How to Bowl like a Pro

You’ve laced up your squeaky-clean bowling shoes. You’ve polished your custom bowling ball. Now that you’ve donned your lucky outfit, it’s time to hit up the bowling alley. You might be just as cool as Jesus from The Big Lebowski, but one thing needs to be confirmed. Can you bowl as good as you look? With our handy-dandy guide, you’ll be bowling so many turkeys that you’ll think it’s Thanksgiving. In all seriousness, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been bowling for years, the technique you use to bowl largely utilizes your arm, hand, wrist, and thumb. While bowling is a great social activity, it’s important to do it safely. Without further ado, give it up for our blog topic of the month—how to bowl like a pro.

How to Hold the Ball

A lot more goes into bowling than just your bowling technique. Choosing the right ball, how you aim, and how close you finish to the foul line are just a few. For our purposes, we’re going to focus on how to use a mechanically sound approach. But don’t feel like you have to follow our tips to a T. Customize your approach after you have the fundamentals down so that you’re comfortable with your stroke. Like pro golfers and pro baseball players, pro bowlers all have different swings. There are many avenues to success.

After you select your ball, place your middle and ring finger in the top two holes and your thumb in the bottom hole. Your fingers should be about a knuckle deep inside the holes. Hold the ball with your bowling hand underneath the ball with your palm facing the ceiling while your other hand rests on the back of the ball and provides support. Keep in mind that support should come from your hand and wrist, and your fingers shouldn’t be gripping the ball.

Find the Pocket

Targeting the pins is a complex matter but we’ll provide the basics. To throw a strike consistently, you need to hit the pocket at the right angle. This illustration should help you visualize the proper approach. If you’re a right-handed bowler, your pocket is in between the 1 pin and the 3 pin. If you’re a lefty, your pocket is in between the 1 pin and the 2 pin.

Your Swing

As you begin your swing, keep your elbow pressed against your ribcage. On your backswing, keep your arm as straight and as close to your body as you can. Release the ball right at the bottom of your downward swing. This will take a little bit of practice. If you release the ball too soon, you’ll lose some power. If you release too late, the ball will bounce.

Add Some Curve

To hit the pocket at the right angle, you can’t shoot straight—you have to curve the ball. Curving is what’ll take your game to the next level. To add some curve, if you’re a righty, rotate your thumb to a 10 o’clock position as you release. If you’re a lefty, rotate your thumb to a 2 o’clock position as you release. You’ll have to make adjustments on where you stand and how you rotate your thumb before you consistently start hitting the pocket at the right angle. Practice makes perfect!


Whenever you hit a strike, you might not be able to hold in your excitement. A ridiculous dance move shows everyone you mean business (and will either intimidate or scare your opponents). Whether you’re calm and collected or you like to celebrate in style, bowling can put a lot of stress on your thumb. In fact, bowlers often deal with bowler’s thumb. It’s an overuse injury that occurs whenever repeated friction on the inside of the thumb causes pressure on the ulnar nerve. Take precautions and don’t bowl if you feel pain in your hand, wrist, or thumb. We’ll leave you with a video to use as a supplement to our blog post as you practice your technique. Now, let’s get to making those pins explode!

If you’re dealing with a hand condition that causes pain or makes it difficult to use your hands, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your hand health is our priority—and it should be yours as well! We’ll work with you to find a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the things you love most (like beating all your friends at bowling on the regular). To stay up-to-date on everything happening at HSST, make sure to follow us on Facebook. Our hands heal yours!