How to Spin a Bowling Ball: 10 Things You Should Try

It’s natural that once you’ve established yourself as a regular at the bowling alley, you’ll want to improve your skills and drop the beginner label. When it comes to throwing the ball, there are about 101 tactics. You have probably noticed that the pros know “how to spin a bowling ball” to hook it into the pins. Spinning them increases your chances of hitting all the pins in one shot.

To spin a bowling ball, you must first select one with the proper grip. Maintaining a firm hold on the ball with your thumb, middle, and ring fingers is the secret. To get a nice hook, keep your hand at an angle before releasing your fingers, rather than forcing your hand to the ball’s rear end.

The ball’s rotation along its axis as it moves down the lane is called a spin. It’s not the most uncomplicated technique to master, but the results make it worthwhile to learn.

The technique is known as spin bowling and can be exceedingly difficult to master. Read on to learn more about spin bowling.

1. Determine the Position of the Pockets

It would help if you came up with a swinging plan before thinking about spinning the ball. You can determine the pocket with a swinging method. 

A pocket is a space between two target pins in bowling. The pocket for right-handed people is between number 1 and number 3 pins. The number 1 pin is usually the most prominent, whereas the number 3 pin positions on the right side behind the number 1 pin.

If you’re left-handed, the pocket is between pins 1 and 2. On the left side, the number 2 pin is commonly behind the number 1 pin.

Amateur bowlers typically throw a straight ball with little regard for pocket space. On the other hand, understanding the pocket will assist you in identifying the direction of the release if you want to make a solid spin.

2. Take a Grip and Hold the Bowling Ball

Did you realize that your grip style determines your bowling ball’s hook intensity? The higher the hook angle, the better your chances of scoring, so choose a ball that you can quickly grab.

As you try to pull off a tremendous spin, you can often vary between three sorts of grips:

A “relaxed” grip is more likely to result in a straighter roll and, as a result, a smaller hook. The hand is curved back at the wrist in this grip, covering the top of the ball as you pass into the forward swing.

The hand bends forward as though cradling the ball between your palm and inner wrist for a “firm” hold. The angle between your forearm and thumb should appear to be 90 degrees when viewed from the side. This grip can provide more spin and, as a result, a stronger hook.

A “strong” grip is a middle ground that produces a moderate hook. The wrist does not bend or flex in this hold, forming a continuous line between forearm and hand.

3. Choose a Stand Point

In bowling, a player’s stance has a significant impact on how the ball is delivered. Body posture, ball placement, balance, overall alignment, and leg motion are all characteristics of a good stance position. 

That is why most professional bowlers follow a typical pre-shot ritual that depends on muscle memory to help them deliver their shots effectively.

To take your bowling game to the next level, learn how to establish a strong stance position.

4. Strategize Your Approach Before the Start

Before you begin, think about your strategy. The “Four-Step Approach,” for instance, is one of the standard versions. Begin by standing up straight and placing your feet directly behind your body for this method. 

Support the ball with your non-bowling hand while holding the ball from below with your bowling hand at mid-chest height. Keep your bowling arm’s elbow as close to your hip as possible as you travel through the four steps, bend your knees slightly, and point your feet towards the pins. The front of your shoulders should be square. (If you’re a left-handed bowler, reverse the above process.)

Bring the ball forward to the foot position by taking a step forward (right foot). In this first phase, your non-bowling hand should support the ball.

While dropping the ball to knee level, move the left foot forward slightly. Make a half-circle with the ball by moving it further behind you. In this stage, your non-bowling hand should not be supporting the ball.

Move forward (right foot) to gain momentum, especially when holding the ball on your Backswing.

As you release the ball, allow your right leg to move behind your left leg to prevent your posture from affecting the quality and direction of your swing. Lower your hips and shift your weight to your back in a strategic manner. Bend your torso forward as well, preferably at a 15–20-degree angle.

5. Concentrate on the Backswing

Twisting or bending the wrist during the Backswing does not cause swings, contrary to widespread assumption. Instead, it’ll be down to your delivery and ball release to spin the ball and generate the desired impact. As a result, you should keep your bowling arm and wrist as straight as possible during the Backswing.

Keeping a close eye on the pocket during the Backswing is essential. Once you’re near to releasing the ball, you should start thinking about spinning it.

6. Delay the Bowling Ball’s Release

While moving your arms between the toe of your forward-sliding shoe and the laces, release the ball. Keep a continuous hold as your hand travels into the forward swing, moving along the heel of your shoe (for right-handed bowlers, the left foot) and then releasing the ball as it reaches the laces. It is the best time for the ball to enter the lane due to momentum.

7. Start with Your Thumb, then Release Your Fingers

As you can see, the finger release generates a bowling ball spin rather than twisting or spinning the wrist. Regardless of whatsoever technique you use, you should always begin the release with your thumb.

The bowling ball will roll off your hand when you release the thumb as the first finger, generating enough torque for a spin. It’s worth noting that if you’re new to bowling, you might struggle with the thumb release. However, as you practice your throws, your ball release techniques will improve.

8. When Releasing the Ball, Rotate the Wrist Slightly

The rotation doesn’t need to be huge. A wrist rotation of 15-20 degrees is enough to give the ball enough spin. Right-handed bowlers should spin their wrists clockwise, while left-handed bowlers should spin clockwise.

During the release, the wrist should be in the same position as preparing for a handshake. The combination of a modest wrist twist and a clever finger release should give your ball the spin it needs to attack the pocket at the ideal angle.

9. Follow Through with the Swing after Release

After releasing the ball, you must maintain your posture for a few seconds. Continue swinging your bowling arm forward and upward toward the pocket after you’ve released the ball.

Even after release, maintaining a stable posture allows the ball to spin in the desired direction. Switching positions quickly after release may interfere with the ball’s movement, resulting in a messed-up otherwise excellent release.

10. Practice Regularly and Adjust as Needed

Adjust as needed based on the outcome. First and foremost, you must improve your consistency. The capacity to combine and repeat all the aspects is crucial to success. Consider things like your standing position and the type of grip you use during the procedure.

Use the Four-Step Approach to improve your timing: you want to make sure your foot and the ball arrive at the foul line simultaneously. To get a better feeling of how good your timing is, try filming yourself bowling.

The Key Takeaways

Spinning a bowling ball allows you to strike the pocket from a different angle, improving the efficiency of your hook. As a result, when you’re looking to improve your spin, make sure you pick a ball that fits well in your dominant hand. The holes shouldn’t be too big or too little, and they shouldn’t be too tight on your fingers and thumb.

There’s no alternative for practice when it comes to perfecting game-winning strategies, whether it’s ten-pin bowling, lawn bowling, or just about any other sport. It takes time and hard work to become proficient at spinning the ball, but the results are always worth it. So, take what you’ve learned today and go to the nearest bowling alley to practice. It could make all the difference in that major bowling event, or at the very least, provide you with an excuse to go out and have fun.