DIFFERENT BOWLING STYLES
One of the first questions that come to anyone’s head when they first go to a bowling alley is: How do you throw the ball? In fact, if we go to a bowling alley on any given day, we will see that the public, that is to say, players who come sporadically with a purely recreational interest, tend to play more or less in the same way, that is, by throwing the ball straight against the pins.
But is there a right way to shoot? Asking that may seem silly to expert players, but it’s not. Surprising as it may seem, there are more than one and two ways to shoot and each one has its advantages, drawbacks, and particularities.
What are the main bowling styles?
Straight shooting bowling style
The straight shot is, for obvious reasons, the simplest shot to understand and execute, but it is not the most effective. Straight shooting involves choosing a line of play and throwing the ball as directly as possible towards the pins, pointing towards the first bolus of the pyramid (Bolus 1). There are different options to do so and each player chooses the one they like best: shoot completely straight pointing to the arrow in the center, shoot straight but at an angle from the right of the track or do it also at an angle from the left, to say a few.
What are the advantages of this shot? The first, obviously, its simplicity. Anyone can do it, it is very intuitive and produces immediate results. Also, when looking for such a direct line, the speed of the shot is higher than in other styles, so for the beginner, unaware of the possibility of looking for shots with effect and curve, will be the most logical and attractive option. However, the straight shot has one big drawback: it is not the most efficient. Why? Because the disposition of the bowls makes it more convenient to shoot them is to make a shot with a little effect.
Shooting with Effect
Effect shooting is the most effective way of knocking down bowling, but at the same time it is the most difficult to master for two fundamental reasons:
a) Because it is the most difficult to execute technically (it also implies the same coordination and aim as the straight shot -or more- turns of the wrist, the position of the arm, hip, etc and more visual references to do it, because it is no longer just about pointing at the bolus, with the advantage that this is a clear visual mark, but towards areas without references so that, later, the ball gets the effect we want). The shot with the effect is obtained by killing the hand behind (or under) the ball and making it turn against the handles of the clock the right-handed and in favor of the left-handed at the time when it leaves our hands.
b) Because to realize there are more variables that come into consideration than when it is thrown straight. The tracks, as we have said, have oil, but each bowling alley or each tournament have them placed differently: more quantity, less quantity, more distance, less distance, one brand, another, etc, so the effect of the balls vary each time in very different ways. Therefore, there are hundreds of different balls that, depending on their technical characteristics, take more or less effects. As a consequence of this complexity, when shooting with the effect it is necessary to take into account the state of the tracks, the type of balls we use, the amount of wrist spin we apply, how many players play at the same time, etc.
Shooting back or counter-effect
The back shot is a variation of the shot with effect. In this one, we have said that the right-handed shoot to the right and then the ball turns to the left and that the left-handed do the opposite. How do you do a back shot? Then you do it looking for the opposite effect, that is: the right-handed ones making the ball turn to the right and the left-handed ones turn to the left.
This is a shot that often comes naturally to many beginners, especially women, but we do not advise. Again you can use the cotton test: there is not a single professional player who shoots like this and, as far as we know, there are only two or three players competing internationally who get decent results shooting back, but they are very strange cases.
Helicopter or spinner shooting
The spinner shot is a different style that is practically only used in Asia and that has some very curious particularities.
The spinner uses very light balls compared to spinners. If they use 14, 15, or 16 pound balls, helicopter players use 10 and 11 pound balls… Is it possible to achieve good results with that weight? Of course, you can, but with a very refined ball release technique.
In order to understand why these shots are fired, it is necessary to understand two things. The first is that, although it seems most intuitive and logical, making a completely straight and powerful shot at bowling is not the best way to knock them down. For geometric reasons, the best way to do this is by hitting the first bolus and the one next to it (depending on whether the player is right-handed or left-handed) with a certain entry angle using a hook.
The second is that between the area we walk and the bowling there is more than just a clue. Again, oddly enough, bowling alleys are not what they seem. On the surface of them, there is a layer of synthetic oils that noticeably (though imperceptibly to the eye) modify the result of our shot. The more oil the clues have, the less effect the balls will have and vice versa, so something that seems as simple as throwing the pins, in the end, becomes a technical exercise of the first order.
Next Steps and Where to Purchase Equipment
When you’re ready to make the leap, you can read these articles to learn what bowling equipment we recommend for every different kind of player and choose what suits you better. We try to review the best bowling equipment in the market every few weeks to keep up-to-date with the current trends.