Having spent most of my pre-pandemic life at bowling alleys, I’ve always seen a lot of talented groups of bowlers who have incredible bowling speeds, and I have often wondered how to bowl faster.
One of the most crucial skills that a ten-pin bowler should possess is having a faster bowling throw. When done right, this skill ensures the player always gets a clean strike. I researched and found out a lot of tips; overall, they all boil down to these factors: angle, momentum, the right bowling ball, body wellness, and body coordination. Let’s look at what these factors mean and what you can do to improve your bowling speed.
What is the Perfect Bowling Speed for Professional Bowlers?
According to the latest Ball Motion Study conducted by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), the perfect bowling speed is around 17 miles per hour (mph). This speed can guarantee a successful pin carry and always produces consistent ball movement. This speed is calculated at pin impact. When released to the lane, the speed of the ball is about 21 mph, plus/minus one mph tolerance.
How Heavy Should My Bowling Ball Be?
The weight of your bowling ball plays a huge role for you to bowl faster. Your bowling ball should be neither too heavy nor too light since this can affect your overall balance and speed.
Most follow the rule that for every 10 pounds of your body weight, you will need 1 pound for your ten-pin ball. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you need to look for bowling balls that weigh around 13-14 pounds.
Another method is to extend your arms out front and hold the ball with your two hands for 5 seconds. If you are exerting too much effort, then get a lighter ball. If not, then pick a heavier ball.
Since most pro bowlers only use one arm, you can also use a different method to choose the ideal ball for you. That is to have someone give you a bowling ball and receive it with only one extended arm. Same with what was mentioned above, if the ball is heavier, switch to a lighter one and vice-versa until you can find the ball for you.
How High Should I Lift the Bowling Ball?
How high you lift your ball is a crucial factor as it controls the general traveling speed of the ball down the lane. You can try what most pro bowlers do which is to start at a lower position. Level the ball to your stomach and swing the ball high (as high as 45 degrees for most pro-bowlers) behind you as you approach the Foul line.
This technique is effective and efficient since it incorporates gravity on the ball, making it accelerate down faster on your swing. Once your arm is at the bottom of your swing, release the ball to the lane.
If you still can’t get satisfying results, try starting at a higher position. This could be at your chest level or even higher than that. Starting at a higher position can help increase the arc length of your backswing which can result in a fastball.
How Do I Gain Momentum to Swing the Bowling Ball?
Building momentum is important to gain more speed in bowling. Avoid making your ball spin too much because this can slow down its momentum. Also, instead of using a backspin on the ball, a sidespin is better at giving you strikes.
However, if you are aiming for pure speed, make sure that your bowling ball is rolling forward. Avoid bouncing your ball as well since this can reduce the ball speed. This may take some time to perfect it, so never stop practicing.
Another technique that you can add is to take one or two extra steps as you approach the Foul line. You can start taking a few steps back so that you can get a really good momentum to your ball as it goes down the lane. Always remember that more momentum is equal to more speed.
Lastly, be fast. While you can take your time to focus and to prepare yourself before throwing the ball, once you are ready, you must move quickly as you approach the Foul line to increase the ball speed.
Another option is to gradually increase your speed. In fact, most pro bowlers do this. The key to moving quickly is to learn about your body parts and to coordinate them well with your mind. Knowing which body part to focus on your strength and speed will surely help you to bowl faster.
Which Body Parts Should Be Mainly Involved to Bowl Faster?
As mentioned in the section above, your mind and body should be fully connected so that you know where to focus your strength and speed as you bowl your ball to the lane. In ten-pin bowling, the arms and legs are the most noticeable body parts that are being used.
However, these body parts actually get their strength from your core. Building your core strength is highly necessary to speed up your bowling shots. To know how to build a stronger core, read the next section below.
How Do I Prepare My Body Before, During, and After Playing Ten-Pin?
Having a well-conditioned body will give you better speed results in bowling. Here are the before, during, and after tips that can greatly help you strengthen your body:
Build your mind and body strength while you are not playing in the bowling alley. The ten-pin, same with any sport, can be mentally and physically draining. So, learn how to keep your cool and to focus. This can help you handle the pressure of the game, especially when you are planning to join a competition.
Train your whole body as well. As mentioned earlier, bowling is not just about your arms and legs. Bowling faster requires a great amount of force, so you better strength-train your back and abdominal muscles as these parts can greatly support your arms and legs. Remember that the stronger you are, the more force you can shift to the ball.
Build up your stamina so that you can last long in the game. When your stamina is not strong enough, your strength and speed will surely decline which can affect your fast bowl.
When you are already at the game, don’t forget to stretch or warm-up prior to the start of the game. Proper stretching can prevent you from getting injuries. Also, when you keep your limbs loose and lithe this can improve your swing as it transfers the full power to the ball when you release it.
Never lose your focus while playing the game. While it’s important to check your opponent’s skills, don’t let this distract you from your own gameplay. Remember the importance of mind-body connection. As you release the ball, focus on the bowling pins to keep your momentum.
Recovery exercises are a great way to help your muscles after the game. Do these to avoid injury and to maintain the integrity of your muscles and joints. Also, while you are away from the bowling alley, you can once again start your strength training exercises to prepare.
I hope you find these tips really effective in building up your skills to bowl faster. It does take some time and lots of practice, but with these tips incorporated into your training, you should be able to see a noticeable improvement. Good luck, and enjoy!