We've heard it many times before... practice makes perfect. And for good reason-it's the truth! The best way to get better at anything is to practice; bowling is no exception. However, how you practice will mean the difference between slowly improving and supercharging your game!
Bowling Tip #1: Use the right tools
In any sport, using the correct equipment for the job you have to do improves your performance. In bowling, the ball is the most important piece of equipment you will use, so choose the right one for the job! Be sure to try out many, and select one that's the right weight, material and finger-grip fit.
Bowling Tip #2: Are you bowling enough?
To progress at bowling, you need to bowl at least once or twice a week. The most economical way to get this amount of practice in is by joining a league. Usually, the more experienced players show up before the game to practice. This is when you can learn the most, from people committed to the sport.
Bowling Tip #3: Learn to walk the walk
While professional bowlers tend to use a 5-step approach, that's just not suitable for someone just learning the sport. Beginners are usually more comfortable with a 4-step approach. You can practice your approach without throwing a single ball. Keep your shoulders square to the front, your head up, arm swing smooth, and your pace consistent and even.
Bowling Tip #4: Let 'em roll
Spend time rolling the ball. A bowling ball should never be thrown. How do you tell the difference? A thrown ball will land with a loud "clunk" and then slide a few feet before beginning to roll. A rolled ball lands quietly and quickly rolls down the lane. If you find that you're in the habit of throwing the ball, simply slow down. Try taking a slow, deep breath or two before bowling to settle any anxiety. You will hit more pins with a rolled ball than with a thrown one.
Bowling Tip #5: What you think is what you do
Spend time visualizing and analyzing your shots. Visualize your movements and your shots before you do them. If your ball goes consistently too far right, begin a little further left. You will learn to "feel" when you've bowled a good ball. When you do, write it down before you forget. What did you do? How did the ball feel? Where did the ball hit? Keep it for future reference so you can do it again.
Bowling Tip #6: What if I can't be at the alley enough to practice?
Any smooth surface with a long, clear distance is suitable for practicing your approach. It's not safe to practice the release, however, as a bowling ball will easily roll straight through walls if you miss your target! Not to mention you'll ruin the surface of your ball. When practicing at home, mark your foul line and arrows in masking tape or other material that will not damage your floor. Also mark where your toes need to be for each step. Practice your approach until it's second nature.
You can practice your arm swing outdoors with a bucket of water with a small hole at the bottom. The water drops on the ground will mark the path of your arm and the direction the ball would go. It's a good way to see if you arc around your body when you bowl and which direction your arm is going. This can be a very enlightening experience.
Bowling Tip #7: Don't spare yourself the trouble
It's a very good idea to practice picking up your spares. A bowler who can consistently pick up his spares can easily hold a 180 average without getting any strikes. It's especially useful to practice bowling at the 7-or 10-pins by aiming at them and bowling across the strike zone (the "x" on the lane) from the opposite side of the lane.
By practicing these bowling techniques on a regular basis, you'll be honing the skills that will help you improve your bowling game!