You are currently viewing 11 Pro Bowling Tips for Strikes from the Pros

11 Pro Bowling Tips for Strikes from the Pros

  • Reading time:16 mins read

Strikes are the dream of every bowler. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as knocking down all 10 pins in one throw. Not only does it feel incredibly rewarding, but strikes also maximize your score. The more strikes you can throw in a game, the higher your score will climb.

But consistently bowling strikes are easier said than done. It requires proper technique, focus, and the right bowling equipment. Even professional bowlers don’t strike 100% of the time. However, you can certainly improve your strike percentage by following some expert bowling tips.

This article will provide 11 pro tips to help increase your strike rate. With the right adjustments to your stance, approach, release, aim, and more, you’ll be clearing frames in no time. We’ll also cover how to choose the right bowling ball and keep it in top condition for knocking down pins.

Follow these pro bowling strategies to throw more strikes, up your average, and get more enjoyment out of league and recreational bowling. Let’s get started with the first tip…

Perfect Your Stance and Approach

The foundation of a powerful strike shot is an effective starting position and approach. Your stance and initial steps leading up to the foul line will dictate much of what happens with the actual delivery of your bowling ball. Here are some key elements to pay attention to:


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your dominant foot (the same side as your bowling hand) slightly ahead of your non-dominant foot.
  • Keep your knees bent and your body lowered in an athletic stance. Being in an athletic-ready position allows you to smoothly transition into your approach.
  • Distribute your weight evenly at a 50/50 ratio between both feet. Avoid leaning too far forward or backward.
  • Hold the bowling ball waist-high using your preferred grip (see tip below). Your elbow should be bent at your side.


  • Take 5 steps total in your approach. Keep them short and slow initially, then longer and faster.
  • Push off using your dominant foot first. Land on your non-dominant foot second as you are striding forward.
  • Accelerate your speed with each step, taking your final step with as much controlled power as possible.
  • Keep your shoulders square and head still throughout your approach. This promotes balance and consistency.

Really dial in the timing of your footwork in the approach. Finding your optimal speed, stride length, and cadence will translate into more controlled power at release. Take the time to smooth out your approach through focused practice.

Use Proper Bowling Ball Grip

How you actually grip and hold onto the bowling ball is one of the most critical — yet often overlooked — parts of throwing strikes. Using proper hand and finger positioning will help you generate revs (revolutions) and impart speed for knocking down pins. Here are some key gripping techniques:

Conventional Grip

  • Insert your thumb all the way into the ball so the base of your thumb touches the palm of your hand.
  • Spread your fingers out evenly inside the gripping holes. Your middle and ring fingers should touch.
  • Relax your grip pressure until the ball rests on your palm and fingertips. Avoid squeezing.
  • Check that your palm faces your target at release for a straight roll.

Fingertip Grip

  • Insert your thumb to the second knuckle crease inside the ball. Lock in place with the thumb pad.
  • Insert your fingers into the second knuckle crease as well. This promotes more lift and revolutions.
  • Use extra pressure from your two middle fingers which are closer to the palm.
  • Double-jointed bowlers may bend fingers more to get a better fit.

The most suitable grip depends on your style, ball speed, and rev rate. Try out different approved grips to see what allows you to generate the most power and control. A proper grip gets the ball into a smooth pendulum swing.

Target the Pocket

To consistently hit strikes, you must accurately hit the pocket every time you throw the ball. The pocket refers to the 1-3 pin side of the lane for right-handers (1-2 side for lefties). Successfully entering the pocket at a slight angle knocks down the 1-pin into the 3-pin, creating a powerful chain reaction.

To reliably hit the pocket:

  • Stand with your dominant foot aimed directly at the pocket during setup.
  • Visualize an arrow target with 2-3 arrows from the foul line pointing to the pocket.
  • Keep your eye position on that arrow as you approach.
  • Release your shot in line with that visual arrow to maintain accuracy.
  • Adjust your starting position and visual target line based on where your ball impacts the pins.

Really drill in the location of the pocket and memorize how it looks from your starting position. Many amateur bowlers either miss the pocket entirely or unintentionally drift from their starting aim. Dialing in your line is essential.

