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A Basic Guide for Candlepin Bowling

Updated on March 23, 2012

Candlepin bowling

Candle Pin Bowling!

Most people have heard of bowling. It is an integral part of a lot of family shows as the father has a bowling night and many people use it as a night out with friends. Ten pin bowling is the most commonly showcased bowling in the media. Candle pin bowling is a completely different type of bowling that is mainly in the New England region and parts of Canada. The only differences between ten pin and candle pin are the types of pins, the types of bowling balls, and the amount of balls per turn. Every other aspect, such as scoring, is the same.

The difference in ball size is the main area people lose their game in between ten pin and candle pin. You must have a different approach, different grip, and different style of throw in order to be successful in candle pin bowling. I am here to help you master the basics of candle pin bowling so you can learn a new way to bowl.

Step 1. Find your approach!

The way to approaching a candle pin throw and a ten pin throw are two totally different things. In ten pin, you stand very close to the lane and have a short approach to make sure your ball can carry enough spin and accuracy in order to hit the pins precisely. In candle pin it is about momentum and sliding. To find your approach, you want to start at the back of the lane and take some steps and try sliding. Your goal is so that your slide ends at the beginning of the ball track. When this happens, you have found your precise approach.

Step 2. Find your grip!

The candle pin ball is a much lighter and smaller ball then ten pin, so it has no finger holes. You want to be able to find the correct weight in order to palm the ball with ease. Once you do this, you have found the proper weight and size for your ball. To get a grip on this ball, you want to make sure your hands have some grip to them. Some competitors use wet towels or blow hot air into their hand to make sure it is not slick. You then want to move the ball around your hand a few times and make sure it is not easily slipping out. Finally, you want to make sure all of your fingers are around the ball evenly and no side is dominated. This would make the ball curve either to the left or to the right, and lower your chances of getting high pin drops.

Final Step. Find your release!

Some bowlers love to release the ball so their hand is almost touching the ground. Others give a little lift to the ball to get more speed and momentum on it. This is where practice comes in. You should try different throws to see which gives you the perfect combination of speed and accuracy. When this happens, you will be getting strikes in no time!


Candle Pin bowling can be a huge stress relief and a great way to meet new friends. It is a competitive game that can be a great social event. So next time you are going to go candle pin bowling, use my tips to help make sure that you are the best bowler you can be!

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