How to Hook a Bowling Ball? (Throw a Great Hook)

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How to Hook a Bowling Ball

What kind of scores do you get in bowling? If you’re a newbie who just tends to let the ball fly straight to the pins, then you probably don’t get scores that exceed 170 all that often. To get higher scores, you need more strikes. To do that, you need to learn how to hook a bowling ball properly. It’s really that simple.

Perhaps the best way to learn this is by getting a coach to help you out. You need someone who’s experienced with bowling, and who also has the patience and the know-how to guide a newbie. But even without one, you can still benefit from the following bowling hook tips.

Get the Right Type of Bowling Ball

While theoretically, it’s possible for you to get some hook on a house ball made with plastic, it won’t be easy. It will require you to exert a lot of power, and it’s virtually impossible for a newbie to achieve some type of hook consistency. This is especially true when you get a different bowling ball each time you play. You need your own bowling ball so that you can practice with the same ball factors every time.

If you really want to learn how to bowl a hook, you’ll need a reactive resin ball at the very least. If you have the budget, you may even want to consider getting a particle bowling ball. That’s what the pros use. Both these bowling balls can grip the lane better than the plastic material.

The sellers of these bowling balls may offer you the service of drilling the holes to suit your fingers better. This service will be considerably useful to improve your scores, so you get your money’s worth even if you pay for the service.

The Steps You Need to Take

At first, the initial steps on learning how to throw a hook in bowling resemble your usual way of launching a plastic/spare bowling ball straight. The same rules apply. You have to time your footwork and swing correctly. You also need to keep your shoulders facing forward. During the swing, your arms should be completely straight. You have to focus on your release.

  1. At the proper bowling release for a hook, you must relax your thumb. The thumb needs to leave the bowling ball first, so you have your two bowling fingers left to control the hook. This leads to better lift, rotation, and accuracy.
  2. The next stage is all about the revolution. Right at the moment, you’re releasing the bowling ball; you’re also flicking your fingers as you release the bowling ball. This motion must be practiced so you can do this naturally. At the very moment when you sense your thumb leaving the bowling ball, that’s when you begin to lift with your fingers. So get a feel for the ball with your fingertips and then lift as you’re setting the release of the bowling ball.
  3. The last step actually goes with step 2. While you’re lifting with your fingers, your hand and wrist should also rotate, so you end up with your hand in the “handshake position.” If you’re a righty, then the rotation is counterclockwise. It’s clockwise if you’re a southpaw.


The best way to be better at bowling is pretty much the same as other sports and skills. You need to practice and play as often as you can. You’re teaching your body and your hands to develop bowling habits that will then improve your bowling scores with better hooks and more strikes.

Even when you’re not practicing with your real bowling ball, you can buy some tennis balls and practice with one. You can practice with a tennis ball so that you can throw it with an underhand spiral. When you’ve mastered the movement, the tennis ball should go straight, but then it will veer suddenly to the side once it bounces on the ground.

You have to practice regularly, even when you don’t have the bowling ball or even the tennis ball in your hand. See the motions in your head and then try them out every chance you get even without the ball.

Start with small curves first. Once you’re comfortable with those, you can go on with the more dramatic bowling hooks. Learning how to bowl better hook with a more serious curve will need you to generate more power, and that may lead to more risks and inconsistent results. So to get good hooks consistently, you need to practice!

Additional Bowling Tips for Beginners Hook

Here are some other tips that may help you out.

  • Throughout the entire arm swing cycle, learn how to keep a consistent gripping pressure using your fingers. Most of the pressure you generate should come from the pads of the fingers on your bowling hand. Only a little should come from the pad of your thumb.
  • Time the release of the bowling ball when it is between the shoelaces of the sliding shoe and the toe of that shoe. You’ll then develop the proper momentum to get the bowling bowl past the foul line.
  • Place the hand that holds the ball not flatly underneath. At the same time, it should not be on the side of the ball completely. Your hand should be in between these two positions.
  • Don’t over-turn your hand and elbow while you release so that your hand ends up over the top of the bowling ball and your palm now faces the floor. This will lead to inconsistent results, ineffective rolls, and inaccurate positioning.
  • Don’t rotate your whole arm. You’re only rotating your fingers and wrist action.
  • You may want to consider using wrist support when you practice or even when you play. These types of accessories can help your hand develop the habits you need to create the hooks you want.

Remember—practice! Practicing your game shouldn’t be a problem, as it’s fun! It’s also a lot more fun when you finally learn how to hook a bowling ball and increase your scores.

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I'm Jeffrey D. Tillman a Blogger born and raised in North Carolina. Enjoying bowling in leisure time is definitely a good habit that I have kept since 2010. With that experience, I hope you will find some interesting stuff about bowling on this website.

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