How to Hook a Bowling Ball

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Are you a beginner looking to take that next step and improve your bowling game? Here is how to throw a mean hook shot with a tenpin bowling ball.


  • When you swing the ball, it is important not to force the swing. It should be a pendulum-like action, allowing gravity to dictate the swing. Should you need more or less ball speed, hold the ball higher or lower before push-off (higher for faster, lower for slower). Trust your ball; there is no need to force it down the lane.
  • Keep the ball close to your ankle at release. Hooking the ball is all about creating leverage. The closer the ball is to your ankle at release, the more your fingers can be under the ball. As your hand rotates around the ball, your fingers "catch" the holes and provide upward force, thus creating spin and revolutions.
  • If your ball has too much speed, it will be harder for it to catch at the dry section of the lane, resulting in a smaller (or no) hook. If your ball doesnt have enough speed, it can hook early, causing you to hit high.
  • While big hooks generate more power, it is important to note that, generally, the bigger the hook is, the more difficult it will be for a begginer to control. Find a happy medium that you feel comfortable with and doesnt compromise your balance. Then you can fine tune your shot to add hook or cut back on it, depending on lane conditions.
  • This takes some practice and adjusting, so do not give up on it if you do not get it right away.
  • It can help you a great deal to simply watch and learn from some more experienced bowlers, like the pros on the PBA, or even some of the more talented bowlers you might see at your local bowling center. More often than not, they will be willing to give you some friendly advice if you show some interest in their skill.
  • You should consider getting a coach to help you, and see what works best for you.


  • Be very careful when first trying this. If you can, use a lighter weight ball than you are used to at first, just to get the feel for the release. It is also a good idea to have a more experienced bowler or coach watch you while you do it.
  • This release is prone to injury if done incorrectly, so again be very careful and try not to over-throw it. As in golf, less is more. Its more about swing mechanics than raw power here. If you "crank" too much it can result in serious wrist, elbow, or shoulder injury. As with most sports, no manual can replace a good coach.
  • Lane conditions can dictate how much hook potential you have. If you are not making it to the pocket or crossing over onto the Brooklyn side, it may be the lane conditions, therefore do not try to crank the heck out of the ball at first, learn to adjust. It is after all the most important thing in bowling!
  • Do not let the ball be thrown in to the air. Especially if its a plastic or wooden ball. There is a chance it can break in half.

Things You Will Need

  • A resin bowling ball with a moderate hook rating that is good for the entry level bowler. Once you have learned to hook it, a more aggressive ball may be appropriate.
  • A towel, preferably a micro-fiber towel to wipe off oil between shots. Resin bowling balls absorb oil on every shot. Wiping them often and using oil removing cleaner between series will help maintain their longevity. Otherwise they will lose some of their hook and consistency after a few hundred games.
  • If you are having trouble keeping your wrist straight you may also need a wrist brace to prevent injury and keep your wrist straight. Wrist braces help create more consistency as they limit your wrists range of motion. Consult your pro shop to see what size and style will be best for you.
  • Bowling shoes. Having your own shoes is important to the consistency of your slide as well as balance and timing.
  • A bowling video can help you a lot. Currently, someone has uploaded Walter Ray Williams Jr.s 3 part video lessons to under: Walter Ray Williams Jr. video.
  • A coach. It is important, especially for beginners, to have a coach. Practicing without one can sometimes lead to the development of bad habits. A few lessons are a good idea for someone just learning to bowl. Coaches are like a human manual that can help you forget your bad habits and maintain good ones.

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