Bowling Adjustments

When your bowling game is not feeling up to par, making a few bowling adjustments is the best way to get out of the gutter and back in the groove. Even a subtle change to part of your bowling game can make a difference.

The most useful bowling adjustments fall into these 6 categories: angle, ball, loft, release, speed and tempo. Here is a short description of each:

The 6 Best Bowling Adjustments

Angle refers to the tilt of your body, specifically your shoulders. Usually, shoulders stay parallel to the foul line when shooting. When a lane is dry or oily, you have to change your shoulder position to make up for lane conditions. On dry bowling lanes you open up the angle of your shoulders so that your left shoulder points to the 10-pin when you finish. On oily lanes you close your shoulders so that your right shoulder ends up pointing at the 7-pin. Angle adjustments will either increase or decrease your hook.

Ball adjustments are vital to good bowling, and professional bowlers frequently have 6 to 8 different bowling balls. Different balls react differently to the changing conditions of the bowling lanes. Polished bowling balls work better in dry lane conditions because they lessen the hook. Bowling balls with a particle or reactive finish work well when the lane conditions are oily because they “dig in” and grip the lane more efficiently. Many good bowlers also keep a plastic ball at the ready to use whenever they need a spare.

Loft is broken down into 3 categories: no loft, medium loft and maximum loft. It affects the way you throw the ball and is changed according to lane conditions. You generally use medium loft on a medium lane. You want no loft when the lane is oily, and should simply roll your bowling ball down an oily lane. Conversely, you want to use maximum loft on a dry lane so that your ball gets down the lane before it hooks into the pocket.

Release refers to the hand action you use when throwing the bowling ball. Using your normal release is fine for medium lane conditions, but as lane conditions change so should your release. A stronger release with more hand movement is best to use on oily lanes. When the lane conditions are dry, keep your hand nice and firm to prevent too much hook. You should also have a special release to use for spares, where your hand is kept very firm and your thumb is pointed straight up toward the ceiling through the entire release.

Speed refers to how fast you throw the bowling ball down the lane and has to be adjusted based on the condition of the lane. Dry bowling lanes cause the ball to hook, so your throwing speed should be faster. Oily lanes don’t have as much hook, so the ball speed should be slower.

Tempo refers to the speed of your footsteps on approach. If the bowling lane is oily, take slower steps on approach. When the lane is dry, speed up the steps you take on approach. Don’t forget that the tempo of your arm swing should match the tempo of your feet. If you speed up your footsteps, speed up your arm motion too.