Bowling is a fun activity at every age, especially when you’re spending the day with your family and friends. Bumpers are imperative when you’re young, but at some point, you’ll need to learn how to keep the ball out of the gutters and hit the pins just right. It’s fun to challenge yourself to beat your last high score, but it’s even more fun to hit the winning strike, taking your team to victory or lauding the win over your siblings until your next visit to Bowlwinkle’s Bowling Alley.

But what if bowling just isn’t your game and you just can’t find the right gait and swing to score those strikes. Here are our top five tips to improve your game so you can surprise your family with your epic improvements during your next bowling showdown.

1. Aim for the Spare

Don’t worry if you step up to the line only to knock four pins down. Don’t get discouraged and throw the next round because you’re still focused on what you did wrong. Instead, move on, stay focused, remain positive, and aim for the spare.

Even if your opponents are nailing eight or nine pins each time up, if you’re picking up a spare and they’re letting them slip by, you’ll end up with the win. That’s because at your next time up, the first set of pins you hit down will count toward your last frame. Remember, every spare missed is ten points off of your total score. So, if you hit a 90 in game one because you missed every spare, if you’re lucky enough to nab all ten in the next game, your score will jump to a whopping 190.

2. Focus on the Two Most Important Pins

Did you know that the ten pins you are aiming for are set up as an equilateral triangle? That means all sides of the triangle are the same length. With this in mind, it’s also important to realize that you don’t need to hit every pin to get a strike. In fact, that should not be your goal at all. Instead, you want to hit the best pins to ensure that the pins hit each other, knocking one another over.

The best way to achieve this is to aim for the front two pins. If you are right-handed, this will be the pin in the middle at the top of the triangle and the pin to its immediate right. If you are left-handed, then you’ll want still want to hit the pin in the middle, but also the one to its left. This is called the pocket.

When you hit the pocket with enough force, you will knock down the best pins to ensure that a ripple effect will occur, leaving you with a strike.

3. Pick the Right Bowling Ball

You don’t need to own a bowling ball to dominate at Bowlwinkle’s Bowling Alley; you just have to pick the right one for you when you arrive. So, what does that look like?

The bowling ball you choose should weigh about 10% of your own weight. If you are 150 pounds, then an eight-pound ball should work well for you. Don’t use this as a hard rule, but a guide. You want the bowling ball you select to have some weight to it so it will knock down the pins, but you don’t want it to be uncomfortably heavy when you throw it down the lane.

Also, make sure your fingers comfortable fit in the holes. If you select a ball that’s a comfortable weight, but the fingers are spread too wide or the holes are too small for your fingers, this could mess up your whole game.

If you’re looking to invest in your game and want your own ball, one with a plastic covering is going to work well for any beginner and is often less than $100.  Or if you’re more of a hook shooter and want to spend a bit more, choose a urethane cover, and if you get really good, you can invest in one with reactive resin.

4. Work on Consistency

If you step up to the line and throw the ball with varying force or change your gait each time, this will create inconsistency in your game. You’ll want to try various stances and throws before choosing the one you’re most comfortable with, but consistency really is key.

Once you are able to master your speed delivery, then you can focus on better aim, which will improve your chances of hitting the pocket and securing those strikes and spares, upping your overall score.

Also, don’t be surprised if what was working in one lane, doesn’t quite mesh in another. If your family and friends opt for two lanes that you switch between during your next outing to Bowlwinkle’s Bowling Alley, then you may find you need a slightly different swing on each to achieve the same outcome.

5. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

It is fun to win. No one can deny that. It’s great to have bragging rights over your family and surprise your friends with your greatly improved score. However, if you’re not relaxing and having fun, then it defeats the purpose of playing. Fun should always trump winning because, at the end of the day, it’s great to hit a high score, but it’s the laughs shared with your loved ones that you’ll remember the most.

So, are you ready to get in some practice shots or challenge your family to a parents vs. kids bowl-off? Head over to Bowlwinkle’s Bowling Alley in Tukwila where you can compete at our new 16 lane cosmic bowling center.

Play at one lane for one hour with up to six guests for $50 or warm up with ten frames (one game) by yourself for just $9. We offer group and birthday packages as well.