVERY
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- HAND POSITION
DeliveryThe 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.
FOLLOW THROUGH
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.
CONCENTRATION
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 the delivery.
GETTING READY
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
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.
SPORTSMANSHIP
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.
ETIQUETTE
  1. Do not talk to the bowler beside you while he or she is in the act of delivering the ball.
  2. Do not lean over the ball return to pick up a ball or to reset the pins.
  3. Do not use so much body English that it will carry you over into or close to the other bowler's lane.
  4. Be ready when your turn to bowl comes up.
  5. 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 finished.
  6. Do not stay on the approach after you have finished delivering your ball.
  7. Always reset pins when you are finished.
  8. Remain back of the foul line at all times.
  9. Respect the lob line; roll, do not lob the ball.
  10. Do not walk in front of a bowler when he or she is in position to start delivery.
  11. 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 of way".
  12. Control your temper and refrain from abusive or profane language.
  13. Do not expect a strike each time you throw a ball.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Be a good sportsman at all times. Give credit where credit is due.
  17. Do not become easily discouraged. You will get better with practice.
LEAGUE PLAY
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 own schedule.
Information for this page was adapted, in part, from the Bowling Experience by Lou Marks and The Game of Candlepin Bowling by Florence F. Greenleaf
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