How Do You Throw A Bowling Ball Properly?

how do you throw a bowling ball properly

There are many different aspects that go into throwing a bowling ball properly. The first important factor is the weight of the ball. The next key factor is the grip of the bowling ball and the material it is made out of. On top of these crucial elements, there is a proper form to throw a bowling ball the right way. Combining these elements and techniques will result in an accurate throw, knocking down almost pins consistently.


Weight of the Bowling Ball

bowling ball weight

Choosing the right weight of the ball is very important because the weight dictates momentum. A heavy bowling ball has significantly more momentum than a lightweight bowling ball since it weighs more; as a result, it has greater power and has a stronger impact on the pins. The ideal bowling ball should be 10% of your body weight, up to 16 pounds. Meaning if you weigh 120 pounds, you should use a 12-pound bowling ball. If you weigh 160 pounds or more, you should use a 16-pound bowling ball. Knowing this information will better prepare you when you begin learning the proper motion.

Material and Grip of the Bowling Ball

There are many different types of bowling balls, all made out of different materials. Bowling balls are typically constructed from one of three coverstock materials: polyester, urethane, or resin (reactive urethane). The most common ball is composed of polyester because it is the least expensive material and doesn’t give the ball much hook. On the other hand, urethane and resin are generally more expensive, but also offer more durability and hook power.

When looking at a bowling ball, you can observe three holes. Before you can hold the ball, the individual must determine which hand is their dominant hand. With your dominant hand, place your thumb in the bottom hole. Then place your middle and ring finger in the other two remaining holes. Grip the ball with your fingertips, and do not place your fingers all the way in the holes. Allow your remaining two fingers to hang loose, resting straight on the outside of the ball. Your fingers should rest in the holes comfortably, not too tight, and not too loose. Having the right grip on the ball dictates the momentum and release point of the ball.

Preparing the Shot

When preparing your shot, hold the ball in front of your abdomen with both hands. Make sure to grip the ball properly with your dominant hand, while the other hand can be used for assistance. Begin with your feet together around 4-5 feet away from the foul line of the lane. Line yourself up with the middle of the lane. Always keep your head up and shoulders back. Mainly focus on the three most centered pins, as hitting the ball in this area allows the pins to fall backward. 

Start off by taking one step with your dominant foot while also moving the ball out in front of you with both hands. Next, take a second step with your other foot, moving the ball straight down, only holding it with your dominant hand. Then take another step with your dominant foot and swing your arm back as far as you can with the ball in hand. Finally, take a fourth step with the other foot and release the ball low in front of you. This four-step motion should flow nicely and look consistent with practice.

How to Throw the Bowling Ball

bowling grips

After you have the proper foot technique, you must master the ball’s release point. Let's have a look at what happens throughout the release. The release begins with the thumb leaving the ball, followed by a wrist rotation and the other two fingers releasing from their holes. This may appear straightforward, but the challenge to creating your release is understanding how rapidly this occurs (less than one second) and how to plan for change when necessary.

There are three different types of releases: relaxed, firm, and strong hand position.

For a relaxed release, hold the ball with your thumb pointing straight down. Follow through to end with your palm facing up. The relaxed release provides a straight ball path with little to no hook and fewer revolutions. Revolutions represent the number of spins while gliding along the waxed wooden floor.

As for a firm release, hold the ball with your thumb pointing at the pins rather than straight down. The firm release has a somewhat arching ball path in addition to a medium hook and medium revolutions.

Finally, the strong release features your thumb pointed slightly upward, with a more angular path featuring a large hook and more revolutions. The firm release and strong release go hand and hand; they are both ideal for strikes, given the powerful momentum.

Utilizing all three release positionings at different times will make you a more dynamic bowler.