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Read The Lane With Your Favorite Bowling Ball

The best way of getting lined up to the pocket when you first begin bowling is read to the lane with your favorite bowling ball. In order to line up quickly and correctly to the pocket, you must first read the lane conditions.

Using your most reliable bowling ball, the one by which you can read the lane conditions most effectively. Reading the lane conditions requires reading your bowling ball reaction first. Using a consistently reacting bowling ball will help you make logical alignment decisions.

Start by lining up initially where you normally play the lanes at the given bowling center and at the given time of day you bowl. Once you deliver two or three shots, after you feel you are warmed-up enough to deliver your ball at a normal ball speed, you should be able to read the ball reaction and make your decision if any type of lane adjustment is needed.

Try viewing the lane in three sections; the front end or the first 20 feet of lane nearest the foul line, the mid-lane or the 2nd 20 feet of lane distance, and the back-end or the final 20 foot section of lane surface.

Reading the lanes is the best strength that the most talented players in the world are able to do successfully. It all starts by training yourself to watch the ball path closely and carefully for signs of a change in ball motion.

Your ball must skid in the front end, hook in the mid-lane, and roll on the back-end of the lane after it changes direction at the break point to react consistently so you can line up to the pocket.

If you read your ball as it's beginning to hook near the end of the front part of the lane (near or just beyond the bowling arrows) for example, the bowling ball you are using is likely too aggressive for the given lane condition or you need an alignment adjustment.

Next, you will want to read your ball reaction in the mid-lane. If your ball hooks in the mid-lane and hooks past the pocket, this will tip you off that either you must adjust your angle of attack or change bowling balls or both.

If your ball skids easily through the front end and hooks only slightly in the mid-lane but continues skidding past the break point on the back end of the lane, your bowling ball is not aggressive enough or you must reposition your alignment to the pocket by changing where you stand on the approach and your sighting target on the lane.

It is important to note that based on a given oil pattern used at your local bowling center, the distance of the oil pattern and ratios of oil application will determine the location of the break point on the lane. The break point is on the back end of the lane usually about 42 - 45 feet distance from the foul line.

Reading the back end reaction is important because if your ball does not hook sharply enough, as another example, to get solidly into the pocket, you know you must either make an alignment change or a change of bowling balls to one which develops great hook potential.


Once you are lined up to the pocket, expect the lane conditions to change the more you bowl. Particularly if you are in a league or a tournament where multiple bowlers share your pair of lanes.

Once the lanes change due to oil carry-down and break-down, adjustments are needed to restore your ability to continue hitting the pocket.

Your best guide to tipping you off as to the type of adjustment needed when you first begin bowling in a given session is your bowling ball reaction. Watch your ball carefully travel down the lane and spot the precise area of the lane when your ball transitions from the skid phase to the hook phase and again from the hook phase to the roll phase.

Hitting the pocket is every skilled bowlers objective. If you can read your ball reaction, you can read the lanes and make sensible decisions about lane play adjustments. It all begins by reading the lanes by using your favorite bowling ball.