How To Spin A Bowling Ball And Perfect Your Bowling Game

December 6, 2021
by Dan Skewes

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Bowling is the sort of sport that anyone can get involved in, even from a very young age.

To many people, it's a simple hobby and a way to spend time with friends. However, some people recognize it for the super fun sport it is!

If you're trying to improve your bowling game and show up your friends and competition, learning how to put a spin on the ball is an essential skill.

Here's our one-stop guide to everything you need to know about how to spin a bowling ball every time you go to the alley:

Types Of Spin

A simple spin shot isn't the one that professional bowlers favor. They opt to use something known as 'curling' or a 'hook' shot.

Hook shots are incredibly difficult to master, and they really separate good bowlers from exceptional ones.

It works through three phases: skid, hook and roll. During the skid phase, the ball will simply skid along the lane is pretty much a straight line to how it was thrown.

Then, once the spin on the ball starts to take effect, it enters the hook phase, where the ball's direction will start to curve back across the lane, towards the center of the pins.

Once the spin has finished working its magic, the ball will roll in pretty much a straight line into the pins.

Multiple techniques go into executing this difficult shot that we won't get into here. However, it is something you should try practicing if you want to reach the highest levels of bowling ability.

For this article, we're just focusing on putting spin on the ball. This is something you can then apply to more advanced shots later on.

Selecting The Right Ball

Various colors and sizes of bowling balls

As with any type of bowling shot, the key to practicing is finding the right ball. Most balls at bowling alleys are differentiated by the size of the finger holes and the weight of the ball.

For the right sized finger holes, you'll want to be able to hold the ball comfortably and be able to release it without them pinching your thumb or catching on your knuckles.

In terms of weight, this is largely down to your own strength. Heavier balls will be able to carry more force as you hurl it down the lane, but only if you're able to throw it hard enough.

A general rule of thumb is that female adults should aim to use a 10-14 pound ball while adult males should go for 14-16 pounds.

This way, the ball won't be too heavy for you to use it comfortably but will still provide enough force when you bowl it.

Of course, this is only a general guideline and will vary depending on things like your own personal weight and strength. That's why it's a good idea to experiment with different balls to find the right one for you.

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When you look at the pins at the other end of the lane, you want to identify where the 'pocket' is, as this should be your target.

The pocket is basically the gap between two pins that will give you the best score if you hit it at the right angle.

For a first shot, this is always the space between the first pin and the 2 or 3 pins (3 if you're right-handed and 2 if you're left-handed).

The kind of grip you want to use to apply spin to the ball is fairly strong. Your hand should be bent forwards somewhat to cradle the ball between your palm and your forearm.

Then, as you go into the forward swinging motion of the bowl, you should lower the ball away from your forearm as you prepare to release it.

Your stance is another important aspect of applying spin to the ball accurately. You don't want to stand in the center of the lane as you approach because you're aiming for it to curve to one side, towards the gutter.

Instead, you'll want to begin your approach at the left of the center if you're right-handed and to the right of the center if you're left-handed.

When doing this, you should also angle your body slightly towards the far gutter, aiming for it to curve back towards the center.

Releasing the ball is the most important step in the process for applying spin. You should make sure your thumb is the first finger to release from the ball, as the spin will be applied by the other fingers.

Once your thumb is on its way out of the ball, rotate your whole hand from the wrist a small amount. Right-handed bowlers will need to rotate counterclockwise, and left-handed bowlers should rotate clockwise.

As with any technique in any sport, the key to mastering it is practice. This is the sort of thing that helps to have friends around to watch your technique and let you know what you're doing right or wrong.

How Can I Get More Spin On A Bowling Ball?

An easy way to increase the amount of spin you can generate on a bowling ball is to increase the strength of your grip. This means the spin you create by rotating your wrist will be greater.

Similarly, by simply increasing the amount of rotation you make with your wrist, you can expect to see more spin generated on the ball.

The final tip would be to try flicking your fingers at the final point of releasing the ball in the same direction as you rotate your wrist.

How To Spin A Bowling Ball - Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now know a whole lot more about the fundamental technique of spinning a bowling ball.

Like we said before, you can only get better at performing this shot by practicing it plenty of times.

Try to have other people with you who understand the technique or are trying to improve themselves, as this is way easier than trying to monitor your own progress.

Good luck on the lanes!

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