Is your hook hitting soft and leaving more splits than strikes in its wake? Are you wondering why all the pins never fall for you, but drop for your friend next door?

There are some key tricks to the bowling trade that help separate average bowlers from good ones, and good players from the greatest. From changing the way you release the ball to understanding your placement at the foul line, the following list of 12 bowling tricks will help you increase your scores and have more fun while out at the lanes.

12 Bowling Tricks For Dominating At Your Local Bowling Alley

1) Put away the house ball and find the right ball with finger holes fit for you.

A house ball can only take you so far as a bowler. They are handy for learning the game or casual bowlers, but they’re not meant for true strike junkies. Purchase a bowling ball that is drilled to fit your hands and that’s calibrated for your particular throw. It’ll help your swing, it’ll help your scores, and it’ll make the bowling alley less frustrating.

2) Get started on the right foot (or left foot) before heading to the foul line.

For a common four-step approach, use the foot on your dominant side for your first step. A right-hander will begin on their right foot, and a left-hander will begin on their left foot. Monitor the speed, strength, and positioning of your steps and adjust as necessary. Your footwork is key to making the lane a strike-filled playground.

3) Use a couple of bowling balls — one for a straight ball and one for a hook.

Some bowling balls are built to eat oil and turn them into wild hooks and angles towards the pins. Others are built for a straight shot, perfect for beginners or those trying to pick up one-pin spares. If you want to be fully prepared to hammer home strikes and convert spares, be prepared with a ball for every occasion.

4) Don’t rent your bowling shoes. Your body will thank you.

Rented bowling shoes are a cool convenience. But, they are not great for your wallet or your body. A worn-out pair of rented bowling shoes will be more trouble than they are worth, especially if you’re displacing your body weight incorrectly when you bowl. Find a pair of shoes that are a hit both aesthetically and fit-wise. Everything from your throwing arm to your posture will benefit.

5) Keep your bowling hand straight and your wrist strong for a much better swing.

A confident and strong swing is the key. Keep your bowling hand straight towards its target, twisting it only to help with hooks. Be strong with your wrist and deliberate with your throwing motion. If one part of your bowling swing is out of whack, your throw will skitter down the lane without much incident.

6) Left-handed and right-handed bowlers will likely need a different starting position.

Because lefties and righties drop the ball at different points, they usually need different foot placement and release points on the lanes for optimum results. A righty should start with their left foot pointing towards the pins, and vice versa for a lefty. Tinker with your starting position and adjust your throw to find the right groove for you.

7) Release the ball with a smooth motion and shift your body weight to find the perfect speed.

A clunky bowler is an ineffective bowler. From cupping your wrist unnecessarily to chopping your steps headed towards the lane, a bad motion and suspect base will lead to bad results. Be smooth, confident, and measured in your steps and body movements. Your swing will benefit from this.

8) Tweak your throw until you consistently knock down all the pins.

It seems like it’s obvious. But, many bowlers fail to learn from their mistakes and continue throwing ineffectively before ultimately giving up. You need to be mindful of your entire throwing motion, from steps to swing. And you need to be willing to tinker and play with things to find the right throw and motion for you.

9) Bring your bowling ball to shoulder height for some theatrics at the bowling lanes.

Don’t be afraid to lift your backswing to shoulder height, especially if you keep your arm straight and your bowling hand headed towards the target. You can tweak your swing however you want, but you have a chance for optimal revs and speed with this kind of backswing. Once again, be mindful of what works for you and go from there.

10) Don’t rely on a straight shot and a plastic ball in pursuit of a perfect game.

If you want to up your scores as time goes on, you can’t rely on straight throws and straight throws only. Hooks are huge because they open up your entry angles and increase your potential for pin carry. The more you dial in a hook shot, the better chances you have of making your first shot a strike.

11) The difference between a gutter ball and consecutive strikes is awareness.

Your ball is only an extension of you and your bowling technique. It can’t help you if you don’t help it. Pay attention to what you’re doing and not doing. You will knock more pins down with a smart, measured, shifting approach. The more malleable and teachable you are, the higher your bowling average will become.

12) Different bowling alleys present different challenges. Pay attention!

Some lanes are dry and cause reactive resin balls to go crazy, skittering off the lanes. Some lanes are wet and complex, submerging plastic balls and killing your impact speed. Each lane presents its challenges, so be willing to shift your playing approach to meet their unique demands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a trick to bowling?

How many pins are you knocking down on average? Is your first ball hitting the pocket strong or weak? Are you adjusting throughout an entire game, or are you just gripping and ripping and hoping ten pins fall?

The trick to bowling is hard work and paying attention to both your successes and failures. It’s not about catch-all bowling tips that take the fun and intrigue out of the game. It’s about working on your first throw and second, tinkering when you hit the head pin too high or bowl a ball straight into the gutter. Whether you’re a right-hander or a lefty, practice is the trick to a better bowling game.

How do I get better at bowling fast?

You get better at bowling by turning information into action. For example, observing how you do each time your ball rolls over one of the seven arrows on the lane will help you place your ball optimally en route to the pin pocket. Watch where your ball begins and ends. Tweak your starting spot and arm swing to make more pins fall. Buy the right bowling ball and find bowling shoes that fit.

The more you play, the better you aim, and the more aware you are about the game, to begin with, the better you’ll play.

How do you win bowling every time?

Most of the best players in the world started by playing with friends, honing their bowling craft while having fun doing it. Some right-handers started as bad bowlers, worked hard, and became some of the best pros in the world. And some lefties found their throwing groove and a good starting spot and worked it into a career as a cash player.

To become a strike artist, you’ve gotta put in the work. And you’ll need a ball with a comfortable grip that makes the release of your fingers (and thumb) likely to cause you issues down the lane.

Closing Thoughts

A sign of a good bowler is the willingness to grow and learn. Whether you’re in the middle of your bowling journey or just beginning, the bowling tips above will help you throw better and score more. From better bowling balls with comfy finger holes to learning the nuances of different bowling alleys, these tricks of the trade are proven to help a player’s game.