bowling balls on a ball return

Bowling for Beginners: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Game

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Master the art of bowling for beginners with our expert guide. Learn essential techniques, tips, and rules to level up your game and have a strikingly fun time!

bowling balls on a ball return
Photo Credit: YayImages.

Welcome to the exciting world of bowling! Whether you’re looking for a new hobby, a fun activity with friends and family, or aiming to join a league, this beginner’s guide will equip you with the essential knowledge to get started.

From understanding the game and perfecting your technique to achieving an impressive score, we’ve got you covered. Let’s delve into the fascinating realm of bowling for beginners.

What is bowling?

Bowling is a popular sport played indoors on a polished wooden or synthetic lane. The objective is to knock down pins positioned at the end of the lane by rolling a heavy ball. The player with the highest score wins the game, making it a thrilling activity for all skill levels.

It can seem intimidating for beginners to step onto the lanes and start rolling the ball. However, with some knowledge and practice, anyone can become a confident bowler.

How to Bowl

The first step for beginners is to choose the right ball. Bowling balls come in different weights and materials, and it’s important to find one that is comfortable to hold and roll. Most bowling alleys have a selection of house balls that can be used for free, but investing in a personal ball can improve a bowler’s consistency and accuracy.

This will be found at the pro shop located in the bowling center. Additionally, it’s important to choose the right size of shoes to ensure proper balance and stability on the approach.

a house ball and house shoes on a bowling ball approach.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

These are great balls for beginner bowlers

Plastic Ball: is a polyester bowling ball material made to go straight. This is usually the cheapest version of a bowling ball you can get and is the most common bowling ball for beginner bowlers. This ball isn’t only used by beginner bowlers either; you can find professional bowlers on the PBA tour, like Dom Barrett or Jason Belmonte, holding these bowling balls and using them to throw at their spares. The most common plastic ball is a T-zone by Brunswick Bowling Products.

Entry Level Performance: Entry-level performance balls are the first ball a bowler gets when they want to learn to hook the ball. These balls usually have a coverstock and a core with the help of some spin (known as axis rotation/tilt), you will get the ball to hook across the lane, creating more pin action (known as carry). The most popular Entry Level Performance ball is the Brunswick Rhino which comes in many colors and variations.

Once the right equipment is chosen, beginners can focus on learning the basic bowling techniques. This includes the stance, approach, and release of the ball. Proper posture and footwork can help bowlers maintain balance and generate power in their throw. Additionally, understanding the different types of bowling shots, such as the straight ball and hook ball, can help bowlers adapt to different lane conditions and improve their scores.

Choosing the Right Bowling Ball

If you don’t have your own personalized drilled bowling ball to fit your hand a lot of these tips will help you find the proper house ball. To get a ball drilled to fit to your hand, you need to visit the local pro shop and speak with the pro shop manager. They will guide you in the direction that best suits your needs, and drill you up a ball with a specific type of bowling ball material.

When it comes to bowling, choosing the right ball is essential for success. It’s not just about the weight of the ball, but also how the ball fits the sizes of your fingers and the span of your hand. Bowling is very comparable to other sports. Examples of how you get your golf clubs to fit your swing.


The weight of the ball is crucial to consider. A ball that is too light will not have enough momentum to knock down pins, while a ball that is too heavy can lead to fatigue and injury. Beginners should start with a ball that is comfortable enough to hold with one hand, but not feel light. They vary in weight from 6-16lbs!

Finger/Thumb Holes

Whether you go bowling with your own ball or a house ball (bowling balls provided by the bowling center). Making sure you don’t have holes that are too tight or too loose is important to the fitting of the ball. You don’t want them too tight that you cannot get your fingers into the second joint or the thumb too big that you have to have a lot of grip pressure. Asking a front desk worker or manager to help you with this is a viable option.


House balls come in seven different sizes: XX Small, X Small, Small, Medium, Large, X Large, XX Large. Most of the time you find a large span, the finger/thumb holes are usually much larger. Having an employee at the desk or a manager double-check if you have the right bowl is a great option for beginner bowlers.

