The first thing you need to move your game to the next level is to learn how to curve a bowling ball? Because curves are more likely to strike than straights. But what are the easiest steps that lead to curve a bowling ball without risking any injury to your wrist, thumb, or fingers?
Well, we will discuss those steps, including the grip, run-up, release, follow-through, and mental approach to curve a bowling ball like a pro.
What is a curve in bowling?
Curve, commonly known as a hook in ten-pin bowling, is a ball that rolls in a smooth arcing motion down the lane. This way, the ball should enter the pocket at an angle to hit more pins. A curve in bowling is usually thrown by more experienced bowlers to get bigger scores.
How to curve a bowling ball for beginners
It is always great to amaze your friends with your curling skills at the bowling alley. To make a bowling ball curve down the lane, it is important to understand different factors.
With a little practice, this guide can help beginners to intermediate bowlers curve a bowl-like pro in a concise period of time. Here are some tips to keep in mind to curve a bowling ball like a pro.
Buy your own bowling ball
Not every ball is ideal for the curve. You need to have a perfect bowling ball with a good fit and correct weight. And that will also lead you to develop good habits to become a better bowler.
The house balls are not specifically tailored to an individual’s hands and do not curve much. House balls are usually made of plastic or urethane, and they are not the best fit for hooking or curving.
So get your own bowling ball with a reactive core that you are comfortable throwing down the lanes. For maximum ease, get the ball drilled into your hand.
Start with the right grip
There are two basic grips in bowling, the conventional grip, and fingertip grip. Straight bowlers use the conventional grip as they feel more secure in it. But It is not suitable for throwing a hook or curve. Because it is difficult to rotate the ball with this grip.
Fingertip grip is for curving or hooking a bowling ball to get a bigger score. Some bowlers also use the semi-fingertip grip, but it is not recommended if you have just started to curve a bowling ball.
Preferably, you should use the fingertip grip in order to curve a bowling ball.
Hold the ball properly
Hold the ball to the right of your body. The height is around the position of the chest. Grip the ball with your thumb instead of your middle finger and wrap it in your palm. It will be easier for the ball to come out without putting too much pressure on the wrist.
Position yourself on the bowling approach
A successful standing position to start your run-up is one you can remember, repeat, and use to your advantage when you need to adjust.
If the standing position changes, the ball’s movement will not be stable even if it is thrown with the same form.
It’s the same as trying new challenges and making adjustments over and over, so always position yourself on the bowling approach to improve accuracy.
Take 4-step Approach
To put more spin with comfort on a ball, the number of steps for the run-up is 4 steps. Taking a good tempo and throwing the ball in a 4-step approach will improve the overall balance. It is difficult for beginners to get a feel for four steps, but you can throw the ball at your own pace with great comfort if you practice.
After throwing and adjusting several times from the decided start, remember the standing position firmly so that you can start throwing from the same position no matter how many times you do it.
Don’t look at the pins.
As a beginner, you should keep your focus closer to you. If you are looking at the pins, you have to aim at a distant target. That is why I would suggest not looking at the pins.
Instead, look at the target arrows spread across the lane about 15 feet down from the foul line.If you focus on the spot area attached to the lane as a guide, you will consistently hit your target with better control and hook.
How to throw a curve bowling ball
When throwing the ball, be aware of where your thumb is pointing. If the pitching direction is 12 o’clock on the clock, your thumb should point to 10 o’clock. By throwing the thumb at 10 o’clock, the thumb, ring finger, and index finger will naturally come in order. As it goes out of the hole, it takes a curve.
Thumb comes out first
You must pull out your thumb while hooking your middle finger and ring finger in the hole to give a rotation.
Note: In trying to get that hook, many bowlers try to force spin with their wrist and end up losing control and throwing the ball in the gutter. To avoid that from happening, focus on your fingers as you let go and not your wrist.
At this time, do not bend or twist your wrists, but stretch your elbows and throw the ball forward like a pendulum. After throwing the ball, your hand should be in the position as if you were shaking hands.
Please note that if you are too conscious of making a curve, the form will be unnatural, and you will not be able to push the ball forward.
Aim between numbers 1 and 3 on the curve
In order to strike, aim for the spot between No. 1 and 3, and the probability of a strike will be about 80%, depending on the angle. On the other hand, if you aim with a straight ball, a strike’s probability will decrease to about 25%.
Aiming between 1 and 3 pins with a curved ball will mostly get a strike. But that happens only when you master the art of throwing a curve ball with proper technique. At the start, you should only focus on the process and not on the results.
Adjust speed to lane condition
Curling also depends on the condition of the oil applied to the lane. It will be difficult to curve the ball on heavy oil lanes, and it will hit the pins before it curves. For dry to medium oil lanes, the thrown ball will curve earlier than expected.
Therefore, adjust the curve at a speed that matches the lane conditions. It is recommended to throw a “slow” ball on a heavy oil lane and a speed ball when the bowling lane is dry so that the curve on the ball can be adjusted.
The curve on a bowling ball also depends on the speed of the ball. Naturally, a ball with high speed has fewer chances of curving than a ball thrown at a slow speed.
Don’t rush your swing.
If the arm overtakes the speed of the swing, it will gain more momentum than the rotation. Do not be too impatient with your swing, and be conscious of giving it a relaxed rotation that matches the ball’s momentum.
Do the same thing and get in shape
Bowling requires skill, but the most important is “mental.” Whether you can strike in critical situations or calmly deal with difficult spares has a lot to do with the mental part. The mentality needed for bowling is to keep practicing and keep improving.
What if the ball still does not curve or hook well?
Here’s what to do if the ball still doesn’t curve well.
Let’s be aware of the axis of rotation
When you throw a bowling ball, there are many cases where it does not curve even if it rotates, or it goes straight as it is due to insufficient rotation. It does not curve or hook even if it is rotating due to the deviation of the rotation axis.
If the axis of rotation stands in the direction of travel of the ball rolling in the lane and rotates like a top, the ball will not curve because the force of rotation is not applied. In case it is laid down and rotation is applied perpendicular to the travel direction, the ball will curve due to friction with the lane.
If you adjust the direction of rotation while paying attention to the axis of rotation, you will curve in the desired direction. For that reason, the angle of the thumb when releasing the ball is important.
The bottom line
If you want to enjoy higher grade bowling, you should learn to throw a hook or curve in bowling. Once you master the skill, it is very satisfying throwing the ball down the lanes and hitting the pocket with ease.
Always remember that it takes some steady practice to learn how to curve a bowling ball. So, it is important to keep practicing until you get the hang of it.