If you wanted to learn how to become more consistent at bowling, we could simply say practice, practice, practice. We have all heard the saying “Practice makes perfect”. And it’s true. But, we must know how to do things properly, in order to become more consistent with our bowling game. So, let’s take a look at most areas that we can improve on to make our overall game better. And try to remove those little things we do to make ourselves inconsistent.
Beginning Bowlers Starting Out
To begin a bowling journey toward becoming a consistent bowler, you must start with your own equipment. Using the house equipment is fine for starting out, but as soon as you join a league, it is time to buy your own ball and bowling shoes.
Once you have talked to the local pro shop and purchased the correct equipment, it is time for a few lessons to get you on the right track. You want to learn a 4 or five step approach to your game. Most beginners start with the 4 step approach. Some bowlers progress to a 5 step delivery to help bring more power into their game. Either way, the choice is yours.
As you progress, you will want to improve your game and learn how to score better and with more consistency.
Repeat The Same Shot Over And Over Again
It’s not rocket science, it’s pretty simple when we think about it. Just throw your ball in the same spot that got you your last strike. Once you successfully master that, your strikes will increase dramatically. That is the key to being consistent and great scores.
The problem is, making it happen. Repeating shots what USBC calls “Shot Repeatability” On the USBC website They have 5 categories for making this happen
- The Approach – Your knees are slightly bent, exhale and relax before you start your steps.
- Balance – Knees bent, shoulders slightly forward, take a short first step.
- Arm Swing – A smooth circular motion that looks like you are drawing a circle.
- Hand position – Hand under the ball, thumb out first, lift and follow through to the target.
- Finish – Keep your hand up in the air till your ball hits the pins.
Improve Your Bowling Consistency
When we bowl , we are using four different things that allow us to deliver the ball down the lane. They are all important and we need everything to work correctly to achieve some good scores all the time.
- Some Good Bowling Footwork
- A Good Proper Arm Swing
- Good Timing
- Consistent Ball Speed And Hook
Good Bowling Footwork
Our footwork is the start of the whole bowling process. If you have never been coached on proper footwork, then now is the time to pay attention. Your footwork has to be done properly to avoid some common problems. How many times have you heard people say “I hit my leg.”
The reason people “hit their leg” is because they were never told to use the cross-over step to actually get the leg out of the way so you can swing the ball past without your leg being in the way.
Most people never take any bowling lessons, so they don’t know this until they join a college bowling league, and have coaches to explain the basics like proper footwork. The cross-over step will immediately improve your bowling.
USBC Improves Footwork For A Consistent Arm Swing
At the USBC Bowling Academy, they create a consistent arm swing with proper foot placement. They teach bowlers to place their feet in the same spot so they can keep the leg out of the way and create more consistency in the swing and follow through.
And they make sure their feet end up in the same place every time.
Watch the comparison between the crossover step and not crossing over with your footwork.
Create A Consistent Bowling Swing – USBC Bowling Academy
Create A Consistent Bowling Arm Swing
Once you have the feet in the proper place by using the cross over step, next is the arm swing. It is important to have a smooth arm swing that keeps a smooth straight arc to deliver the ball to the same spot time after time.
You can read a more in depth discussion in my article A Good Bowling Arm Swing
USBC Bowling Academy Video On Arm Swing
The USBC teaches bowlers how that keep that smooth arc as you swing the ball through the back swing.
Using the cross-over step, you create room for the ball. This allows you to keep the ball and your head aligned with your target. Relax for a second at the top of your backswing and let the ball fall forward to your target point. Applying this motion to every throw we make is going to help us repeat that motion shot after shot.
Proper Bowling Arm Swing – USBC Bowling Academy
A Consistent Bowling Hook
It is a fact that hooking your bowling ball will result in a higher percentage of strikes. But in order to do this time after time, you must maintain the right speed and create the same amount of revolutions on the ball each time.
One issue that is often overlooked in a consistent hook, is proper fit and feel. Sometimes our fingers will shrink and change the grip pressure and “feel of the ball.” Inserting a piece of bowling tape into the finger holes will help to tighten up the grip on the ball. This might be all you need to increase your scores.
I ran across a very good article from Bowlingball.com that gave some great tips on ways to maintain consistency with your bowling hook. Here is what they had to say.
How to Develop A Consistent Bowling Hook
By knowing, however, how to develop a consistent bowling hook, you can make clear adjustments because of reliable bowling ball deliveries. The process begins by understanding a few important release techniques to improve the quality of your shot-making.
