Have you been a casual, occasional, or recreational bowler for some time now?
Maybe you finally decided to take the plunge and join your first league.
Perhaps you crumbled under the peer pressure from your office mates and joined the company bowling team?
Whatever the case may be, there is help out there for you–and it starts right here!
I have been an avid bowler for over thirty years; and offering bowling tips for beginners gives me the greatest coaching satisfaction. Whether the beginner is a small child who is taking to the lanes for the very first time, or an adult who bowled once or twice a year for 20 years and wants to improve, folks who really want to learn can improve right before your eyes, especially those at the beginner level. I have a few simple tips which may drastically change their game.
I remember when I was at that stage of the game, many moons ago… I was a pretty athletic kid and got discouraged quickly if I couldn’t catch on to a sport fast. If I didn’t feel as though I was getting better quickly, I was inclined to pack it up and move on to the next thing.
Luckily for me, when I joined my first bowling league at age 13 there was plenty of help available. Every Saturday morning my friends and I would carpool to the bowling all with one of our parents (THANKS PARENTS). The league for 13-18 year olds started at 8:30 am. Kinda painful to us after going to school all week, but we really had a good time.
Once we settled in on our pair of lanes and started bowling, the coaches would start making their way up and down the bowling center, helping everyone that seemed to need it along the way.
I remember one particular coach, not by name but because he was the oldest, and was a retired police officer. He didn’t have any children of his own in that league but he bowled in the Seniors league after us and would get up early to help all of us. What a great guy, and excellent coach! The tips that I am going to share with you are the first ones that I remember him giving me. He saw one Saturday morning how frustrated I was getting, pulled me aside and broke down these three basic bowling principles.
1. Use the correct weight ball for your size.
Choose the heaviest ball you can throw without compromising your ability to have a full, relaxed arm swing, good speed, and not cause you to lose balance or drop the ball early. A good rule of thumb to follow is to roll 1 pound of ball per 10 pounds of body weight, then add or subtract 1 pound. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds start with a 12 pound ball. It may seem to heavy at first, but as long as you have a full, relaxed arm swing, good speed, and it doesn’t cause you to lose balance or drop the ball early stick with it. If not, go up or down in weight accordingly.
2. Use the lane to help you aim.
When you stand on the approach ready to begin your shot, as you look at the lane you will notice a variety of markings. About 15 feet down the lane there are a series of arrows that point toward the pins. Most bowlers look at these arrows rather than the pins when aiming. Why? Simply stated, it is easier to hit a target that is closer to you. So, begin bowling and watch your ball roll over the arrows, ensuring you are standing in the same position to start each time–use the dots on the front of the lane to position your feet. Make a mental note of where the ball crossed the arrows when you hit the head pin. This will be your “mark”. Beginners should practice this method with the first ball of each frame first, it gets a bit more technical when trying to get spares.
3. Don’t worry about strikes.
No one gets a strike every time. If you put that kind of pressure on yourself you won’t have any fun. I always thought that was the idea behind playing games-have some fun! Focusing on technique will help you to improve. Once you develop the mark mentioned in tip #2, make sure that you actually watch your ball roll over it every time. If you hit it and the result is consistently different, consider developing another mark. Strikes will come, work on your technique and get those spares; you’ll find that a few strikes will sneak in there after a while.