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How to Hook a Bowling Ball

Hooking a bowling ball starts with the bowling ball
The right equipment for hooking a bowling ball is very important. Just like a mechanic or plumber has the right tools for the right job, bowlers also need to have the right equipment to get the job done. That’s why in order to hook a bowling ball you have to have a bowling ball built to hook. Sure you could just take a house ball and crank it with your arm to get the same effect but what will happen is you won’t have any control over the ball. No, the bowling ball you need is one with a specially designed core and coverstock. Back in 70’s urethane balls were what got the job done. These days bowlers can choose from much more technologically advanced bowling balls that generate more power and wider hooks.

A high hook bowling ball means high risk but great rewards
The ability to hook a bowling ball is not easy but can be done with practice. The secret to making the bowling ball hook properly is in consistency. Learning to hit the pocket the same way each and every time is what makes hook bowling so effective. And that’s why bowling practice is so essential. To be consistent in the pocket you have to practice. You might not like it but practice pays off in the end because once you are able to be consistent, you will see a noticeable increase in your strike percentage.

The ball release is the key
It is a common misconception that in order to hook a ball the wrist initiates the process and the wrist movement of turning the ball gives the ball the curve it needs. But this is not true. While the wrist can be involved with a slight 15 degree turn, the source of the hook actually comes from the fingers as you release the ball. As the ball comes off of your fingers it imparts torque to give the ball the rotation it needs to hook. So as you start coming out of your back swing to release the bowling ball, the first thing to focus on is the the thumb coming out of the ball. The ball needs to roll off of your hand and by letting the thumb come out of the ball first, that’s exactly what will happen as the bowling ball continues its motion.

I used to think that you had to put massive spin on the ball in order to get a bowling ball to hook just like the pros. But really it much easier than that. The key is to time the release just right so you get that motion from the thumb to the fingers. Then to give the bowling ball a bit more reaction on the pins, if you ‘lift’ your fingers out of the ball, it will produce the power in the back end to create a pretty exciting strike.

No matter what your reason is for wanting to get strikes…whether to set a personal record, increase your bowling average, or just to impress people on the lanes, the best way to do it is with a hooking ball. So at the end of the day, if you really want to improve your bowling score then hook bowling is the way to go. But don’t just take our word at face value. Get out onto the lanes and try it for yourselves.


  1. Dreama says:

    I can’t use a ball heavier than 10 – 11 pounds. When I bowl the ball goes pretty much straight. Very often I leave one pin – could be either side. Should I try and get away from throwing straight. I want to purchase a new ball. If bowling a straight ball is okay – what is the best ball to purchase?

    1. Stephen says:

      Throwing a straight ball down the lane into the pocket (Between the 1 and 3 pin for righties, 1 and 2 pin for lefties) drastically increases the chance of your ball deflecting off of the pins, instead of driving through them. There are three parts to a bowling ball traveling down the lane in a proper “hook” ball. Skid, which is the ball traveling down the lane through the oil.. Hook, when your ball gets out of the oil.. Then roll, which is when the ball discontinues hooking and heads toward the pocket. This maximizes your chance of a strike, as the ball (A reactive bowling ball) retains energy as it skids towards the drier boards on the lane. Your scores will dramatically increase if ypu start to perfect the art of throwing a hook ball.. Your pin carry (The action of the pins as it drives through the rack) may be affected with such a light ball, but will definitely be a lot better then just throwing it straight down the lane. Hopefully this helps, if you’re visual learner, I suggest searching “Why hook a bowling ball?” on YouTube. Good luck!

    2. Raymond says:

      I just bought a Cyclone ball (I’m not sure the exact model), on my first day, first try hooking and everything I got a score of 173. The Cyclone ball does wonders for me.

    3. John says:

      You are lucky if you can throw Straight. That is what you need to do to pick up spares. Now just put a little axis tilt on the ball when it leaves you’re hand and the ball will hook by it’s self..

  2. Jim says:

    I can throw strikes often,I leave a lot of 7 or 10 pins. I struggle to pick these pins up. I have a spare ball that helps,but only about 50% of the time. whats the correct way to pick up these corner pins

  3. Russ says:

    I have a Hammer urethane that I’ve been trying to hook and it just doesn’t want to no matter how I throw it any ideas?

  4. I bowl with a 12 12 10 ball I need help with what arrow to put my ball over to get a strike and to get a 300

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