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How to Spin a Bowling Ball

By Salvatore Jackson

When bowling, an important skill is the ability to spin or hook the ball. By throwing the ball with spin, you can consistently hit the pocket, which is the area between the two front pins. Hitting the pocket means more strikes and easily convertible spares, raising your score. While the method of throwing a spin ball is relatively simple, it may take a great deal of practice before you are comfortable with the motion and can throw it consistently.

Choose a ball that fits your hand. Choose a ball that you can grip comfortably and from which you can remove your fingers from the holes. If possible, invest in a reactive resin or urethane ball and have it drilled to fit your hand. This ball will spin more than a typical "house ball" which is often made of plastic and may not fit your hand well.

Choose a position to start your spin. Most bowling alleys place lines of black dots 15 and 12 feet from the foul line, which is a good place to stand. If you are right-handed, position yourself close to the right gutter. If you are left-handed, position yourself near the left gutter. By positioning yourself near the gutter, you will be able to spin the ball into the front pins, maximizing your chances for a strike.

Begin your approach. Most bowlers use a five-step approach before throwing the ball, the first step being with the foot opposite the throwing hand. While walking toward the foul line, be sure to walk straight. As you take your third step, begin to swing the ball backwards.

Remove your thumb from the ball as you swing your arm forward. The weight of the ball will be on your middle and ring fingers. As you release the ball, brush your fingers along the side of the ball. When releasing the ball, your palm should face sideways, as if you were shaking someone's hand.

Finish with your arm high. After releasing the ball, continue swinging your arm. By following through with your arm, you will impart side spin on the ball, which will make it spin more.

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