Improve Your Game: Tips for Intermediate Bowlers

If you have a grasp on the basics of bowling but are ready to start competing on a professional level, use these tips to improve your technique. Once you move past a beginner’s game, join tournaments to learn new skills firsthand from seasoned professionals. Even at an intermediate level, remember the importance of solo practice. Don’t forget to spend time at your local alley, or perfect your technique in a home bowling alley.

Adjust Hand Positioning

One skill that advanced bowlers master is adjusting the position of their hand while delivering the ball. This skill can improve the versatility of your game tenfold. Typically, a bowling ball is released from the hand first by removing the thumb from the finger grip, followed by the other fingers. This technique generates force that allows the ball to hook.

If you’d like to direct the ball to a new angle down the lane, consider the position of your hand during the point of release:

  • For a right hand-player to generate maximum hook potential, the hand would release the ball with the thumb pointing at 9 o’clock and the fingers at 3 o’clock.
  • Conversely, to deliver a straight ball, your hand would be positioned with the thumb pointing at 12 o’clock and the fingers at 6 o’clock.
  • To reduce the hook potential of the ball you would need to start moving your hand behind the ball with the hand in a 10-11 (thumb) to 4-5 (fingers) configuration. A mix between straight ball delivery and maximum hook (potential) release will give you the desired reaction. Experiment and see what works.

Understand Lane Oil Patterns

Oil is applied to bowling lanes to control the hook and trail of a bowling ball. Without oil, the friction between the ball and the lane would prohibit proper rolling. Typically, more oil is applied to the center of the lane than the outside perimeters.

The distance of lane oil can affect your game: the longer the oil pattern, the less your ball will hook. If you suspect that you’re playing on a lane with long oil, practice the following to help get your ball to the pocket:

  • Decrease the speed of the ball.
  • Try a reduced throwing angle.
  • Change your hand position to get the ball into an earlier roll.
  • Switch to a ball that has more surface friction so it will hook sooner.

Join a Competition

If you’re ready to test your skills against other bowlers, sign up for a local tournament! Teaming up with skilled bowlers will give you a firsthand look at advanced techniques and help you continue to refine your skills. Remember to focus on the following while prepping for and during each tournament game:

  • Game Equipment: Before a tournament, get your gear to a pro shop for any necessary maintenance, such as readying bowling ball surface texture and polish. Lane conditions vary at every tournament, so your best bet is to check out the venue ahead of time, if possible, to gain insight into the lanes you’ll be using the day-of.
  • The Physical Game: Are you able to play different angles? Can you adapt to different lane conditions?Do you have a handle on speed control? These are all elements to consider when improving your overall bowling technique.
  • The Mental Game: During a tournament, your mental readiness is as important as your physical skill. Are you able to perform under pressure? Can you stay alert in loud and crowded lanes? Practice deep breathing and mental focus so you can stay on track to getting the best score yet.

For more tips on starting bowling alley practice and honing your skills at every level, from beginner to intermediate, follow along with the Murrey Bowling blog each week. You can also call us at 310-532-6019 to learn more about bowling alley equipment for sale, or to get started on designing your custom home bowling alley.

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