Bowling Tips for Straight Bowlers

By Brian Vaughan

Straight bowlers do not attempt to lift the ball with their fingers to create hook, they simply direct the ball straight down the alley toward the head pin. Straight bowling is always a good way to break into the sport and it gives bowlers a chance to improve their fundamentals. While there are fewer variables to think about when throwing the ball straight, there are still plenty of ways to start rolling higher scores.

Equipment

Make sure to choose a plastic or lightly reactive bowling ball if you are throwing straight. Getting a ball with an aggressive weight block, which increases hook, is not practical for a straight bowler, as the hook they produce is not needed and it can sometimes throw off your aim. Straight bowlers should still wear a quality pair of bowling shoes with sliding soles so that proper form and balance are established during the approach.

Lining Up

When throwing the ball straight, you do not need to factor in lane conditions nearly as much as those using a different approach. No matter how much or little oil there is on the lane, it is unlikely to affect your approach. On strike balls, you want to line up with the intent of striking the ball between the one and three pins if you are right-handed; or the one and two pins if you are left-handed. Every bowling lane contains arrows to help you line up your shots. Pick one of them and throw over it in the direction of the center pin.

Technique

You can use any number of approaches to get to the foul line, but four- and five-step methods are the most common. As you step forward, drop the ball down and let it swing back in a relaxed manner. Direct the ball toward the center pin and bring your arm all the way up after releasing it to increase its speed. Every bit of speed and accuracy helps when bowling straight, as the ball creates less friction and angle than one with hook on it.

Drilling

Straight bowlers do not always need to have a large amount of distance between the thumb and finger holes like bowlers who hook the ball. The distance between the holes can vary depending on what feels comfortable on your hand. Some bowlers prefer to have a pinkie finger hole drilled to increase the accuracy of their shots. The only mitigating factor is that this reduces hook potential but that is irrelevant when throwing the ball straight.

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