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How To Get Out Of Bowling Trouble

Everyone gets into trouble on the lanes now and then. We all can get into a rut and find it difficult to make the right corrections to get back on track. If you find yourself getting into bowling trouble, take a few deliveries off of trying so hard while you are in competition and instead, focus on the following:

1. Think about making a smooth and slow start to your approach. Sometimes we hurry our approach being overly eager to deliver a good shot. We actually need to slow the beginning of our approach and start with a smooth motion to get back into tempo.

2. Use a consistent pace of footsteps and arm swing. Once you are walking to the foul line, reduce the tension in your shoulders and arm so you can swing your ball back and through with a tempo matching your footsteps.

3. Hold your form at the foul line after releasing the bowling ball to ensure good balance. Make certain you keep your eyes focused on your sighting target until your ball passes the target area.

4. Make your alignment and delivery decisions before stepping onto the approach. If you step onto the approach before you are committed to delivering your ball precisely the way you wish or if you are unsure where to line up and which adjustment to make from a previous delivery, you will then likely be doomed to making a bad shot. Plan your work off of the approach and then work your plan on the approach.

5. Keep your hand behind your ball as long as possible and delay the finger rotation. This technique can instantly help you gain a consistent ball reaction. Avoid overturning the ball too soon and you will keep your ball path directed to your sighting target.

Most of us get into trouble either on extremely high scoring lane conditions or on challenging lane conditions. On easy and high scoring conditions, you might experience the same problems as on challenging lane conditions, as odd as it may sound.

Sometimes we get an “over/under” ball reaction and we try to figure out why we cannot get two consecutive deliveries to react the same. Then we panic and compound our problems by forcing deliveries without making an adjustment that is most likely to help the soonest. On top of this, we see our competition stringing strikes and that adds spice to our wounds.

In order to get back in stride, you will often need to reduce how much you are trying to hook the ball. Play a straighter delivery path to the pocket than you normally might and make sure you deliver your ball at a consistent ball speed. Make sure you are not getting too careful and too slow by decelerating your forward swing.

Trying to hook the ball too much or using a ball that hooks more than you need on a particular lane condition can adversely effect ball motion. Try using a ball that reduces the amount of overall hook, particularly on the back end of the lane. When you are in trouble, the objective is to get back into the groove of hitting the pocket every shot. Using a ball that doesn't over-react and a delivery technique that reduces finger rotation are two quick changes you can make if you get into trouble missing the pocket three or four consecutive shots.

The trick is to make a sensible adjustment based on your instincts and what you see happening in front of you after delivering your ball. When you see your ball miss the pocket, get out of there and make a move to where you pick up oil increasing your ball skid or pick up traction on the higher friction portion of the lane, whichever the case may be.

If an alignment adjustment is not the answer, then change bowling balls. Make sure you reduce finger rotation to gain a more consistent ball trajectory to the break point on the back end of the lane.

Highly skilled players quickly make decisions and try changes in their delivery style to gain a positive result. We might see a highly skilled player elect to deliver the ball at a much faster speed than a previous shot or they might choose instead to change hand positions and use less revs on the ball as opposed to making a lateral adjustment with their feet and sighting target.


The best players make any adjustments necessary to get the ball into the pocket and to strike. They attack the pocket confidently. Once any good player understands his or her bowling conditions, the range of adjustments will narrow and it becomes an easier decision as to which adjustment will work best in competition.

When you consult an experienced bowling instructor or certified coach, they will tell you to trust your judgement and make adjustments when you see your ball reaction is failing to get your ball into the pocket. Your coach will also tell you to not make adjustments off poor deliveries.

Your job as a bowler is to know what it takes to make a good shot and then focus only on making one good shot, one delivery at a time. Think and act. Trust your own eyes and what you see.

Success comes from developing good physical game fundamentals and applying them in competition while making the necessary adjustments as the conditions call for change.