This Bowling tips and tricks article is going to be a bit more for the advanced bowler. In my article on Hook Bowling and Getting Started, I covered a lot of the basics that you would encounter when you decide you want to start throwing a hook ball. I touched on some basic stuff and gave you the introduction. Now, lets get into some more advanced bowling tips and tricks.
Dots, Arrows and Rangefinder Boards = The Finishing Touch
The standard dots and arrows on the bowling lane were covered in the video of bowling basics shown in the Hook Bowling and Getting Started post. Most advanced bowlers use the lane dots either in front of the arrows, or the dots found at the foul-line to target their shots to the arrows on the lane.
They use the dots on the approach to carefully adjust where they want to stand, on which board, and how far back from the foul-line.The bowler who also uses the rangefinder down the lane as well as the dots and arrows, is going to be a more accurate bowler. He is well on his way to being the complete bowler.
The Three Point Targeting System
It is indicating he understands the importance of knowing the area in which the ball needs to break to reach the pocket.The key is he is also using a 3 point targeting system on the alley. The dots, the arrows, and finally the rangefinder boards at the ball break point of the alley before the pins.
If you checked out my previous post you will notice the video I used was actually showing the older wooden lanes and does not show any rangefinder boards. Years ago these rangefinders were not as common as they are today. These are actually very useful, because they help you determine the exact board the ball is on when it reaches that break point and starts to break or turn into the pocket of the pins.
They also let you know if your ball trajectory is correct, or if you caused the ball to be inside or outside the rangefinder. They can also establish where you need the ball placed to reach the pocket correctly, or if you need to adjust your line by a board or two.
These boards are three feet long and are darker in color. They are located on the tenth, and thirtieth boards across from each other at 40 to 43 feet. And there are two across from each other located in front of those range finders on the fifteenth and twentieth boards at 34 to 37 feet down the lane.
The purpose of these boards is for the advanced bowler to see exactly where his ball is traveling once it reaches that point on the lane. This is the final targeting before the ball hits the pins, and the markers show the bowler if he is throwing his ball down the lane and arriving at the same board down the lane.
This enables the bowler to maintain the same exact line, and effectively produce the same result time after time. This is critical for success in striking ball after ball, and one of the most important things to master for consistent bowling success. What he is doing is the 3 point targeting approach.
This is a video from YouTube done by Joe Slowinski at the
How I Use the Three Point Targeting System
We use 3 point targeting systems all the time. For example, when you shoot a gun, you line you eye with front and rear sights on the gun(2 points) and a point or the target you want to hit.People talk about a 3 point targeting system in bowling, and Joe Slowinski talks about it in the video above. They actually use a specific point at the base of the pins to complete the line.
That is useful information, because if a bowling lane doesn’t have the rangefinder boards on the alley, you then could use the inside or outside of the pins to determine the exact board down the lane, to use as your third point. They have actually broken it down into 5 areas to use for targeting. They are:
- Beside the pin(2 sides)
- Bottom left
- Bottom right
- Center of the pin.
This enables you to make a very slight adjustment to the angle of your ball.
Start on the Approach
I can give you the way I use it and you can do what you find easiest for you. Once I am positioned on the approach in the spot I want to be standing in, I use my right foot to line up.
I draw a mental line through all the points I want the ball to travel over. The dot, the arrow(or board inside or outside) and finally the rangefinder board.
I then bring my eyes back to my feet, and start my steps, as I step I watch the board I am standing on to be sure of the spot I am going to place my left foot on my slide, as I deliver the ball.
When I reach my final step I look out onto the lane and focus on the exact board and spot on the alley I am using as my mark. Ideally as the ball reaches my foot, my thumb comes out first, and at that exact moment, I follow through and bring my hand(right up through my mark) into the shaking hands with the pins position.
Use the Quiet Eye
I focus on that mark until I see the ball travel over it, then I look up at the next mark and watch to make sure the ball is on target, following with the final rangefinder board and watch the break of the ball and the point at which the ball enters the pocket. The difference in my targeting is the fact I am using the dots in front of the arrows as my starting point, and the rangefinder boards as my 3rd point.
I have learned from the video above to use the specific spot on the pins to put a finer degree of accuracy and adjustment into my game.I will also try to train myself to use the counting methods for a Quiet Eye and better targeting.
Carefully Consider Your Adjustments
In preparing to bowl in my leagues, if I have used my practice correctly, and made adjustments for aligning the most successful line under the conditions that night, I should see some strikes. I like to wait until I have had the same problem pin several times before I make any adjustments to the line I am using.