Here are a few easy keys to get you on your way:
1. Maintain consistent gripping pressure with your bowling fingers throughout your arm swing cycle. The majority of gripping pressure should be with the pads of your bowling fingers with very little pressure on the pad of your thumb.
2. Release the ball between the shoe laces of your sliding shoe and the toe of the shoe. The momentum developed from the swinging of the bowling ball will carry the ball onto the lane surface beyond the foul line.
3. To produce a modest and controllable hook, less finger rotation at the moment of release is required than if you wish to produce a larger hooking action as the ball travels down the lane. Less hook is easy to control. A strong hook requires more discipline because of a faster and larger rotation by the fingers during the release of the ball.
4. Place your hand holding the ball not flatly underneath the ball and not completely on the side of the ball as if you were going to shake hands with someone, but rather in between the two positions. If you were to allow your hand to maintain this position through the entire swing cycle and into the release area, you will rotate the axis of the ball perhaps only 15-20 degrees and the result will be a controllable hook on the back end of the lane.
5. Avoid “over-turning” your hand and bowling elbow while releasing the ball as to have your hand pass over the top of the ball and your palm of your bowling hand face the floor. That type of release will certainly cause inconsistencies and result in poor direction toward your target as well as an ineffective roll.
6. For a sharper hook motion, place your hand under the ball with the palm of your hand facing toward the ceiling. This type of hand position is commonly known as “behind the ball” positioning. As your hand reaches the critical release zone with your hand maintaining the “behind the ball” positioning on the forward swing, you must rotate your fingers quickly and decisively from left to right (for right handed bowlers – opposite for left handed bowlers) or about two or three hours on a visualized clock dial from “behind the ball” to the side of the ball near to the three o’ clock or four o’ clock positions. This quick and decisive rotation of the bowling ball by your bowling fingers will tilt the rotating axis of your ball causing it to hook more sharply than the previous example of maintaining your hand between the “behind the ball” position and the “handshake” position.
7. In tips 5 & 6, be careful not to rotate your entire arm but rather only your fingers and wrist action.
8. Use a wrist device when practicing (if you do not already use one) which allows for a setting to be adjusted to create a quick and consistent thumb release and a crisp axis-tilt rotation motion. Tilting the wrist upward while you are releasing the ball will fly your thumb out of the ball well before the fingers so the fingers can rotate the ball decisively and create additional revolutions on the ball and/or increase the amount of tilt in the rotating axis of the ball, both of which will undoubtedly work toward maximizing your release hook potential.
bowlingball.com always recommends you consult with a certified coach so you can sharpen your skills and learn how to develop a consistent bowling hook. We hope these tips help!
Knowing how to keep our hook the same each and every time will improve that consistency we are trying to achieve. When we know how to achieve a good motion, we can repeat it easier and become more consistent.
Be Consistent With Your Routine
Even the pros have a routine when the step onto the approach. They wipe of the ball, maybe wipe their shoes, stand and look at their mark, visualize the line down lane, and bowl. Whatever your routine is, do it the same each time.
Square your shoulders, don’t allow your shoulders to drop. Keep the shoulders slightly raised. Dropped shoulders allow too much movement and increase your chance of error.
Imagine your head is a large immovable piece of concrete. Keep your head still. you don’t want to pull you head up as you release your ball. I have seen many people do this and wonder why they are not getting a consistent shot.
Stay relaxed. Do not “muscle up” with your arm. Keep it relaxed. A tense arm will deliver a poor shot.
Bend your knees slightly, this will improve your balance when you release the ball.
Improve Your Follow Through For Consistency
The follow through in bowling also helps with accuracy. To keep everything online you need to continue the motion after the ball leave your hand. Bring your hand up through your mark for more accurate shots.
Focus on where you hand is and keep the motion the same every time. If you come across your body, do it every time consistently. Keep track of your elbow. You want your arm straight and the elbow tucked into you body.
#1 Way To Improve Consistency – Improve Your Bowling Follow Through
How To Get More Strikes For Consistency
One way to control your bowling consistency is to get more strikes. Working on your ability to come around the ball will increase the reaction the ball has downlane.
Here is another video of Shannon O’keefe as she uses a few drills to get her hand coming around the ball more.
These are easy drills you can practice to increase you ability to get around the ball. As you do this more often you will develop a feel for how much you need to get around the ball.
Some lane conditions will work better if you stay behind the ball and throw what they call “Up The Back ” of the bowling ball. Then you don’t want to get around the ball at all. The more tools you have in your arsenal, the better.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my article and find a few pointers that will help your game of bowling.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I will get back to you ASAP