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Modern Tips For Spot Bowling

As a beginner bowler or someone who has been bowling for many years, there are a few modern tips relating to spot bowling. Experienced bowlers averaging more than 150 are likely knowledgeable about using the arrows or guides on the lane as a spot technique when lining up to the pocket or for spares.

For those of you not familiar with spot bowling, it is important to understand the phrase and how it applies to aiming at a sighting target.

Spot bowling refers to the process of using guides or arrows on the lane as primary sighting marks or sighting targets as opposed to sighting at the pins. The strategy here is that you will be more accurate aiming nearer to you than further away at the pins.

Those bowlers who use markings on the lanes, or between markings on the lanes, as sighting targets can achieve bowling accuracy, if they learn a good alignment technique of where to stand on the approach for any given spot on the lane.

They must also learn where to slide at the foul line and which spot on the lane to use as a sighting target. After that, it is a fairly easy matter of making slight spot adjustments as needed when oil conditions change. This is where receiving coaching can be a real benefit if you are just learning how to bowl.

It is always a useful idea to sight closer to the foul line than at the pins but, in most cases, not so close to the foul line as to force you to bend too far at the waist just to watch your spot at the foul line. Using the bowling arrows located about 15 feet beyond the foul line is the most common “spot area” bowlers have used for decades.

A good way to begin is to first understand where the guides on the approach are located in reference to the foul line and to the targeting arrows about 15 feet past the foul line.

The arrows are located about 15 feet past the foul line toward the pins and are in a triangular configuration.

The "first arrow" is located on the 5 board of the lane surface and is nearest to the edge of the lane. The next arrow is the "second arrow" which is located on the 10 board and so on across the lane.

The arrows are symmetrically placed on the lane. Any arrow can be used as your spot depending on the lane condition, how much you hook the bowling ball, or if you are shooting at spares. You may also aim between arrows depending on the given lane condition and your delivery style.

The approach guides are used primarily for feet alignment to the targeting arrows. If you choose to align your strike ball delivery over the second arrow as your starting spot, then you can adjust your feet and your spot either to the left or to the right based on the bowling ball reaction you get.

Some bowlers choose to align with a spot only six feet beyond the foul line by using the embedded guides in the lane surface as their spot on the lane. These guides do not line up precisely with the bowling arrows but will serve the purpose of a spot to aim at which is closer to the foul line than the arrows.

Other bowlers will use the break point down the lane to sight as their spot and watch when their ball breaks to the pocket and adjust as needed, but they sacrifice seeing the ball travel on the front portion of the lane.


There's no question that the majority of bowlers use the bowling arrows for sighting targets and choose a spot to aim at directly on a given arrow, or between arrows, as the ball reaction and lane condition dictates.

Keeping your eyes focused on your spot on the lane will help you to deliver the ball accurately. New bowlers are known to think so much about the physical game mechanics involved in properly delivering a bowling ball that sometimes they forget to focus on their spot on the lane, which can hurt accuracy.

Spot bowling requires a little bit of understanding of lane geometry and use of the bowling guides or arrows as sighting tools. If you wish to learn more about how to use your arrows and guides to find your spot, it is recommended you consult a bowling instructor for more information on the targeting process.