Roll the Ball Straight

Although hook shots certainly have their place in bowling for more pin action, regularly throwing straight shots improves your overall accuracy and strike percentage. A straight shot reduces variables and mishits. To roll a straight shot:

  • Use a light ball (10-12 lbs) without fingertip grips to minimize hook potential.
  • Choose a smooth, plastic ball like a polyester to avoid grabbing the lane.
  • Keep your wrist and elbow straight both in your backswing and downswing.
  • Release the ball of your thumb and fingers simultaneously.
  • Impart forward roll only by lifting from your fingers and thumb.
  • Follow fully through toward your target for an upward ball rotation.

Practice throwing straight shots in warmups until you can place the ball anywhere accurately. You’ll gain valuable feedback on your overall form. Then when using a hook ball, you can better repeat straight mechanics.

Generate Power From Your Legs

Simply using arm strength limits your ball speed potential and increases injury risk. To maximize power, utilize the large muscle groups in your legs to generate speed. Here are some leg drive tips:

  • Lower down into a semi-squat during your initial approach steps.
  • Explode forward with force from your dominant leg’s quad and glute.
  • Time the leg drive so it peaks as you release your bowling ball.
  • Keep your trail leg straight and slide along your ankle to transfer force forward.
  • Push the front leg against the ground rather than reaching out with it.
  • Follow through low by bending your slide knee toward the pins.

Focus on pushing off hard from your sliding foot until it fully extends. This adds momentum your arm alone can’t produce. Funnel all that muscle power directly into the ball at release.

Follow Through Fully

A proper finish position with full follow-through adds critical extra speed, rotation, and directional stability to optimize your shot. Don’t quit too early by slowing down before fully releasing the ball. Here are follow-through tips:

  • Keep your bowling arm extended out in front of your body throughout the swing.
  • Slide forward on your last step until your momentum stops naturally.
  • Bend your entire body at the waist as you release for maximal extension.
  • Keep your chest upright and pointed at your target after release.
  • Avoid twisting your torso or jerking laterally after you let go of the ball.
  • Hold your follow-through for 5 seconds until hearing the ball impact pins.

Many bowlers bleed off kinetic energy prematurely on their final step. But extending your body fully propels the ball farther with added revs for pin action. Follow through completely on every throw.

Use a High-Quality Bowling Ball

The construction quality, coverstock, weight, and core dynamics of your bowling ball significantly influence how easily you can knock down pins. Using a properly fitted high-performance ball optimized for your style is essential for increasing strikes. Here are key considerations:

  • Get your ball drilled to fit your hand span, finger sizes, and grip style. Pro shops can provide custom drilling.
  • Select a ball coverstock (plastic, urethane, reactive resin) suited for your lane’s oiling pattern.
  • Match the ball weight to your strength, speed, and comfort level. Heavier balls knock down pins more easily when properly thrown.
  • Choose symmetrical or asymmetrical core shapes to provide the hook potential desired.
  • Test out different balls by reputable brands like Storm, Brunswick, Ebonite, Pyramid, Hammer, etc.

Having the right bowling ball for your game makes striking easier. The ball should feel like an extension of your arm. Don’t neglect to select the highest quality equipment possible.

Maintain Your Equipment

With frequent use, bowling balls and shoes wear down over time. Failure to regularly maintain your equipment can negatively impact performance. Here are some handy upkeep tips:

  • Examine balls for chips and cracks around finger holes after each use. Plug and redrill as needed.
  • Resurface balls use fine grit pads when they lose their hooking action from wear.
  • Clean out dirt and oil from finger holes/gripping grooves with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Confirm soles aren’t worn smooth. Use slide socks/tape to avoid sticking.
  • Check that sliding shoes aren’t loose around the heels.
  • Confirm thumb and finger pitches still fit your hand. Make minor adjustments as needed.
  • Replace old shoes completely every 1-2 years based on use frequency.

Well-kept equipment rolls true and hits hard. Don’t wait until problems arise to make fixes. Regular upkeep improves consistency and prolongs the life of balls/shoes.

Visualize Pins Falling

Mental focus plays a huge role in bowling well. Visualization techniques can reinforce proper mindset and mechanics to increase strikes. Here are some visualization tips:

  • Before throwing, picture your ball hitting the pocket perfectly. See the resulting pin action in your mind.
  • Imagine the satisfying sound of a strike over and over to imprint success.
  • Mentally rehearse your full approach sequence from stance to follow through.
  • If you leave a 10-pin, visualize picking it cleanly before your next shot.
  • Picture adjustments are needed, such as moving your feet or target line.
  • Shut out all external distractions to fully focus on the mental imagery.

