Article Contents

  • 1. The pre-shot routine (PSR)
  • 2. The setup
  • 3. The approach
  • 4. The release
  • 5. Watch
  • 6. Read
  • 7. Your home lane?
  • 8. Wrap-up

As a carefree teenager in the 1960s, I bowled at least 200 games per month. But times change, of course, and now I’m fortunate if I get to bowl even half that number in a year.

Some of us can’t get to the bowling center as much as we’d like. Rather than bowl three or four or five times a week, we’re sometimes faced with the reality of not bowling at all. Needless to say, a decrease in time-on-the-lanes leads directly to a decrease in scores. So what can we do about this situation? We can practice at home.

Obviously, working on your game at home is not an ideal substitute for the real thing. But unless you have a lane or two in your basement—more on this topic later—home practice is a good way to keep your mind and body sharp.

Each topic I’ll be discussing here can be practiced at home. You’ll need:

  • Something with heft. It can be a bowling ball, a dumbbell weighing the same (or close) as your ball, or some other hand-held object.
  • Bowling shoes, if you’re working on sliding.
  • Athletic shoes, if you’re not working on sliding.
  • Bowling towel (if you use one).
  • A full-length mirror.
  • A linoleum or hardwood floor (16 feet long would be nice).
  • A horizontal surface with a cup of some sort in which to place your ball.

So, what can you work on at home? It’s a pretty long list, encompassing practically every aspect of your game. But what’s especially nice is that you can use these at-home opportunities to try new things: setup, stance, hand position, number of steps, etc.

Some of these things may seem laughable when you put them in the context of standing in front of a mirror at home, but in real life—that is, at the bowling center—they are crucial. And where better to work on them than home?

Tools for at-home practice

Some possible at-home practice tools.

It’s important to remember that home practice will not give you the opportunity to see the results of your labor until you get to the lanes and try your ideas in the real world. Still, ...

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Phil Regan

About Phil Regan

Phil Regan, a USBC-certified Silver coach, has been teaching bowling since 1964. Retired from corporate life, he coaches bowlers of all levels in the northern California area and competes on the PBA50 and PBA Regional tours. Phil can be found online at