The first thing a bowling beginner needs to move to the next level of their game is to learn how to throw a bowling ball hook in a proper and effective manner. While straight-line shooting can get the job done, it minimizes a player’s room for error on first shots and severely limits the level of pin action and carry a bowler gets at the end of their shot.

Therefore, learning to throw a bowling ball hook is critical for a player to get the most out of their throw every time they step up to the lane. With that in mind, we’re here to provide you with all the nuances of how to throw a bowling ball hook and how to do it in a way that’ll increase your scores and better your shot altogether.

5 Steps For How To Throw A Bowling Ball Hook

  1. This may be the most critical step for throwing a proper bowling ball hook even though it takes place well before you step up to the line. It’s integral to the success of throwing a proper hook that you invest in a bowling ball that is drilled to fit your hand. If your finger don’t fit right in the finger holes, you’re either going to throw a wonky hook or no hook at all.
  2. Using a comfortable lane approach for you, begin your shot by swinging your arm straight like a pendulum. Don’t snap your wrists or try to do something unique with your arm placement. The way you release and rotate your fingers is the key to a good bowling ball hook, not snapping your arm or wrist.
  3. Remove your thumb from the bowling ball on the final step of your approach. This is huge as it’s your middle and index fingers which will be guiding the hook of the ball. If you fail to get your thumb out in plenty of time, you’re going to have an extremely hard time controlling your hook or getting the ball to hook at all.
  4. If done correctly, you’ll have removed your thumb at the lowest point of your bowling swing. This will put all of the weight of the bowling ball on your other fingers. At this juncture, remove both your middle finger and ring finger from the ball. When you do this, simultaneously turn them either counter-clockwise if you’re a righty, or clockwise if you’re a lefty. If you do this right, it’ll come off as a natural flicking motion and your fingers will come up to the side of the ball. This gives your bowling ball lift, allowing you to throw the ball with more force and control instead of just dropping it on the lane.
  5. Keeping the idea of a pendulum in your mind, swing your arm forward and towards your target while releasing the ball. If you do it just right, it’ll look like you’re giving the air a handshake. Doing so will give your ball optimum side rotation and revolution, causing it to go straight at first before hooking (hopefully) towards the pocket. Throwing a bowling ball hook takes a lot of practice, but the results of getting it right will mean huge things to your scores going forward.

How Do You Keep Your Hand Under Your Bowling Ball?

Modern bowling balls, especially high-performance bowling balls, are built to maximize hook potential  unless you’re using a plastic spare ball. With that being said, the vast majority of the work you’ll do to hook a bowling ball comes with how you release and rotate your fingers.

Your arm should remain straight to allow you to stay behind and under the ball on your shot. If your entire hand turns early at your release point, you lose pin action and overall back-end reaction on your shot.

In order to keep your hand under your bowling ball, use your ring finger to lead your forward swing all the way down to your release point. This pushes you to keep the bowling ball into your body and forces  you to stay under your ball until you reach the flattest portion of your swing.

At your release point, your middle finger should be at a six o’clock position and should be rotated fluidly to three o’clock as soon as you release the ball. If you keep an eye on your finger positioning and use it to your advantage, you can stay under your bowling ball and maximize your overall hook potential.

How Do You Curve A Bowling Ball With Two Fingers?

It’s actually extremely easy to curve a bowling ball with just two fingers. It’s just extremely hard to control it without your thumb in a hole as a proper balance. All you have to do to generate a pretty large hook with two fingers is twist your middle and ring fingers up and to the side of the ball as you release it.

There are some two-finger bowlers who experiment with rotating their wrist as well. Be careful about doing this as there’s a fine line between rotating your wrist and snapping it awkwardly. The best thing about curving a bowling ball with two fingers is that you can usually curve any house ball with the method because the ball doesn’t have to be drilled to fit your particular thumb for proper release.

One note about your swing on a two-finger curve – you probably won’t be able to use the same straight pendulum shot that you’re used to on a normal hook. Because you don’t have your thumb as support, you’ll likely have to tuck your arm more and use a shorter swing. 

Be careful because messing with your swing mechanics could lead to a wrist or hand injury if done improperly.

What Is The Best Weight For A Bowling Ball?

There are many rules of thumb out there for finding the right weight for your bowling ball, with one being trying to get a ball as close to 10 percent of your body weight as possible – with 16 pounds being the maximum weight of a ball.

This isn’t exactly a foolproof way of doing things. In fact, no bowling ball weight equation is really going to take all of your particular needs as a bowler into account. The way to judge the best weight for a bowling ball for you is to be honest about your comfort level.

Of course, properly throwing a max-weight 16-pound bowling ball is going to give you the most potential pin carry and overall shot power. Yet, there’s no reason to tire yourself out throwing a 16-pound bowling ball if it’s too heavy for you to maximize your shot over and over again.

If dropping down a pound or two allows you to throw the ball with more efficacy and durability when it comes to your arm strength, do so. Tinker around with different weights to find the right combination of power and comfort for your own shot.

Closing Thoughts

The ability to throw a bowling ball hook and throw it effectively is a huge step for any bowler in turning a solid grasp of the game into actual, tangible results. When throwing a bowling ball hook, keep your form in mind and always listen to your arm. If your arm or hand hurts when you’re learning to hook the ball, you’re likely doing it incorrectly.

But once you’re able to throw a bowling ball hook with consistency and the right form, you’re going to see some amazing things happen down the lane that you weren’t able to make happen before.