Strengthening the neural pathways for strikes takes repetition. Visualizing ideal outcomes trains muscle memory faster. See results in your mind first before achieving them physically.

Relax Your Grip Before Release

Tension anywhere in your body during the bowling delivery negatively influences consistency and power transfer. Overgripping the ball is a common problem. Stay relaxed through release by:

  • Periodically shaking out hands, and arms between throws to reset tension.
  • Take a deep breath before entering your approach to calm your nerves.
  • Consciously noticing areas of excess muscle tightness.
  • Gradually relax your grip pressure as you begin your downswing.
  • Visualizing the ball smoothly rolling off your fingertips.
  • Rolling the ball using minimal two-finger pressure at release.
  • Allowing your thumb to drop out of the ball before your fingers.
  • Keeping wrist and elbow joints loose through your follow-through.

Actively focusing on relaxing will free up your swing and delivery. The ball will roll off your hand with better revolutions as the grip eases. Don’t muscle your shot – let gravity do the work.

Practice Consistently

Improving your strike percentage requires regular, focused practice. Strikes involve many intricacies of physical technique and mental focus. The more you rehearse proper mechanics through repetition, the more muscle memory improves. Here are some practice tips:

  • Spend at least 10 minutes before league warmups specifically practicing strikes.
  • Work on one aspect of your approach per session such as slide footwork or swing plane.
  • Use visualization during practice. See the pins falling before every shot.
  • Mimic game situations by practicing with the same ball and on the same oil pattern as league nights.
  • Identify problem areas like spare shooting. devote extra sessions to those weaknesses.
  • Maintain a training journal to track progress over time.

Just like any other skill, raising your strike rate comes down to quality repetition. Consistently put in the work and you’ll drop more pins.


With some effort and focus, you can definitely increase your bowling strike percentage by applying these pro tips. Pay close attention to your physical mechanics from start to finish during your approach and delivery.

Uniformity and repetition will build improved muscle memory over time. You can also support your technique with strong mental imagery and focused practice.

Choose high-quality equipment suited to your style and keep it well-maintained. Small adjustments like relaxing your grip, targeting the pocket, and following through completely also add up. Be observant of your weaknesses and train consistently to turn them into strengths.

Keep at it and you’ll be clearing frames effortlessly in no time. May the strikes be with you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the trick to getting strikes in bowling?

The main trick is consistently hitting the pocket. Aim for the 1-3 pin (1-2 for lefties) to increase your chances of getting a strike. Keep your shoulders, hips, and feet aligned to the target on every throw.

What is the perfect bowling technique?

The perfect technique involves an athletic stance, a 5-step approach with proper footwork, a strong finish position, a relaxed grip, straight follow-through, and targeting the pocket. Keep motions smooth and controlled. Let gravity and momentum power the ball.

Where do you aim when bowling a straight ball?

Aim for the second arrow towards the pins. This will provide a good entry angle into the pocket. Keep your hand directly behind the ball at release for minimal hook.

How do I improve my aim in bowling?

Practice aligning your starting position and follow through directly at your target arrows. Use visual aids like dots or arrows. Adjust your feet based on where the ball hits the pins.

How do you get a strike every time in bowling?

Striking every time is nearly impossible, even for pros. But focus on repeatable mechanics – choosing the right ball, consistently hitting your mark, matched with proper speed and revs. Minimize distractions and practice often.

How do I stop leaving 10 pins?

Aim to hit high in the pocket, closer to the 1 pin. Maintain speed through the pins. Choose the optimal ball for your style that enters the pocket at the correct angle. Stay behind the ball on release.

What is the hardest thing to do in bowling?

Spare shooting can be most challenging, especially for beginners. The 7-10 split is very difficult. But improving accuracy, using the right equipment, and practicing Specific spare systems will help convert more.

How can I improve my bowling accuracy?

Focus on a smooth pendulum swing with proper release and roll. Generate consistency by keeping the same starting position, footsteps, and follow-through. Choose the right ball and utilize visual targets.

How do you roll a bowling ball like a pro?

Maintain an athletic stance through your approach. Fully follow through your swing, staying behind the ball. Keep your arm straight and wrist firm. impart roll with just your fingers. Target the pocket smoothly.