How to Aim a Bowling Ball for Best Results

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The exciting sport of bowling becomes even more enjoyable when you learn to aim the ball. The better you aim, the more pins you'll knock down, and the higher you'll score. Aiming, however, isn't as easy as it might seem. Beginning bowlers often think that to aim the ball accurately they just have to look at the pins. Those pins, however, are 64 feet away, so it makes sense to have closer targets, which is why experienced bowlers look for other reference points on the lane. Once you understand this concept and practice, you too can develop near-perfect aim.

  • Pay attention to your approach. A typical approach involves four steps, beginning with the right foot for right-handers and the left for lefties. During the second and third steps, let the ball swing back. During the fourth step, also called a slide, swing the ball forward.

  • Release the ball at the lowest point of your slide step, just as you come to the foul line and approach the lane. The right timing of your release will make all the difference in the ball’s direction.

  • Follow through with your swing arm, aiming it in the direction you want the ball to go and letting your arm swing up to shoulder level or even higher. It might feel exaggerated, but the higher you let your arm swing, the better you'll be able to aim the ball.

  • Look for dots on the lane about 7 ½ feet down from the foul line, and arrows about 15 feet down, and use these dots and arrows to aim your ball. Which dots and arrows you aim at will depend on your strength, the speed and spin of your ball, the condition of the lane and many other factors.

  • Experiment with aiming at different points until you get a sense of where the ball will go. If you’re a straight shooter, you’ll want to aim at the center dot and arrow. If you’re hooking the ball, meaning you’re twisting your wrist and introducing a spin, you’ll aim at a dot or two to the right or left, depending on the direction of your spin.

  • Practice aiming, since the more you practice, the better you’ll get.

Tips & Warnings

  • Getting your own bowling equipment will help you aim better, since you'll get used to the weight and feel of your ball.
  • Always make note of where your ball goes, even when you don't hit a strike. Every time you bowl the ball, you'll get more of a sense of how you aim.

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  • Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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