16 Common Bowling Mistakes And How To Fix Them Now

Welcome to Common Bowling Mistakes and How to Fix Them. When you’re just starting out in bowling, it can feel like there’s a sizable list of do’s and don’ts. Seasoned bowlers know the tiniest adjustments can transform a game.

If you’re aiming to play at a league level, it’s critical to iron out those initial mistakes early on.

One mistake many beginners make is not understanding the jargon used on the lanes. Phrases like ‘Brooklyn strike’ or ‘clean game’ might sound foreign, but they’re key to communicating with peers and coaches.

A simple solution is to carve out some time to learn these terms. It can be through reading articles, watching tutorials, or asking fellow league members. This step ensures you’re both speaking and understanding the language of bowling.

Related: Basic Bowling Slang Terms

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Proper Elbow Position And Fixing The “Chicken Wing”

Your stance and approach dictate the ball’s trajectory. ‘Chicken winging’, where your elbow flares out, results in a lack of control and power.

Building a straight, consistent arm swing is non-negotiable. Practice your swing without releasing the ball to get a feel for the motion.

Keeping your elbow and hand inside:

Furthermore, focus on your release and follow-through, as inconsistency here can send your ball veering off course. Practice with purpose, and your muscle memory will begin to align with your bowling intentions.

All these adjustments may seem minor, but they’re the bedrock of proficiency. As you nail down your stance, swing, and release, you’ll see a reduction in those disheartening gutter balls and a steady climb in your average scores.

Related: How to Bowl More Consistently

With this solid foundation, you’re well-equipped to target the specific challenges presented at the league level.

Perfecting Your Aim: League-Level Precision Mistakes

You’ve likely figured out by now that hitting those pins consistently requires more than just a good arm swing. Your aim needs the same level of attention and precision as a golfer lining up a putt.

However, even the most seasoned bowlers can find their aim slipping at times. The gap between where you want your ball to go and where it actually ends up can be frustrating.

In this section, we’ll tackle why bowlers often miss their mark and how to bring your targeting process under control.

Related: A Good Bowling Arm Swing

Establishing Your Focal Point

Firstly, the focal point is essential. Whether your eyes are on the pins, dots, or arrows on the lane, picking the right visual cue and sticking to it is crucial. But just looking isn’t enough; you need a consistent approach to how you take aim.

Repeatedly practicing your targeting with different visual cues on different lanes can help you find a technique that works best for you, leading to more precision shots.

Adjust For Lane Conditions

Lane conditions can really throw your game off if you’re not prepared. Oil patterns are your invisible opponent, subtly influencing the trajectory of your ball. It’s vital to read and adjust for these conditions every time you bowl.

Related: What Is The Bowling Rule Of 31

Watch the reaction of your ball throughout the night in your bowling league. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Those little tweaks can be the difference between a split and a strike.

Related: Adjusting For Changing Lane Conditions

Here is a video you may enjoy watching. It’s packed with targeting information.

Youtube Video: How to aim in Bowling – The Quiet Eye

Common aiming mistakes often come down to a lack of focus or a disconnect between your eyes and your execution. Address these issues by practicing specific drills designed to enhance your targeting.

Related: Improving Your Bowling Targeting

Practice doesn’t just mean throwing more balls down the lane; it involves targeted exercises that refine your focus and muscle memory.

Develop A Pre-Shot Routine

A stable pre-shot routine is your weapon against inconsistency. By doing the same thing every time before you take your shot, you condition your mind and body to align with the target.

This routine will not only improve focus and accuracy but also build a sense of familiarity and comfort, which can be especially calming during competitive league play.

The Mental Game: Psychological Pitfalls in Bowling

Aiming to excel in league bowling isn’t simply about physical technique; it’s also about the mind. Your psychological state plays a critical role in your performance. Bowlers often don’t realize how much their mental approach can impact their game.

Keeping Your Focus

Dealing with the pressure that comes with competitive play can be daunting. Anxiety and nerves have the power to throw off your game. This can lead to a downward spiral of frustration and missed shots.

