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How To Bowl With A Hook

Updated on March 3, 2009

Use A Reactive Resin or Better

No matter what the lane conditions are like, if you don't use a reactive resin, particle load, or newer epoxy resin, your ball is unlikely to hook. 

What's wrong with the house balls found at the bowling alley?

House balls are made out of plastic for the most part, and plastic balls generally just don't hook.  The pros will use plastic balls, but only in situations where they need to pick up a spare and don't want their ball to hook. 

It is possible to hook a plastic ball, however, you will need to put a lot of revolutions on it, which may mean holding the ball differently and releasing it while your hand is actually underneath the ball. 

Another reason that you will not want to use a house ball is that they are not drilled to fit your hand.  It may be comfortable for you, or it may not. 

The best thing to do is talk to your local pro shop owner about getting a resin ball, which you should be able to do without spending an arm and a leg.   

Get Your Ball Drilled to Fit

If you have talked to your local pro shop owner about what type of ball may be best for you, and you have purchased it from his shop, most likely he will drill your ball to fit your hand and your style as part of the price. 

It is important to get your ball drilled for you hand and the way that you bowl because otherwise, bowling might not be comfortable for you, and future problems or injuries could even come up. 

Your local pro shop owner will probably work with you, to find out how you hold your ball, how you release your ball, and then he will be able to drill your ball in a way that will work best for you.   

Learn How to Hold Your Ball

When you grip your bowling ball, your two middle fingers will go into the top two holes, and your thumb will go into the bottom hole.  Place your thumb all the way in its hole, and place your two middle fingers in to the first, or second knucle, depending on what is more comfortable for you. 

If you place your middle fingers in to the second knucle, this is called a conventional grip.  If you only place them in to the first knucle, this is called a fingertip grip.  If you purchased a ball from your local pro shop owner, and got it drilled by him, then you will probably have went over this and know what is best for you. 

There are also some other things that can be done to the holes on your ball to increase comfort, or allow for more revolutions, like; finger grips, and beveled edges.   

Learn to Play a Line

When you are standing on the approach holding your ball, you will want to look down, just past the foul line, instead of looking at the pins.  You will notice 7 arrows on the lane.  What you will be looking at when you release your ball is one of these 7 arrows. 

The lane conditions will always vary, and you will most likely have to move around during a series, but you always want to play a line that will take your ball into the pocket.  Some bowlers stand all the way to the right, and use a small hook to get to the pocket, some bowlers stand more toward the center, and roll the ball straight down the right side letting their ball hook into the pocket, and others stand over to the left, and roll the ball all the way out to the right and let it come all the way back to the pocket. 

Visualize your line, watch the arrow as you release your ball, and watch it into the pocket.  Lane conditions will change as games go on, so you will need to make certain adjustments at some point, like; moving left, moving right, bringing the ball back for more speed, or even shortening your swing for less speed and more hook.    

Concentrate on Your Approach

Most people use a four step approach, but you can do whatever feels comfortable for you.  If you do use this approach, you will want to push out the ball when taking your first step, making sure that your elbow locks into a straight position. 

Once you get to your second step your throwing arm should be parallel with your plant leg.  You wil then begin to bend your knees, and your ball should be at the top of the backswing once you get to your third step. 

Next, you will allow the ball to come back forward naturally, and you will have released your ball by the time your slide has ended on your last step. 

If you use a 5 step approach instead, then everything will be the same starting on the second step.  On the first step nothing will be happening.   

Concentrate on Your Release

At the top of your backswing, you will notice that your hand is directly behind the ball facing upwards. Once your swing begins to come forward, and the ball gets around your ankle, you will then want to rotate your hand around the side of the ball, which will cause the ball to rotate down the land and hook once it gets to the back end of the lane past the oil.

When your hand rotates around the ball it should be similar to throwing an underhand spiral with a football. Your hand will then come up as if you were going to shake hands with someone.

Your elbow should still be locked, you should be sliding on your last step, and your arm should rotate around the side of the ball as it's released.

Don't force your swing, and don't try to force the ball down the lane.  Keep the ball close to your ankle before you release and your fingers will catch more of the underside of the ball, which will allow it to rotate more.   

Concentrate on Your Follow Through

A good follow through will ensure that your ball follows the line that you visualized, and hooks into the pocket, if you rotated your hand around the ball right before the release.

After you have released the ball, make sure that your hand continues to go out, as if you were reaching out to shake hands. Your arm should not be going to the side around your body, but straight out.

The follow through is all one motion. Rotate your hand through the release, and allow your hand to be carried out, and upward.

If you are just learning, take it slow, and ask someone who is experienced to watch you bowl.  A good coach, or an experienced bowler can share a lot more than any written advice.   

A Bit of Bowling History

The American Bowling Congress was born on September 9th, in 1895, in New York City, which was for men.  The Women's International Bowling Congress was born in 1917, in St. Louis. 

The first rubber ball was made in 1905, and the first mineralite ball was made in 1914 by Brunswick.  Before that, balls were generally made out of wood, and bowling had been going on in several different countries for years, although in different forms. 

King Edward the III supposedly outlawed bowling in England in 1366, in order to keep his troops focused on archery.  William Pehle, the German historian, claims that bowling was going on in his country around they year 300 A.D.  Sir Flinders Petrie, a British Anthropologist, discovered objects in a child's grave in Egypt in the 1930's which could have been used in a form of bowling, which could date bowling back to 3200 B.C. 

In the 1950's bowling began to be shown on television and became even more popular.  Make That Spare, Celebrity Bowling, and Bowling For Dollars were some of the popular bowling shows being broadcasted, along with Championship Bowling on NBC.  ABC began to broadcast the bowling competition known as the Pro Bowlers Association(PBA) in 1961, which was founded by Eddie Elias.   


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    • daveearley profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Ugh, I hate wii bowling, it's fake, it always leaves pins when I hit the pocket and it never hooks the same. I love acting. I wanna do long as I can be the villain lol.

    • blondepoet profile image


      6 years ago from australia

      Awesome awesome I love bowling...did I happen to mention I am a champion Wii bowler as well. I just give the controls a flick while sitting on the couch eating a raspberry ice-cream in the other hand, women are multi talented. Yes I am an actress kind of explains why I am such a drama queen LMAO.

    • gbd profile image


      8 years ago

      Another tip to add: You could use a wrist device or wrist guard to stiffen your wrist, which allows you to get more revs on the ball. This is why you see PBA pros using wrist devices at the Plastic Ball Challenge event.

    • JazzMan10 profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent page Dave. Good advice about getting your own equipment.

    • profile image

      Bowilng Tips 

      9 years ago

      Cool page, though plastic doesn't hook quite as much as a resin ball, they still do hook. The PBA had an event where only plastic balls were to be used and they were hooking them quite a bit. A lot of it has to do with how you release the bowling ball. Having a ball drilled to fit your hand will definitely help as well.


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