Hitting The Head Pin Doesn’t Equal A Strike

Have you ever feel robbed, so to speak, at a Main Event bowling game with your family and friends? It’s when you’re so sure than you will get a strike when your ball hits the head pin but, sadly, you don’t. It’s when your ball rolls down perfectly down the lane, hooks into the pocket, and yet there’s still a pin standing, perhaps an 8 pin or a 10 pin.  

If you did, then you don’t have to be so frustrated about it because it happens to most, if not all, bowlers at some point or another. Keep in mind, too, that a strike means knocking down the head pin that, in turn, usually means hitting it with the ball either from the front or behind. But here’s the catch – even when you hit the head pin with the ball, you won’t have a guaranteed strike and here’s why.  

Straight Shots

Most beginners and intermittent recreational bowlers think that hitting the head pin by throwing the ball straight at it, known as a straight shot, will knock down all the pins and result in a strike. The head pin deflects the surrounding pins and everything else comes tumbling down.

The reality, however, is different. You may consistently throw a straight shot but many of the 5 pins are still standing.  

The reason: Unless the ball travels in a perfectly straight direction and makes solid contact between the center of the pin and the center of the ball, the ball will hit either to the left or right of the head pin; the head pin will then be deflected in one direction.

In turn, the ball changes direction, moves its way down the pin deck’s outside part, and sprays the pins in all directions except into the 5 pin. This is where your desired strike fails to happen.

On the other hand, if the ball hits the head pin straight on, there will be pins still standing – either a 7 pin or a 10 pin, perhaps a 7-10 split.

Hook Shots

If you want to avoid leaving the 5 pins standing, you should develop a hook. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially as putting a rotation on the ball doesn’t automatically result in a perfect game.  

Too much hook and the head pin will be redirected to the right; too little hook and it will fly to the left (i.e., for a right-handed bowler). When you’re throwing a hook, think of the optimum entry angle – if you’re a right-handed bowler, it’s perpendicular to the 1 and 3 pins; if you’re a left-handed bowler, it’s perpendicular to the 2 and 4 pins.  

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