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How To Throw A Strike In Bowling Part 3

Click Here for Part One
Click Here for Part Two

Learning how to throw a strike in bowling is a big step to improving your overall scores. The goal of you beginner bowlers, newcomers to the game, or even if you have bowled competitively for some time and have a bowling average up to perhaps 135 or 140, is to deliver your ball into the pocket to give you the best chance at getting a strike. How to throw a strike in bowling part 3 will be the 3rd in a three part series of articles and is intended in helping understanding three key factors:
  1. Pocket Location
  2. Initial Alignment
  3. Alignment Adjustments

We addressed the first two items in parts 1 and parts 2 of this series, so let's discuss alignment adjustments. Depending on your release technique, targeting the 2nd arrow is the logical place to begin your deliveries while warming up for a session on the lanes and as referred to in Part 2 of this article series.

As an example for a right handed player (opposite is true for left handed players) place your bowling shoe instep to cover the 20 board, the center board on the lane approach, and target the 2nd arrow (the 10 board) on the lane near the bowling guides about 15 feet distance past the foul line. If you roll the ball straight, you will have to adjust your angle by placing your feet further right on the approach, perhaps 5 boards further right on the approach at covering the 15 board, and site the same 2nd arrow target on the lane.


If you hook the ball a great deal, then you will need to align your bowling shoe to cover a board further left than the 20 board depending on how much you hook the ball while still sighting the 2nd arrow as your initial target on the lane.

Adjustments from this initial alignment will be needed when a ball is delivered accurately toward the 2nd arrow but does not end up solidly impacting the pocket. Make sure you are delivering your ball at a consistent ball speed each delivery before making an adjustment.

The amount of lateral adjustment for missing the pocket from your initial alignment, either to the left or to the right, depends on how far you missed the pocket after rolling your ball over your target. One proven and tested system over the years is a "parallel adjustment system." This system simply means to move your feet two boards on the approach while adjusting your target on the lane one board (half as much as your feet positioning), in the same direction, either to the left or to the right, depending on whether your ball missed the pocket solidly to the left or to the right. Simple enough!

For example, right handed bowlers (left handers may use an opposite adjustment technique), moving your feet two boards to the right right and your target on the lane one board right is a good adjustment when your ball slides too far and misses the pocket solidly to the right. This angle adjustment automatically closes your delivery angle on the lane and creates a more direct route for your ball to travel and contact the pocket.

If after adjusting 2:1 ratio to the right and your ball still does not make it to the pocket solidly, then adjust another 2:1 boards to the right. Continue making 2:1 ratio adjustments until your angle matches to the oil conditions and your ball finally contacts the pocket solidly. By the way, the pocket is located on the pin deck and at the 17.5 board.

Adjusting in the opposite direction, 2:1 boards to the left from your initial alignment positioning, will work for lanes which have less than heavy oil and which causes your ball to hook too early and miss the pocket to the left (again in the case of right handed bowlers). Multiple adjustments of 2:1 boards, either left or right, will either close your angle to the pocket on oily lanes or open your angle to the break point down the lane on dry lanes.

After your initial alignment, the lane conditions will change in time depending on how much bowling is done on the lane during a given session. In the case with league bowling, you may have to make your first adjustment for the pocket perhaps before your first game is completed, depending on how many bowlers are on your pair of lanes. You might need to make several adjustments during your league session on the lanes. Be ready to react and make an adjustment once you roll a good delivery and your ball no longer contacts the pocket solidly.

Of course, parallel adjustments may also be made in increments of 1:1 ratios for the fine tuning adjustments and in ratios of 3:1 for greater angle changes to the break point down the lane. The 2:1 common parallel adjustment typically works very effectively on most house conditions and if the oiling conditions are not too severely oily or dry.

bowlingball.com recommends practicing making 2:1 adjustments, in both directions and multiple times during open bowling sessions where your scores do not matter. Move 2:1 to the right from your initial alignment, roll a couple of deliveries, move again another 2:1 the same direction, and do so until your target on the lane becomes the 1st arrow instead of the 2nd arrow. Same thing moving to the left; make a series of 2:1 board adjustments until your target on the lane becomes the 3rd arrow. Although the ball will likely not contact the pocket solidly while practicing these adjustments, your adjustments will become familiar and comfortable to make and you will trust them during competition.

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