Bowling Stance

Begin your approach with a very comfortable but athletic position. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, facing the pins, and slightly bend your knees. Maintain a straight posture and keep your head still throughout the delivery. This will help create less muscle and a more relaxed approach for the beginner bowler.

a girl holding a bowling ball staring at the pins.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

Bowling Approach

Adopt a consistent approach by aligning yourself to the center of the lane or adjacent to your target. Making sure to utilize the boards and dots on the approach to have a consistent starting place. Using a four-step or five-step approach, keep your steps fluid and synchronized.

Lane markers or Targets

Each lane has bowling lane markers. The bowling lanes are 39 boards across, with arrows every five boards. These are visible to help you hit a consistent place on the lane that effectively gets the bowling ball on line to the desired pin or pins to knock down.

Bowling Release

As you reach the foul line, release the ball smoothly, aiming for a natural and unhindered roll. Maintain a relaxed grip throughout the release.

Follow Through

The follow-through is a crucial component of an effective bowling technique. As you release the ball, make sure your hand is going towards or through your target. A complete follow-through helps maintain accuracy and generates power, improving your chances of hitting the target you’re looking at.

Ball Speed

Adjusting your ball speed can greatly impact your score. Having the right ball speed to match your athleticism will be key to producing higher scores. Higher ball speed generally results in more pin action and carry but can result in less accuracy and more muscle causing inconsistencies for the beginner bowler.

Spare Shooting 

Spare conversion is essential for achieving higher scores for beginner bowlers or the best bowlers in the world. Develop a consistent technique for picking up spares, such as targeting the middle of the pin or using the “cross-lane” method. For Multiple pin spare shooting, utilize the “Key Pins” 1,2,3,4,6,7,10 for the best outcome with whatever combination you have. 

Mental Focus and Relaxation 

Bowling requires a balance of physical and mental skills. Stay focused and concentrate on each shot, but also remember to relax and enjoy the game. Nervousness or tension can create a lot of muscle and forcefulness throughout the approach causing inconsistencies. Remember to take deep breaths and maintain a positive mindset.

a family holding bowling balls.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

Joining a League or Bowling Club

Participating in a bowling league or club can provide opportunities for friendly competition, skill development, and camaraderie. Leagues cater to various skill levels, so you can find one suitable for beginner bowlers. Engaging with other bowlers can also offer valuable insights and advice to further your talent.

Bowling Scoring

Understanding the scoring system is essential for tracking your progress and aiming for higher scores.

Frames: A frame is bowling is equivalent to a turn in other sports. If you get a maximum of two shots per frame to knock down as many pins as possible.

Strikes: A strike occurs when you knock down all pins on the first ball of a frame. The score does include the next two balls rolled after you get a strike.

Example: If I get two more strikes after the one, that one frame is a total of 30 pins. If you get a spare (Which is two balls for one frame) it will be a total of 20 pins for the one frame.

Spares: A spare occurs when you knock down all remaining pins on the second ball of a frame. The total count for the frame will include the next following shot thrown.

Example: If I get a spare and on the next shot I knock down 7 pins that is a total of 17 pins for that one frame.

 Open Frames: An open frame is when you fail to knock down all ten pins in two attempts.

Tips for Success

  • Practice Regularly: Consistent practice helps refine your technique and improve your overall performance.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consider taking lessons from a certified bowling coach to learn advanced techniques and receive personalized feedback.
  • Focus on Accuracy: Concentrate on hitting your target consistently rather than solely aiming for power.

Now that you have a solid understanding of the basics, it’s time to hit the lanes and start bowling! Remember to have fun, embrace the learning process, and enjoy the camaraderie that bowling brings.

By honing your skills, perfecting your technique, and striving for consistent improvement, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a formidable bowler. So, lace up your shoes, grab your ball, and let the strikes and spares begin!

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