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How to Throw a Bowling Ball Straight Like a Pro – Ultimate Guide

  • Reading time:15 mins read

Throwing a bowling ball straight is a fundamental skill that every bowler, whether a seasoned pro or a casual enthusiast, should strive to master.

A straight ball trajectory not only improves your scoring potential but also helps you develop consistency in your game. However, achieving a consistently straight ball path can be a challenge, especially for beginners.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the essential techniques, tips, and considerations that will help you throw a bowling ball straight and take your game to the next level.

Proper Bowling Stance and Approach

A proper bowling stance and approach are the foundations of a straight ball delivery. Maintaining a consistent and balanced stance is crucial for generating a smooth and controlled swing.


  • Stand with your shoulders square to the foul line, feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Distribute your weight evenly on the balls of your feet.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight.
  • Align your body, shoulders, and feet parallel to the target arrows on the lane.


  • The four-step approach is a common and effective technique for most bowlers.
  • Start with your non-bowling foot forward, facing the foul line.
  • Take four steps forward, with your last step landing on the same foot as your bowling arm.
  • Maintain a straight line throughout the approach, avoiding any lateral movement.
  • Synchronize your arm swing with your steps, allowing the ball to swing freely and smoothly.

Consistency in your stance and approach is key to developing a repeatable and straight ball delivery. Practice your approach regularly, focusing on balance, timing, and maintaining a straight line toward your target.

Grip and Hand Position

The way you grip the bowling ball and position your hand can significantly impact the ball’s trajectory. Proper grip and hand position not only contribute to a straight shot but also help you control the ball’s revolutions and hook potential.


  • The conventional grip is recommended for beginners learning to throw a straight ball.
  • Insert your thumb into the ball’s thumb hole, with your fingers spread comfortably in the finger holes.
  • Ensure a secure but relaxed grip, avoiding excessive tension in your hand and wrist.

Hand Position:

  • Position your hand directly behind the ball, with your wrist and forearm aligned.
  • Keep your hand and wrist straight, avoiding any cupping or turning of the wrist during the release.
  • Maintain a consistent hand position throughout your swing and release.

Avoiding Common Grip Mistakes:

  • Don’t grip the ball too tightly, as it can cause tension and inconsistency in your release.
  • Avoid rotating or twisting the ball in your hand during the swing or release.
  • Keep your wrist straight and avoid cupping or breaking the wrist during the release.

By establishing a proper grip and hand position, you’ll be able to maintain better control over the ball’s trajectory and achieve a straighter shot more consistently.

Swing and Release Technique

The swing and release technique is the heart of throwing a bowling ball straight. A smooth, pendulum-like swing and a well-timed release are essential for generating a straight ball path.


  • Initiate the swing with a gentle push-away motion, allowing the ball to swing freely and naturally.
  • Maintain a pendulum-like swing motion, with the ball swinging in a straight line parallel to the foul line.
  • Avoid any excessive muscling or forced movements, as they can disrupt the ball’s trajectory.


  • Release the ball when your swing arm is parallel to the lane, with your hand and wrist in a straight, relaxed position.
  • Focus on a smooth, effortless release, allowing the ball to roll off your hand without any forced rotation or spin.
  • Follow through with your swing, maintaining your arm’s motion toward your target after release.

Timing and Follow-Through:

  • Proper timing is crucial for a straight ball delivery. Release the ball when your foot is planted and your body is balanced.
  • Maintain a consistent follow-through after the release, allowing your swing arm to continue its motion toward your target.
  • Avoid cutting your swing short or stopping abruptly after the release, as this can affect the ball’s trajectory.

By developing a smooth, pendulum-like swing and a well-timed release, you’ll be able to consistently throw the ball straight down the lane with minimal deviation.

Targeting and Aiming

Accurate targeting and aiming are essential for throwing a bowling ball straight and consistently hitting your intended mark on the lane.

Identifying the Target:

  • Locate the target arrows or marks on the lane that correspond to your desired ball path.
  • For a straight shot, aim for the center arrow or mark, known as the “pocket.”

Aiming Techniques:

  • Spot Bowling: Focus your eyes on a specific spot or mark on the lane and aim to roll the ball over that spot.
  • Line Bowling: Visualize an imaginary line from your stance to your target arrow or mark, and aim to roll the ball along that line.

Adjusting for Lane Conditions:

  • Monitor the lane conditions and your ball’s reaction to determine if any adjustments are necessary.
  • If the ball is hooking or drifting unexpectedly, make minor adjustments to your target or aim slightly more inside or outside.

Consistent Targeting:

  • Develop a consistent pre-shot routine to help you maintain focus and aim accurately before each shot.
  • Visualize the ball’s path and trajectory before releasing the ball.

By accurately targeting and aiming for the desired mark on the lane, you’ll increase your chances of throwing the ball straight and achieving more consistent pin carry.

Ball Speed and Revolutions

The speed and revolutions (rev rate) of your bowling ball can significantly impact its trajectory and ability to travel straight down the lane.

Ball Speed:

  • Maintaining an appropriate ball speed is crucial for a straight ball path.
  • Excessive speed can cause the ball to deflect or lose control, while too slow of a speed can result in a lack of power and energy transfer.
  • Aim for a ball speed that allows you to maintain control while generating enough force to reach the pins effectively.

