Article Contents

  • 1. Speed control
  • 2. Watching ball reaction
  • 3. Keep your head still
  • 4. Drifting and inconsistent footwork
  • 5. Conclusion

After 40 years of coaching, running a pro shop, and giving lessons, it has become apparent that certain issues with bowlers’ games keep popping up at all skill levels. These issues can be major roadblocks that stop a bowler from improving and getting to the next level of their game. Bowling at a high level requires the ability to repeat shots over and over. Very commonly, if one aspect of the full delivery is incorrect, it will cascade into many negative issues that will cause a poor performance.

For this series aimed at intermediate bowlers looking to improve, I have tried to put together the 25 most common items that should be addressed. In this first article in the series, I’ll be reviewing speed control, watching your ball reaction, posting your shot, and inconsistent footwork.

Speed control

Speed control is probably one of the most important skills needed to properly compete in our sport of bowling. Too much speed and the ball will get into the hook phase too far down the lane, or possibly not at all. Too little speed and the ball will begin to hook too soon.

The main factor that requires us to be versatile in speed control is the lane friction. For many players, heavy oil patterns usually require a slower speed ball, and drier lane conditions the opposite. Yes, we have a huge selection of different hooking balls available to us, but having speed control is an important skill, particularly if you are limited to only a few balls in your bag. If we want the ball to go through its three phases of skid, hook, and then roll, we must be able to adjust our ball speed on demand.

If you were to ask different beginner to intermediate bowlers how they adjust the speed when throwing their ball, the answer would nearly always be the same. The most common reply is that they mentally try to slow the ball down or speed it up. It is interesting that the majority can’t really say what they do physically to alter the speed of the ball. Then, when asked to think a little harder, ...

Carl Nichols

About Carl Nichols

Carl Nichols is a USBC Silver coach, PBA member, and IBPSIA member. He has over 40 years of combined experience as a coach and pro shop operator, including over 25 years of collegiate coaching. His interests include sports psychology, kinesiology, biomechanics, and ball motion mechanics. Outside of bowling, Carl enjoys boating, diving, flying, golf, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.