It’s essential to develop mental strategies that enable you to maintain focus during league matches.

Don’t Overthink It – You Can Only Hurt The Team

A common issue I see is overthinking. Bowlers sometimes get caught up in analyzing every aspect of their performance, leading to a state of paralysis by analysis.

To combat this, it’s beneficial to strike a balance between critical thinking and intuition. Simplify your thought process by focusing on one or two key adjustments between frames.

Related: The Mental Game in Bowling

Develop A Short Term Memory For Those Bad Shots

Then there’s the challenge of bad frames. Everyone encounters them, but it’s your response to these setbacks that defines your resilience.

Learning how to quickly shake off a less-than-ideal outcome is pivotal. A short memory can sometimes be a bowler’s best asset.

Related: So You Bowled Terrible, Now What

Stay Calm

To maintain a level of calm and confidence through the ups and downs, I recommend mindfulness techniques. Practices such as deep breathing or visualizations can keep you centered and prevent tension from sabotaging your release.

Think Positive

Lastly, fostering a positive mindset is about embracing the process of improvement, not just the final score. It involves acknowledging both your strengths and your areas for growth. This ongoing commitment to self-improvement sets the stage for not only better bowling but also increased enjoyment of the game.

Advanced Techniques: Adjusting Your Game for Success

I’ve gone over the tweaks and techniques that can elevate the game of any bowler, especially those in league play. Now, I’ll share some advice on refinement and staying current. The world of bowling is dynamic, and so should be your approach to the game.

Choose The Right Ball -Talk Your Local Pro Shop

The right ball can make a world of difference. It’s more than just aesthetics; the weight, the coverstock material, and even the core design play crucial parts in how your ball behaves on the lanes. Take the time to talk to a pro shop expert or coach who can assess your style and recommend the best equipment for you.

Related: How To Buy A Bowling Ball Made Easy

Proper Spare Adjustment

Not every pin setup requires the same strategy. Adjust your angles and your release depending on the spare you’re facing. Understanding pin psychology – yes, that’s a thing – can turn you into a spare-picking machine.

Related: The Dreaded Ten Pin In Bowling

Throw A Proper Hook – Not Too Much Ball Spin

Getting a handle on spin isn’t just for show. It’s about control and knocking down more pins. If you’re ready to step up your game, learning to throw a proper hook can significantly improve your scores.

Once you master a good hook, you will get more enjoyment from the game. Technical mastery comes with practice, so don’t shy away from putting in the hours.

Related: Ways To Get More Hook In Your Game

Educate Yourself On the Latest Techniques

Finally, the learning never stops. From new lane materials and oil patterns to evolving ball technology, staying informed can give you the edge. Subscribe to reputable bowling magazines, join online forums, and participate in workshops whenever possible.

Practice, Practice, Practice…But Do It Right!

In bowling, like in any sport, practice is non-negotiable, but it’s also about SMART practice. Focus on quality over quantity, making every throw count. Try to challenge yourself each time you practice.

Focus on a new technique, or making harder spares. Quit when you are tired. There is no point in bowling badly when you practice.

Remember, progress is a slow process, and patience is key. Apply these advanced techniques, keep learning, and above all, enjoy the game. The strikes will come.

Related: Get More Strikes In Bowling

Did Common Bowling Mistakes and how to fix them Help Your Game?

My goal was to inform people who were beginners as well as the more seasoned bowler who hasn’t been bowling that long. Maybe it’s your first league, and you are noticing some issues. Then my article should provide you with useful information for correcting some of your mistakes.

If I did that, then I accomplished my goal.

Thank you for reading my article, I hope you found some valuable tips to help your game. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Good Scores And Good Bowling,


Eliminate That Ball Cleaning Chore

To keep you ball investment in top condition, you have to keep it clean. Wiping the ball before every pitch with a good clean Microfiber Towel, helps to remove oil and  keep the pores open.

Keeping the ball clean, keeps the reaction consistent. After a three game series, the ball should be cleaned with a good ball cleaner. Click here to find all your favorite ball cleaners and polishes. 