Revolutions (Rev Rate):

  • Revolutions refer to the number of times the ball spins or rotates during its journey down the lane.
  • Lower rev rates generally produce a straighter ball path, while higher rev rates can induce more hook or curve.
  • For a straight shot, focus on minimizing revolutions by maintaining a smooth, pendulum-like swing and a relaxed release.

Finding the Right Balance:

  • Experiment with different ball speeds and rev rates to find the optimal combination for your style and lane conditions.
  • Adjust your approach, swing, and release to control the ball’s speed and rev rate as needed.
  • Seek guidance from a coach or experienced bowler if you’re having difficulty finding the right balance.

By understanding and controlling your ball speed and rev rate, you’ll be able to better manage the ball’s trajectory and achieve a straighter shot more consistently.

Common Mistakes and Remedies

Even with proper techniques, it’s common to encounter challenges or mistakes that can cause your ball to deviate from a straight path. Identifying and correcting these issues is crucial for improving your straight ball delivery.

Timing Issues:

  • If your ball is consistently missing to the left or right of your target, it may be due to timing issues in your release.
  • Adjust your release point to coincide with the moment when your sliding foot is planted and your body is balanced.

Balance and Posture Problems:

  • Leaning or swaying during your approach can cause the ball to veer off-line.
  • Maintain a balanced and upright posture throughout your approach and release.

Improper Release:

  • Cupping or breaking your wrist during the release can cause the ball to hook or curve unexpectedly.
  • Focus on keeping your wrist straight and releasing the ball off your hand in a smooth, relaxed motion.

Form and Technique Flaws:

  • Inconsistencies in your stance, approach, or swing can contribute to a crooked ball path.
  • Review and practice the proper techniques regularly, seeking feedback from coaches or experienced bowlers if necessary.

By identifying and addressing these common mistakes, you can make the necessary adjustments and improve the consistency of your straight ball delivery.

Practice Drills and Exercises

Regular practice and targeted drills can help reinforce the proper techniques and develop muscle memory for throwing a bowling ball straight.

Stance and Approach Drills:

  • Practice your four-step approach regularly, focusing on maintaining a straight line and consistent timing.
  • Set up alignment rods or masking tape on the lane to help you visualize and stay on the correct path.

Release Drills:

  • Practice releasing the ball off a stationary stance, focusing on a smooth, relaxed release with a straight wrist and follow-through.
  • Use a lightweight training ball or even a towel or shoe to simulate the release motion.

Balance and Posture Drills:

  • Practice your approach and release while balancing on one leg at the final step, forcing you to maintain proper upright posture.
  • Set up a straight line on the lane using masking tape or alignment rods and practice walking the line while swinging the ball to reinforce balance.

Full Approach and Delivery Drills:

  • Repeatedly practice your full approach, swing, and release, focusing on putting together all the individual components into one fluid motion.
  • Film your delivery from different angles and review the footage to identify and correct any flaws or inconsistencies.
  • Consider using bowling video analysis software or working with a coach to receive expert feedback and guidance.

Remember, consistent practice is key to developing muscle memory and ingraining the proper techniques for throwing a bowling ball straight. Incorporate these drills into your regular routine, and be patient as you refine your skills over time.

Equipment Considerations

While technique is the primary factor in achieving a straight ball trajectory, the right equipment can also play a supporting role in optimizing your game.

Ball Weight:

  • Choose a ball weight that you can comfortably swing and control throughout your entire approach and delivery.
  • Heavier balls may produce a straighter shot due to their increased momentum, but they can also compromise your form if they’re too heavy for you to handle properly.

Ball Coverstock:

  • The coverstock material of your bowling ball can influence its traction and overall motion on the lane.
  • For a straighter shot, consider using a less aggressive or “dull” coverstock that is less likely to pick up excessive lane friction and cause undesired hook or deflection.

Properly Maintained Equipment:

  • Ensure that your bowling ball is properly cleaned, resurfaced, and maintained to preserve its intended reaction on the lane.
  • Worn or damaged equipment can lead to unpredictable ball behavior and compromise your ability to throw a straight shot consistently.

Properly Fitted Shoes:

  • Invest in a quality pair of bowling shoes that provide adequate traction and slide for your approach.
  • Improper footwear can cause slipping, sliding, or instability during your approach, affecting your balance and ball delivery.

By choosing the right equipment and maintaining it in optimal condition, you can create an environment that supports and complements your straight ball throwing techniques.


Throwing a bowling ball straight is a skill that requires patience, practice, and attention to detail. By mastering the proper stance, approach, grip, swing, and release techniques, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a consistently straight ball path.

Remember to focus on timing, balance, and posture, and make adjustments as needed to account for different lane conditions and ball reactions.

Incorporate targeted drills and exercises into your practice routine to reinforce the correct motions and develop muscle memory. Seek feedback from experienced bowlers or coaches, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different ball speeds, rev rates, and equipment configurations to find the optimal setup for your game.

Consistency is key, so stay dedicated to your practice and continue refining your techniques. With time and dedication, you’ll be throwing bowling balls straight like a pro, unlocking higher scores, and enjoying a more rewarding and consistent bowling experience.

Remember, the journey to mastering the art of throwing a bowling ball straight is ongoing, but the rewards of improved accuracy, control, and performance make it a worthwhile pursuit for any bowler seeking to elevate their game.