How to Bowl a Strike

There is something inherently manly about bowling. Maybe it’s the primitive nature of tossing what is essentially a giant rock at a group of weak, perfectly aligned pins, only to see them explode and crash together. Or maybe it’s because bowling is the only sport where eating nachos is an integral and encouraged part of the game. Whatever it is, the point is, it’s a great deal of fun, especially when your ball spends more time blasting through pins and less time floundering in the gutter.

By itself, bowling a strike isn’t all that hard. Most amateur bowlers end up doing it by accident at least once a game. What makes a great bowler is the ability to bowl a strike consistently, which comes from hours of practice, great technique, and a few insider tips to get you started.

First, don’t go for the heaviest ball imaginable. It’s uncomfortable and less effective. Heavy balls hit pins up and out of the way while lighter balls spend more of their time banging around, causing the type of havoc that results in a strike.

Second, make sure your ball fits your hand. You should be able to fit your finger into the hole up to the first knuckle comfortably. Too tight and you’ll hurt your hand. Too loose and you’ll end up tossing your ball somewhere it doesn’t belong.  

And finally, don’t aim for the dead center of the leading pin. The most effective place to strike a full set of pins is in “the pocket.” The pocket is the space in between the leading pin and the outside pin in the next row. Left-handers will aim for the left pocket and right-handers will aim for the right pocket. With the right ball, the right grip, and the right target, you’ll be well on your way to bowling strike after strike.

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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from The Art of Manliness