Bowling isn’t about winning; it’s about having fun. But there’s not a lot of fun in bowling gutter ball after gutter ball. You may not be looking to be an expert at bowling, but improving your game can make going out with your friends to the bowling alley more fun and give you more chances to show off. There’s lots of bowling information out there, but we’ll simplify it for you with these five bowling tips and tricks for beginners that will jump-start your bowling skills. 

No. 1: Picking the Right Ball

If you’re a beginner, don’t go out and buy a ball right away. You’ll want to practice with different bowling balls before figuring out what’s best for you. House balls will be fine for this purpose. 

The first (and maybe only) thing that beginners consider when picking out a bowling ball is its weight. This is important! You need to pick a ball that feels heavy, but you don’t want to struggle to roll it down the lane, and of course, you never want to hurt yourself. On the other hand, you don’t want the throw to feel effortless. For women, the ideal weight for a ball is 11 to 12 pounds. For men, it would be 14 to 15 pounds. 

However, there are other factors to consider, such as the size of the holes. This is often considered more important than the weight. Your fingers should feel snug so that they smoothly exit the ball. If the holes are too tight, your thumb will pop out of the hole, and you’ll have a rough release. For a guide, try holes a little larger than your ring size.

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No. 2: Utilize the Lane Markings

Those lane markings aren’t just for decoration, but of course, you already knew that. What you may not know is what they mean precisely. Let’s break down these markings and how they can help you with your stance. 

  • Boards: There are 39 boards on the lane, each one inch wide. These boards help you determine where to place your feet and target your shot. There are also three rows of dots on the approach. When you making first shot, you will want to put your sliding shoe (the foot opposite of the hand you bowl with) on the center dot of the first or second row.

  • Foul Line: This line separates the approach from the playing surface. It is where the oiled surface begins. 

  • Dots and Arrows: The dots before the foul line guide your approach, and the dots after help you see where your ball is heading. 

  • Breakpoint: This is the part of the lane where your ball starts to hook back into the pocket. 

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No. 3: Keep Your Swing Relaxed

You may be surprised to learn that putting more muscle into your swing results in slower throws. If you want to learn how to bowl like a pro, you’ll need to practice the perfect swing. You’ll want to take a deep breath and relax before taking your shot. Balance your swing with your approach to ensure the perfect aim. Taking a moment to relax also helps with concentration. You can lose concentration due to anything, including distractions in the alley or even discomfort like tight clothing. Some people will wear a watch and count to four. It’s not about the extra time but about having a familiar object for focus. Watch the second hand count four ticks before moving your eyes to your mark. 

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No. 4: Practice the Perfect Stance

Of course, not every bowler has the same stance, but there are general guidelines for the perfect bowling form to help you bowl better. Having the right position can mean the difference between a gutterball and a strike. Let’s go over some important bowling stance tips. 

  • Square Shoulders: Your shoulders should be square to the foul line. If you rush your approach and drop your shoulder, you’ll send the ball wide. 

  • Straight Back: Many people have trouble keeping their back straight when they send the ball sailing, but you’ll want to keep your back as straight as possible. 

  • Straight Arms Near Body: If you’re bending your arm near the elbow and swinging it away from your body, you’ll find yourself with an inconsistent game. You may bend your elbow slightly, but the inside of your elbow should be pointing down your lane. 

  • Bent Knee: Many people will begin their slide with a bent knee, then straighten it as they release the ball to get more lift. This offers more of a challenge for beginning bowlers. If you want higher scores, keep your knee bent.

No. 5: Release with Power and Follow Through

Of course, the most important part of your swing is the release. When it’s time to throw the ball, you’ll release the ball at the bottom of your downward swing and aim for the pins. Don’t overthink this part, especially as a beginner; you can try out fancy tricks later. After you release the ball, freeze your arm and check its position. You should see it’s about head high with your thumb pointing over your shoulder. 

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Get Your Practice in at Main Event! 

If you’re looking for a place to practice, Main Event’s bowling alleys are your go-to destination to step up your game. We offer professional-grade bowling alleys that bowlers of all skill levels practice on every day. And if you’re interested, we even have bowling leagues you can join! Call your local Main Event to see what bowling leagues you can join. Or even just find out about bowling history. We are a one-stop hub for all things bowling. Stop by or schedule your birthday party or event today to enjoy our bowling alleys or any of our other numerous experiences.