5 Tips for Beginner Bowlers

5 Tips for Beginner Bowlers

Bowling is one of the most popular recreational activities on the planet. And for good reason; it’s accessible to almost anyone. In this article, we’ll provide 5 of our tips for beginner bowlers who are looking to get more into the sport.




  • Utilize the free, online resources
  • Ask about leagues
  • Proper fit and ball weight come first
  • Use the lane and line up your shot
  • Coaching/Lessons > Equipment


Utilize the Free, Online Resources


With the internet, there’s an endless amount of resources at your disposal. Youtube is a great source to have when you’re looking to learn more about a particular activity. In this case, there are plenty of channels out there that provide resources to bowlers; whether it’s tips, product reviews, technical discussions or anything else that you could imagine.

Ask About Leagues


League bowling is by far the best way to stay consistent with your bowling and improve your game around like minded bowlers. One common misconception with leagues is that you have to be a certain skill level to participate. This is simply not true. Most leagues run based on a handicap system that levels the competition and creates a space for all levels of bowlers to enjoy.


Example: League using 90% of 200


Bowler A, a 200 average bowler would get 0 pins handicap

Bowler B, a 150 average bowler would get 45 pins handicap

Bowler C, a 100 average bowler would get 90 pins handicap


Bowler A scores 204 + 0 handicap = 204

Bowler B scores 145 + 45 pins handicap = 190

Bowler C scores 123 + 90 pins handicap = 213


Therefore, in this scenario Bowler C would come away with the win even though their scratch (score with no handicap) score was the lowest of the 3.


The biggest benefit to bowling in a league, aside from the consistency of a week-to-week basis, is being around all the other bowlers. Throughout the season, you will be sure to pick up some tips just from watching other bowlers with more experience.


Most bowling centers will have a number of leagues to choose from, ranging from competitive to recreational. Talk to the league coordinator (or pro shop operator) in your center and ask about recreational leagues. It’s also not uncommon to find a league where your fees go towards a new bowling ball. These “have a ball” or “gear” leagues are a great way to be introduced to the sport with the plus of putting your money towards your own bowling ball, whether it’s your first or an additional.

Proper Fit and Ball Weight Come First


Before you even think about which new bowling ball you want to buy, you should talk to a pro shop operator about your fit and proper ball weight.


If you plan on bowling more than, let’s say, 5 times a year; having a bowling ball drilled custom to fit your hand is the best thing you can do for your game. The house balls provided by the bowling center are drilled in a conventional way to fit “most”, but aren’t ideal for bowlers who are interested in learning the techniques. Get a ball drilled with a fingertip layout that fits your hand and you’ll set yourself up for success as you work on improving as a bowler.

A ball that properly fits your hand also, naturally, feels lighter, and allows you to handle more weight than an ill-fitting ball.This is one of the benefits of the fingertip layout that lengthens the span between your thumb and fingers. The ball’s weight is distributed more throughout your palm making it easier to hold in your hand. A lot of new bowlers make the mistake of opting for a bowling ball that is too light. Find the weight that is heavy enough for you without being painful, and keep in mind if you’re using a house ball, that a ball drilled for your hand will feel lighter. If you’re using a 12lb house ball, maybe try a 14lb with a custom, fingertip fitting.

Use the Lane and Line Up Your Shot


Get into the habit of using the dots on the approach and the arrows on the lane to line up your shot. If you track where you stand on the approach, and where the ball crosses the arrows, you’ll be able to make adjustments as necessary.

Everyone wants to throw strikes, but you’ll quickly realize that spare shooting is the most important part of the game. Use the 3-6-9 spare shooting system to improve your chances at some of the most common spares. In order to do this, you’ll need to have an understanding of your strike line and be familiar with the pin deck. A lot of the common leaves can be attempted in a similar way as our strike line with minor adjustment on the approach. Identify the key pin in the formation: this is the pin you will aim for to convert the spare. Keeping your on-lane target the same as your strike shot, use the information below to calculate your foot moves for a number of spares.


For the right handed bowler (reverse the lateral movements for the left-handed bowler):


2 pin - Move right 3 boards

4 pin - Move right 6 boards

7 pin - Move right 9 boards


3 pin - Move left 3 boards

6 pin - Move left 6 boards

10 pin - Move left 9 boards

Coaching/Lessons > Equipment


Our last tip is a simple one that a lot of people like to ignore. Buying a different ball for every scenario can be fun, but if you don’t know how to throw them, you’re probably not going to be very successful. If you’re really interested in improving as a bowler, ask your pro shop operator about lessons in your area.