Bowling

How To Spin A Bowling Ball Like One Of The Pros

guy in bowling alley

If you’re like me, then you hit up the local bowling alley with your friends a few times in high school and college, but were never really serious about the game. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve come to appreciated it more and have really been interesting in improving my technique when I hit the lanes.

Learning how to give a bowling ball some spin is one of those things that eluded me for a while until I spent some time practicing and honing my technique.

If you’re also looking to level up your bowling skills, then let me save you a bit of time with my times on perfecting that bowling ball spin.

Before You Attempt It

One thing that I want to point out is that spinning your bowling ball is all about precision. You need to be so precise when releasing the ball and focus on the perfect technique to consistently give you ball release some spin.

It can take some time to master and achieve that muscle memory, but once you get it down the move will become like second nature to you.

Why Spin Is Better Than Straight Release

Most novice bowlers just step up to the lane and release the ball so that it goes straight down the lane toward the pins. While this can sometimes result in a decent enough score when you’re playing with other novices, to really get those high scores and be a better bowler you need to abandon the straight ball delivery release.

When you release the ball so that it spins, you maximize your chances of taking down as many pins as possible.

This is because the ball is rotating on an axis as it travels down the lane. That motion, which is technically called a hook (but it looks like a spin), is what helps you knock ’em all down and get that strike.

If you want to become a pro, or even if you just want to beat your friends, it’s worth learning the proper hook technique to achieve this spin when you bowl.

Techniques To Put Spin On A Bowling Ball

There are a few different techniques that bowlers swear by when it comes to mastering the art of spinning the bowling ball. If you’re looking for that perfect hook or perfect spin, then just focus on mastering one of the techniques below. And we’ll see you at the top of the scoreboard.

The Constant Grip

Though it can fatigue your fingers if you’re playing several games in a row, this right here is my “nail it every time” secret weapon. It’s all about maintaining the pressure on the ball from a constant grip from your starting stance through the release point.

So, you get in your starting position stance and apply the grip pressure. Then, approach and do your swing before you release the ball at that most critical of moments. That release point is really what is most important here.

You should release the ball right when your feel it nearing the back of your sliding shoe at the bottom of your forward swing. 

I can’t express how critical it is that you don’t release the ball until your hand is at the back of that shoe. If you release it too soon, such as when your hand closer to the front or the middle of the sliding shoe, then you’ll just watch the ball end up rolling right over the foul line.

Need new bowling shoes? Check out our recommendations here.

The Ball Placement

If you’re just picking up the ball and sending it down the lane, then you’re missing one of the vital components of a proper technique – the position and placement of the ball in your hand.

Want to see a large hooking (spinning) action when you release the ball? During the moment of release, just focus on more finger rotation. And if you want a smaller hooking action, then you need less finger rotation at the release point.

However, you should know that it is a lot easier to deliver a small spinning action compared to a larger spinning action down the lane.

Personally, I prefer a smooth and easy to control spin/hook so that I get consistent results on the lane.

When I bowl, I use what some people call the modified handshake position with my hand so that the ball isn’t exactly flat in my hand or on the side of the ball. Instead, it’s more in the middle of those two positions. If you can keep your hand in this exact position for the duration of your swing cycle through the release, you get the result of a modest spin – it’s most noticeable in the front of the lane gradually reduces as it reaches the back end of the lane for a smooth hook in the end.

Now, you can also change up your hand position on the ball. Some people opt for a full handshake position where the hand is on the side of the ball. Often, you get a similar result in the lane, but not always. I find that this side hand position can result in over-turning your hand on the release where your palm actually ends up facing the floor on release.

You’ll usually end up with poor ball roll and direction when trying to force a spin like this.

If you prefer to see this all in action, then you can check out the video below for some visual tips.

About the author

Sam Frazier

As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family.

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