As a beginner, you might stand confused, wondering what it takes to actually hook a bowling ball and get it to swerve. Many of the professional players already have this down and they have spent a couple of years perfecting their techniques. Not only is it the technique that makes a massive difference, but the ball itself as well.
While I am still perfecting my way of turning or swerving the ball to get the perfect hook, I have studied some of the top players to find out how they do it. If you are a professional player, these tips might not apply to you and you might already have a good understanding of how the game works and what you need to do.
However, this article has been designed for the aspiring beginner, trying to make an impact on their own game and looking to throw the perfect curve. It might not happen the first couple of times, but you can implement a couple of these tips to help you. It could resort in you take your game to another level the next time you enter a competition.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Oil And Conditions:
- Main Factors That You Need To Keep In Mind When You Want To Hook The Ball:
- Mastering The Hook Technique:
- What Could Help You With A Good Hook?
Understanding Oil And Conditions:
Before you even start looking at the hook technique, you definitely need to understand how the lanes themselves have been designed. You might notice lines and different boards that have been made for each of these lanes. Once you understand how they have been set up, you will be able to get the curve you need.
The oil is generally centered around the inside of the lanes and this means that you don’t need to start your ball on the inside of the lane. However, a dry oil lane could be great for a pitch that goes down the middle, but it could also a be a daunting aspect if you don’t have the right ball and you don’t understand the conditions.
Heavy oil lanes can be a little more intimidating for beginners, especially when you don’t have the right bowling ball to play with. As we have mentioned, most of the oil will be centered around the inner parts of the boards and you need to use this to your advantage. It is fairly important to keep the ball swerving in from the outside and not past the pins.
Main Factors That You Need To Keep In Mind When You Want To Hook The Ball:
Once you have the oil down and you have a better understanding in regards to the conditions, the game does open up a bit more. You will need to contemplate the main factors of the game that has an effect on the hook of the ball. Here are a few things that will have a massive impact on the hook and how much hook potential your bowling ball has:
The first thing to have an impact is the ball itself. You might have seen from many other sources that you can find a variety of different bowling balls to choose from. Each of these bowling balls has its own characteristics and they behave differently. For example, the standard polyester bowling ball does not hook a lot and tends to go straighter.
However, the coverstock is not the only thing to look at and while we have a basic understanding that urethane will hook much better, you also need to keep in mind that the core will influence your game. The symmetrical and asymmetrical cores tend to work the best for curling the ball. These cores allow you more variations in your technique.
We already touched on some of the oil conditions and how they will affect your game. However, you need to consider the room as well and how the lanes have been designed. If the lanes have a slight bend or dip in them, it could affect your hook. However, this is not a common issue we find when looking at the professional bowling alleys.
The last issue that can affect your hook is the grip you have on the ball. The grip is generally determined by your finger holes. This will all be determined by the type of ball you have. As we have mentioned, the inner core will make a massive difference and having things like symmetrical or asymmetrical cores will allow you to drill the holes in different areas.
The grip can also be a fingertip grip or a deep grip for your fingers. No matter the type of grip you choose, it is fundamentally important that you do play a couple of practice rounds with the bowling ball to ensure you have a basic grasp of your ball. This can all be done at your own local bowling alley or the help of a coach.
Mastering The Hook Technique:
Now we have focused on all of the additional things and conditions that you need to keep in mind. However, the technique itself is also something that will require a lot of your attention. The hook can be a daunting prospect for many beginners, but I believe, I could help you with that. Here are a few tips and trick to help you when learning how to hook a bowling ball:
It All Starts In Your Mind:
Digging back into the early years of psychology and sports, we need to understand that the hook does come from your mind. If you cannot visualize the way the ball should behave, there is absolutely no way you will be able to find the hook you are looking for.
By focusing on the mental aspect and some of the visualizations of the hook process, you should be able to get the job done a little better. You can do this by staring down the lane, or you can take some time at home to map it out for yourself. Studying some of the many great players has also helped me to achieve this.
Test Out The Lane:
Now, you will need to stand in front of the lane and look at some of the arrows that will indicate the hooking lines and where the ball will hook. If you are a right handed bowler, the best idea is to stand in the middle of the center part and aim for one of the arrows that are going down on the side boards. You should try to hit the arrow.
This can be a straight shot and once the ball hit the spot of oil, it should come back into the 1st pocket. However, it could take some practice and accuracy. We recommend standing still and doing this with your bowling ball a couple of times to find the sweet spot for the lane and how much it will hook when you need it to hook.
Making The Shot:
Once you have found a little bit of the hook you are looking for, you can look to aim a little more and find the intended target you were trying to hit. It is ideal to start with a simple and basic swing and to leave some of the spectacular techniques for the professional players that play the game a lot.
Once you have made a couple of swings, with your feet remaining straight and following all of the basic protocol that is required when playing, you will have more of a feel for what the ball is doing on the lane. You can start running up and taking the shots now, by adding a little more pace or speed to the ball to make sure it does get down.
However, the more speed you put on the ball or the harder you tend to deliver it, the more chance you have of losing accuracy.
If you have found a sweet spot on a specific lane that you like, you need to repeat. This can also be referred to as practice and put in some effort. However, don’t stick to a single board and you need to start looking around and finding more. I have found myself hooking the ball from the 2nd lane, only to realize later that the 3rd lane worked better.
It is best to take a few hours and experiment with your ball. Find out where is your own sweet spot on that specific lane. This is also one of the reasons why many of the pro players like to play often in the same lanes where the competitions are held.
Refrain From Fancy Shots:
We all know how good a shot can look when a pro player spins the ball and it hooks perfectly at a late angle to hit all the pins for a strike. However, this is generally due to many years of experience and as a beginner; you don’t have the skill set to do this. It is much better to take some time and play some of the basic shots before you do this.
If you are not really sure what you want to do or how the ball should be bowled, you might need to consider investing in your own coach. A professional coach might be expensive for many people, but this does not mean they won’t help you. Eventually, the investment will pay off and you will find yourself winning competitions and making money.
Study The Professionals:
The last tip I would like to give you is one that has served me well a couple of times. If one thing works, you should consider trying it out for yourself and see if you could master your game with a technique. One of the best ways to do this is to copy a professional player. This might not be a tip, but there are many videos that explain their techniques.
Once you have mastered a professional player’s technique, you might be able to see your game take on to the next level. I had a role model and tried to follow in his footsteps. While I did not fully master the technique, I did find myself doing a lot more for myself. Eventually, I turned it into my very own variation of this technique.
What Could Help You With A Good Hook?
A really important question that I have seen many people ask is what could help them with getting a good hook on the ball. Unfortunately, time and practice are the only real things that will make a difference. However, here are a couple of gear things that could make life a little easier for you as a player.
- Wrist Support: Wrist support is not only designed for players that have wrist issues. However, it can also help players that have problems keeping the wrist straight. The wrist support is an inexpensive piece of gear for your game.
- Bowling Ball Cleaner: The bowling ball cleaner is made to make life easier for players. It will remove a lot of the debris from the ball and also clear up some oil. Now, you have more control over the ball.
- Bowling Ball Shoes: The last thing is your bowling ball shoes. While you can hire them from the alley, you should consider buying your own. Some might be expensive, but the inexpensive ones are just as good to ensure you have a decent grip.
While none of these things are mandatory, they will all have a role to play in making your game better and ensuring you get the best out of your game. You can start with one at a time and see how it does affect your game.
It is not that hard to get a hook on your bowling ball if you have a basic understanding of the game. These tips should help you to get the job done effectively and you can also look like more of a professional bowler now. Let us know what you think in the comment section and if these tips have helped you.