Beginner bowlers should master the hook shot, a technique where the ball curves in its path down the lane instead of rolling down in a straight path (i.e., a straight shot). The hook shot, after all, is an effective technique in picking up more strikes and, thus, in getting high averages (over 180).
Why? The hook pattern provides a better angle to the target, usually the pocket, the spot between the 1 and 3 pins (for a right-handed player) or between the 1 and 2 pins (for a left-handed player). This will then increase the chance of the ball hitting the pins with greater force and resulting to better pin carry. The spinning action also means higher chances of getting strikes even when the pockets aren’t hit as precisely as you would like!
With that said, here are a few useful tips in getting better results from your hooks.
Have Your Own Ball
While the bowling balls at Stars & Strikes are performance balls, these aren’t customized to your unique anatomy and needs. The first thing then to get your hooks right is to have a ball drilled to your hand, so to speak, so that it fits your fingers perfectly. You will then be able to manipulate the ball more and, thus, get it to hook.
Learn the Basics First
Don’t force the spin in the hook shot, either by moving your arm in a sideways movement across your body or spinning with your wrist. If you do otherwise, you will not be making the ball hook but instead make it harder to control. The ball will also likely end up in the gutter, a waste of a ball, in a manner of speaking.
Instead, think of a pendulum on a straight plane to make the hook, as contrary as it may seem. Keep in mind, too, that the hook is caused by two forces – revolution and side rotation – that combine to make it. These forces are the result of the release and rotation of your fingers instead of your wrist movement.
These tips will also be useful.
- Get your thumb out of the hole at the right time, ideally as you make the final step with your foot. Your index and middle fingers should dictate the hook, not your thumb, so getting your thumb out at the right moment means greater control over the hook shot.
- Remove your index and middle fingers, too, when the ball is at the lowest point of the arm swing. You should also turn them counterclockwise (for right-handers) or clockwise (for left-handers) at the same time. You can then control the hook shot since you made the lift, which gives the ball greater force.
Don’t forget the follow-through. Your arm should continue its swing forward movement toward the target, as if you’re giving a handshake. You can also think of an underhand football spiral, a movement very similar to the hook shot in bowling.