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Bowling Basics: Types of Bowling Shots

Man holding bowling ball

Bowling is one of our classic American pastimes, so most people have bowled at least a game or two at a birthday party or after-work hangout. However, a few casual games at the bowling alley won’t necessarily teach you everything you need to know about the game if you want to become a better bowler. Whether you’re new to the sport or want to level up from social bowling to league play, we’ve got some “Bowling 101” tips to help you out. For starters, these are the basic types of bowling shots.  

Basic Bowling Shots Explained

  • Straight shot – This shot is what most people start with. It’s the most basic bowling shot, and it’s as simple as it sounds; you just visualize a straight line and try to throw the ball along that path to the pins. Of course, you don’t want to roll your ball straight down the lane and split the pins, so it’s best to angle your straight line towards the pocket on either the right or left. However, even if your straight shot hits the pocket, it may lack the force and spin necessary to send pins flying and get you a strike. That’s why you will eventually want to learn how to throw a hook. Of course, there’s a time and a place for everything, so if you have just one or two pins left standing, a straight shot may be just what you need! 
  • Hook shot – Also known as a curve ball, this shot starts out moving straight down the lane, but once it’s closer to the pins it curves or “hooks” into the pocket, picking up speed and energy. This allows the ball to strike the pins with more force and at the perfect angle to send pins flying into each other, which ultimately increases your chances of a strike. The key to mastering a hook shot is putting a little “twist” on the ball as you release it, giving it a boost of centripetal force that creates the hook you’re looking for. While the hook shot is harder to learn, once you’ve got it down it can do wonders for your bowling game. 

Practice pays off, so visit us for open bowling in Middletown or check out our bowling specials


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