When you’re a beginner bowler, before you worry about strikes, 7-10 splits, or any other fancy technique, you’ve got to worry about getting the ball down the lane without it rolling in the gutter! While some newbies are simply blessed with the gift of good aim, some of us struggle with this most-essential basic of the game. So, if you’re having trouble keeping your ball on the straight and narrow, keep reading to see what you can do help reduce the occurrence of it landing in the gutter.
Tip #1—Know Your Stride
As you cross the approach to release the ball, you should aim for making your last step approximately six inches from the foul line. Depending on how wide your stride is, you may be able to line this up if you start from the guide dots 12 feet away from the line. If you’re having trouble hitting the six inch mark, experiment from another distance either closer to the foul line or further away, depending on whether or not you’re overshooting or undershooting your mark.
Step #2—Walk a Straight Line
When you make your way across the approach, it’s important that you don’t accidentally veer over the left or right. To keep from doing this, always have your eye on the center dot at the foul line. The foot that performs your final step should be pointing towards this center dot, so make sure to get this alignment right before you begin the approach.
Tip #3—Watch Your Bowling Shoulder
The most important key to having a ball that bowls straight is to be mindful of the positioning of your bowling arm. No matter what position the ball is in during your approach, it should always remain parallel to and in line with your bowling shoulder. It’s especially important to remember this as you release it, because any amount of variation left to right can put your ball straight on a course for the gutter.
Tip #4—Watch Your Hips and Torso Too
While making your approach, it’s also important to keep your hips and torso as close to parallel with the foul line as possible. The awkward positioning of these two body parts will make it harder for you ball to be released at the perfect alignment.
Tip #5—Don’t Rush the Process
It’s important that as you cross the approach, you give yourself the time you need to really focus on maintaining good form. The last two steps before the foul line are the most critical to bowling well, so especially don’t let them get rushed.