How to Curve a Bowling Ball

Bowling is an incredibly vast sport. If you have learned the art of straight bowling and now want to get to an intermediate level of bowling and learn advanced techniques, you would first like to know how to curve a bowling ball.

You might be thinking, well, how can I curve a bowling ball? If that is what you want to know, then you are in the right place.

In this article, I will talk about curving the bowling ball, how you can learn to curve it, and the tips and tricks to effectively learn to curve a bowling ball. So, make sure you read this article till the end so you can master the art of curving the ball and getting consistent strikes and spares.

How to Curve a Bowling Ball

What is a curve in bowling?

A curve is commonly confused with a hook, but these bowling techniques are very different, and their outcome is also significantly utilized to achieve specific results. Pros use this technique to knock pins in major leagues effectively.

Why do you curve a bowling ball?

A curve in bowling is a technique that provides extra-lift with an increased amount of turn as compared to a simple hook. The traversal of this technique is also broader and more immense. It is one of the best strike-achieving techniques, but it is challenging to learn and needs practice.

What is the Proper way to curve a bowling ball?

Learning to curve the bowling ball can be pretty tricky, but if you understand the technique the right way, you will dominate every match with consistent strikes and spares. Lucky for you, I have made a step-by-step guide that shows you exactly how you can curve a bowling ball. Let us take a look at the different steps of this process.

Step 1: Setting Yourself Up

First of all, the thing you need to do is set yourself up for the curve ball. This includes the physical setup and the mental intent of throwing the ball perfectly to achieve the curve you want.

You will take the ball in your throwing hand and put your fingers and thumb in the finger holes and support with the non-throwing hand while keeping your wrist straight.

Make sure that your elbow is in contact with your hip and you are looking directly at the arrows on the bowling lane because that is very important if you want to achieve the curve to get the best strikes and spares.
Make sure you do not over-position yourself. Any amount of over-position will get you to overshoot or make an unnecessary curve that you do not want to get for your bowling throw.

Step 2: Moving towards the foul line

Now that you are ready and thinking about making your move keep in mind that you need to throw the throw before your feet touch the foul line as you will lose your turn if you do not do that.

Now, you are going to take your run-up. But, first, stand at least four steps away from the foul line. And then move those four steps while leaving the non-throwing hand’s support and swinging the ball back.

By swinging the ball back, you will generate the force that you need to get the ball to roll over the lane. Doing this, lean your body forward because the opposite angle will generate better motion for the ball. That is how you are going to move towards the line.

Step 3: Release of the Ball

The most important part of the curving process that you need to learn about is the release. Many people believe that the curve is achieved through twisting the thumb in the finger holes. But that is not how the curve is achieved at all.
If you use your thumb, what will happen is that the ball will get stuck in motion, and most probably, you are going to end up messing up your shot.

So, the ideal thing to do in this step is to push out the thumb from the finger holes when you are close to releasing the ball. The release needs to be at the lowest point of your swing so the ball does not lose any motion when it moves on the bowling lane.

Step 4: Curving the fingers

The final and most crucial step of curving a bowling ball is the movement of the fingers. Contrary to popular belief, the fingers are actually what controls the curve movement of the ball.

Right at the moment of release, as you push your thumb out of the finger holes, turn your fingers towards the outside of the bowling ball in the opposite direction of your throwing hand.

Push your fingers out after you curve the ball around 8’o clock as your thumb points upward and your hand is in the handshake position. This is all you need to know if you want to curve the bowling ball while throwing it effectively.

How to Curve a Five-pin Bowling Ball

The technique for curving a five-pin bowling ball remains the same. The only difference is that there are no finger holes, and the ball needs to be rotated using the fingers on the outside of the ball right around the seven or 8’o clock mark, and you will curve the ball.

Tips and Tricks to effectively curve a Bowling Ball

Now that we know how to curve a bowling ball, we need to make sure we get the technique right as early as possible to become an overall better bowler. To make the learning process more efficient and master the art quicker, here are some of the best tips and tricks that you should be aware of and use while practicing this technique.

Use a different variety of balls to get the finger position set

Performing various drills is vital if you want to learn something as professional as a curve ball. The most important tip that you need to know about is the finger position and the release. This is what will make sure you control the curve.

You can use different varieties of balls like a tennis ball and a golf ball to get the finger and thumb position set and throw the balls and take a look at the release points along with the curve movement when you throw it then you can move on to the bowling balls.

Get a lighter ball for practice

If you use a house ball for practicing the curve ball or a heavier ball that you use for a straight motion, you will not be able to practice perfectly and might even end up injuring your fingers or wrist.

The solution for this and the right trick to efficiently learn the technique is getting a lighter ball. You can get a custom ball or use a lighter house ball to practice the curve bowling technique. This way, you will be able to learn the art and at the same time develop the ability to control the heavier balls.

Do not use a house ball

Can you curve a house bowling ball? Well, you can, but you should not pick it. The simple reason for this is because the house balls are differently sized, and the finger holes might not be perfect for your fingers. So, please use a custom bowling ball fit to your size.

Curve the ball according to the requirement

One of the best tricks to learn when dealing with the curve ball is knowing how to utilize and to what extent elongate the traversal arc of the curve ball while throwing it.

Learning to change the angle is also important. The trick is to know how to curve the ball according to the situation. Releasing the ball at a higher overall height and curving your fingers more or less to increase or decrease the overall curvature of the bowling ball is the skill of the pros.

Do not use the thumb

One thing people do the most relies on their thumb movement when thinking of curving the ball. But, unfortunately, that is not the right approach; you might even actually end up hurting yourself because of it.

Instead, you have to utilize your fingers at the release point of the bowling ball throw and curve your fingers in the outward direction, and that is what will bring the amazing curve to your throw and help you achieve the strikes and spares you want in your games. This is crucial, and you should always remember this step when you curve the ball.

Practice whenever you have time

No matter what kind of sport you might be practicing, one of the most important things to learn and one tip that I always suggest players implement in their lifestyle is practicing as much as they can.

Whether you are a golfer, a basketball player, or a bowler especially, you will have to practice more than learning the technique. Whenever you are free, put on your shoes and practice throwing the ball. Invite your friends or go bowling by yourself. Perform various drills and go to the alley and knock down some pins. That is the only way you are going to learn to effectively and efficiently curve a bowling ball.


Curving a bowling ball is quite a unique and professional skill to learn, but it will take a lot of practice. However, once you learn to move around the ball with a curving motion, you control the strikes and spares altogether.
I hope that you learned a lot from this article and that you will implement this technique and art to get better at the game. Have a fabulous time bowling whenever you do!

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