A Ten-Point Bowling Checklist

Part of the Bowling For Dummies Cheat Sheet

You bowl your best when everything from your stance to your follow-through is spot on, so pay attention to these ten bowling basics every time you throw:

  • Equipment: A great bowling ball is the start of a great game, so find one that’s the right weight and feels comfortable, whether it’s a house ball or your own ball. Add in comfortable bowling shoes, and you’re ready to hit the lanes.

  • Starting spot: Make sure you’re throwing the first ball of every frame (called your strike shot) from the same starting position. Consistency helps increase your chances of throwing strikes.

  • Timing: Each step of your foot should match up with a specific part of your arm swing and release. Get the timing right, and you’re off to a great start.

  • Hand and wrist position: Keep your hand and wrist strong through your entire shot. If you throw a hook, turn your hand and wrist as the ball comes forward from your backswing until you release the ball with your hand in the handshake position. If throw a straight ball, make sure to keep your hand and wrist straight through your release.

  • Approach: Put all the components — timing, hand-and-wrist positioning, steps, speed, and power — together for a clean approach. If your approach is off, your throw may be as well.

  • Follow-through: Finish your shot by throwing the ball down the lane as it passes your ankles. Then bring your arm up to at least shoulder height to complete the shot. Keep your hand either in the handshake position or palm up, depending on how you throw the ball.

  • Ball speed: The ideal bowling ball speed is 16 miles per hour, but the right speed for you is whatever it takes to knock down all the pins.

  • Target on the lane: Keep your eyes on the prize, or the target in this case. The marks on the lane are there to help guide your ball right into the pocket, so aim for them.

  • Breakpoint: If your hook shot doesn’t cut back at the right spot to go into the pocket, a strike is out of the question.

  • Pin action: Bowling is all about angles, strength, and speed. Find the right combination of all three, and you get perfect pin action and the strike you’ve worked so hard for.

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