I want to be sure that I didn’t leave that pin because of an errant shot that I caused by change in speed or my bowling mechanics. Far too often I have made a move and changed the line, only to find myself getting less pin carry, and eventually going right back to where I was originally. I would then realize it was a poor decision to move for a lane adjustment, when it wasn’t necessary, because it wasn’t the condition of the lane at all. It was me, pure and simple.
The best practice to use when you are leaving the same pin, is to watch the ball traveling through the pins and make note of how the pins are being carried. Let’s just use leaving the ten pin as an example of the pin you are leaving.
Once you figure out why, maybe the six pin is going to the gutter, and leaving the ten, you can make an adjustment. But you have to be alert enough to watch what is happening on the lane, and respond quickly. This is probably the most important thing to learn, to be able to realize and see what is happening and respond with an adjustment to correct it.
Rule 31 – The Board the Ball Exits the Oil Pattern
This rule came out in 2005-2006. It established by USBC research. This rule says, if you take the length of the oil pattern, and subtract 31, you will get the board that the ball exits the oil pattern.It is not the break point of the ball, simply the end of the oil or where your ball will exit the oil in that pattern.
So, for 41 feet of oil, minus the 31, your ball is exiting the pattern on the ten board. It is only telling you when you are out of the oil. It clearly gives you a reference point to start from in a new house or tournament bowling. Most houses will publish the oil pattern, so when asked about it, they should be happy to tell you how long the pattern is.
What it is telling you is that if the pattern is longer, you have less time for your ball to hook back to the pocket, so you will be playing more to the inside part of the lane. Or you will need your break point closer to the pocket
If you are dealing with a shorter pattern, then you will have to play farther to the outside of the lane to give the ball room to hook to the pocket. Or moving your break point away from the pocket.
It doesn’t really matter how you get your ball to that area, that is where the shot is. Whether you are a cranker, stroker, or tweener, you will need to get the ball basically in that board area to score on that pattern.
Bowling Tips and Tricks That Also Work
Hand Positions to Control Your Hook
When you get the best target board area, and you start play, sometimes you just need a slight adjustment for your pin carry to improve. I like to use the slight finger adjustment if possible. I will spread my index finger out wide on the ball, when I need to cut down my hook.
Maybe I need a little more hook, then I tuck my finger in against my middle finger. Or you can also spread out or tuck your little finger in against your ring finger. You can also cup your wrist more or go to a relaxed hand in drier lane conditions.
And of course you can also clean your ball using USBC approved ball cleaners to get more hook from your ball. It is a good idea to keep your ball deep cleaned before league play as well. One easy way I highly recommend is to use a Bowling Ball Rejuvenator
Footwork and Follow Through = A Straight and True Shot
Make sure you are traveling straight to the mark and using proper footwork. Correcting bad footwork, can turn a bad night bowling into a much better night quickly. Be sure you are crossing over and allowing your hips to give you room to get the trailing leg out of the way. Anytime you feel off balance, be sure you are bending your legs slightly before you take your first step. If you hit your leg often, check to see if you are using a cross over step.Try it next time you bowl, and you will see a difference.
Arm Swing Controls Your Ball Speed, Not Your Feet
People seem to think it is you feet that control your ball speed, but it is really your arm swing. The higher your swing, the more ball speed you generate. However,to be accurate, you swing needs to be straight and true. In order to do that, it really starts with your footwork on the approach and up to the foul line. Remember, you need the cross over step to get the hips and leg out of the way for a straight arm swing.
Three Balls Might Give You Better Scores!
I can’t give bowling tips and tricks without mentioning the bowling balls.Bowling today with the high tech ball and synthetic lanes is different than it was on the old wooden lanes. You have quite a few balls, and different reactions from each that make the choices endless.
The main types of balls I like to carry are a stronger hooking ball, and a slightly less aggressive ball maybe with a smoother roll to the pocket. Also, a plastic spare ball for ten pin spares. The aggressive ball for slick fresh oil, and a less aggressive ball just in case the lanes dry quickly. It is so much easier to have a weaker ball to use, than to struggle with a ball that hooks too much.
Machine Malfunctions Happen
Sometimes is possible to have an oiling machine malfunction. It does happen. When it does, it can result in very oily or very dry lanes. Whatever the reason, it is nice to have something to help deal with dry or oily conditions.
So I have given you some of my best bowling tips and tricks. I will share more as I continue to work on my game. Because, I am still as they say, a work in progress. Anything I tell you is based upon my personal experience and research of the game. I have always read all I could when I have bowling problems that I need to correct. You will also gain a tremendous amount of knowledge from other skilled bowlers.
And I have tried to practice what I was taught to me by other more skilled players than myself.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed sharing it. If you liked my article, or have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP.
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