However, if you bowl 3  or more times a week, you may need some extra help. The pro shop will offer to rejuvenate your ball with a through cleaning for about $25. They do this using either heat or a hot water bath to clean the ball. Now you can do this at home.

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Thanks for your support!


8 thoughts on “16 Common Bowling Mistakes And How To Fix Them Now”

  1. As a casual bowler looking to improve, I found the tips on avoiding common mistakes very enlightening. However, I’m curious about how different bowling ball weights affect the game, especially for beginners versus more experienced players. Is there a general guideline on choosing the right ball weight based on skill level or personal strength? Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Corey,

      I am glad you liked the article. As I got older I dropped my ball weight from 16lbs when I was younger to 14lbs currently. The lighter ball does not carry the pins as well as the heavier ball. But, It just gets to hard to bowl 3 games with a 16lb ball. I think must of the pros actually use 15lb balls. when I went to the 14lb ball, I found it was easier to throw it a little faster or harder if I need to. And it comes down to ball placement. if you hit the pocket at the right angle, you get more strikes. 

      I had plenty of 273’s and 278’s even some 289-290 games with the 14lb ball. I got hot sometimes.

      Personally, if I could throw a 16lb ball I would. But, the game is a lot less work with the lighter ball. It’s really about personal preference. If your ball feels heavy, then it probably is too heavy and you should consider a lighter ball.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave comment and ask some great questions, please stop back soon.


  2. Hi Chas, a great article which I have found very helpful, I came across is when I was looking for some tips because my brother and I will be going against each other soon and I haven’t bowled for years, I always start bad and finish well because I don’t do it often at all but I do enjoy it. Last time I just got him at the end.

    This time I’m hoping to start well and continue on, hence why I’m researching some tips. These are some mistakes I’ll look to avoid and be mindful on your tips to fix them.

    Thanks Chas, I’ll let you know how I go!!

    • Hi Ryan,

      I am glad you found the article helpful. If you haven’t bowled in awhile, try going to the alley a few days before you bowl with your brother, and try practicing some of these tips. you will most likely do better right out of the gate. That will build your confidence, and it is easier to stay in the lead.

      Bowling is a game, like any other, the more practice you get, the better you will score. If you decide to get one of the newer high tech balls, you will discover they really help a lot. But, you have to maintain them and replace them after a few hundred games. So, it all about how serious you want to get about the game.

      I look forward to hearing how you did! 


  3. Hey Chas, 

    A wonderful article. Both novice and experienced bowlers will find your piece insightful and valuable reference. It effectively handles a range of typical bowling faults, including incorrect elbow posture, aiming problems, and psychological traps, providing doable remedies to raise one’s game. Its thorough approach, which addresses technical, psychological, and equipment factors, distinguishes it as a well-rounded resource. Beneficial emphasizes practicing, being mentally prepared, and comprehending and adapting to various lane situations. If someone wants to improve at bowling and enjoy the game more, this article is a great place to start.

    • Hi Sara,

      Thank you. I am glad you found the article useful, and hope you can fix some of your bowling mistakes now. A lot of this is truly common sense, but you have to learn to bowl correctly to know what you are doing wrong. Sometimes it takes someone watching you bowl to help you realize your mistakes. Once you do that you are on your way to a more enjoyable game and higher scores!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. If you have any questions, please leave them below. I will get back to you ASAP.


  4. Hey thank you for this post!

    I recently went bowling and it was the first time, it was fun however I found it quite hard to get the pins down. I did manage to get a few, however not as I was looking forward to. 
    Anyways this post definitely provided me with some great information and hopefully next time I will ace it! Can’t wait to see the look on my opponents faces!

    Thanks again and have a great day!

    • Hi Sariya,

      You are welcome! You have the information to start with, and it should help you. But, don’t get discouraged if you don’t knock them all down everytime. It takes practice to really improve your bowling game. And even better, if you join a league and bowl two times a week you will get better pretty quick!

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, please stop back soon! If you have any questions, leave them below.



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