How to Hook a Bowling Ball

Bowling is quite a complex sport with tons of amazing techniques and skills to learn if you want to master it. If you have learned how to throw a straight ball and you are thinking of moving up the skill ladder, it is time you know to throw a sharp hook.

You might be thinking, how do I hook a bowling ball? Well, that is precisely what I am here to tell you.

This article will discuss hooking a bowling ball, the step-by-step learning guide, and the best bowling ball that offers the greatest hook potential depending upon your skillset. You will also get a few tips and tricks to help you learn to hook the bowling ball effectively and efficiently.

How to Hook a Bowling Ball

What is a Hook in Bowling?

In bowling, hooking is a technique that allows you to make your bowling ball take a sharp turn and curl back into the right pocket according to your playing style so you can score strikes.

What makes a bowling ball hook?

The surface of a bowling ball is what makes a bowling ball hook. The bowling ball’s surface is what makes the bowling ball hook on the surface of the bowling lane and takes it on an arc right into the pocket for scoring strikes.

How good is the hook technique?

It is the best-proven technique for getting strikes and is the most uniform and consistent. Compared to hooking a bowling ball, curving is a bit variable and produces uneven results in different situations and on varying lanes. That is why most intermediate and even professionals tend to stick with hooking the ball.

There are many potentials when it comes to hooking the ball, and you can control the swing, the force, and the overall sharpness of the hook depending upon your skill level. So, I would say you should learn to hook the bowling ball if you want to make it big in the sport.

Step-by-Step Guide for Hooking a Bowling Ball

Hooking a bowling ball can be difficult, especially if you do not have any previous experience. That is why I figured you needed an excellent step-by-step guide to learn how to hook a bowling ball. Let us take a look at the different steps that you require to follow to perfect the hook.

Mastering the Stance

First and foremost, when you are learning any bowling technique, you need to understand the stance you need to adopt to get it right. This includes proper positioning, distance from the foul line, holding the bowling ball, and everything in between.

So, if you are thinking of getting a strike through a hook ball, what you are going to want to do is, according to your throwing hand, you will stand straight, with your elbow in contact with your hip and your non-throwing stand supporting the bowling ball as you measure your throw.

Another essential step of this process is always keeping an eye on the aiming arrows because you want your hook to break from there and then come back into the pocket where you want to get the strike from.

Wrist and Finger Positioning

The next step is learning wrist and finger positioning. When you are throwing a straight ball, you bend your wrist a bit to put more throwing force into the bowling ball; that is not what we will do with the hooking technique.

How do you hold a bowling ball?

Well, it is not that difficult. We are going to place our fingers and thumb into the finger holes, and at all times throughout the throw, you need to keep your wrist in line with your arm even when you are going to take the swing. This is crucial if you want to get the right hook instead of messing up and curving too little or too much.

Moving towards the foul line

We need to ensure we are standing at least 4-5 steps away from the foul line because the distance is optimal if we want to get the correct motion and force into our hook throw. It is now time to make a move towards the pins.

What you are going to do here is that you will take a step and bring the ball to the front, then take another step and pull the bowling ball for a backswing. The third step is where you will bring the ball to the front and make the throw while taking the last step. This is how you move correctly when you want to throw a hook ball.

Release time movements

The final step to hooking the ball is the release. This is the most crucial step that you need to get right if you want to get the best hook. Depending upon the hand you choose to bowl with, the release motion can be different.

But one thing to know is that you will turn your fingers and thumb in the finger holes before pushing them out when you are about to throw the ball.

This turn will provide the necessary spin and hook to the ball, and it will break around the arrow lines to come into the 1-3 pocket if you are a right-hander and the 1-2 pocket if you are a left-hander to get a strike. This is all you need to know to throw a good hook ball if you want to learn.

Best Bowling Ball for Hooking

Usually, beginners do not consider bowling balls when they are learning to hook a ball. This is not the right approach because you need to make sure that you use the aptest bowling ball for effective hooking.

A Urethane bowling ball would be quite effective for beginners because of how good its hook potential and pin deflection is. The ball has a decent amount of friction on it and a lot of control for beginners.

However, if you are more on the intermediate or professional side of the bowler’s lot, going for a reactive resin ball would be right for you. It is not as easily controllable, but it is incredibly accurate. You need to throw it the right way, and you will get the perfect strike every time.

So, either of the bowling balls would be good for hooking. A particle bowling ball is a little too frictional, which is why it will not be the best option if you want to learn to hook. Only the most advanced bowlers use particle balls to get the right amount of curve and hook.

Tips and Tricks for Learning to Hook a Bowling Ball Effectively

Now that we know what kind of bowling ball we need and the process to follow, we need to find the right tips and tricks to learn the technique quickly. Lucky for you, I have made a list of all the tips and tricks you would find incredibly useful for learning this art. Let us take a look at them.

Practice every day

The first and foremost tip that I will give you if you want to learn the art of hooking the bowling ball. Make sure you find time for yourself and go to your nearest bowling alley, pay attention to the technique, and practice it as much as possible whenever you get the opportunity to do so.

Keep your wrist straight

A mistake that many bowlers make when they are beginning to learn hooking technique is keeping their wrist bent. This can lead to your wrist getting injured and your bowling career getting shortened. So, make sure you keep your wrist in a straight line to your arm so that the hook can be generated effectively.

Consult pro bowlers in bowling alleys

A trick to learn the hooking skill even quicker than usual is consulting your pro-bowler friends to help you get the technique right and the position correct. On your own, it can take quite a long while to figure out what you want to do and where you need to place your feet and everything, so getting help would be good for you.

Use lighter bowling balls

This is a trick that not many beginner bowlers know about. Many bowlers go to the bowling alley and end up using house balls that are at times heavy and not perfectly adjusted to their fingers. Using a lighter bowling ball, you will be able to reduce the weight you have in your hand, and you will be able to maneuver the ball better.

Move towards a heavier ball

A heavier ball hooks a lot more than a lighter ball but does not get a heavier ball right away from the start. Get used to the lighter ball and then slowly get accustomed to a heavier ball.

Perform drills with other varieties of balls

If you do not want to try hooking a bowling ball directly, you can use different balls like a football or even a tennis ball to get used to the positioning and movement. This is crucial to slowly make your way to properly hooking with a larger-sized bowling ball. These are some of the tips and tricks you can use to hook a bowling ball effectively.


Hooking is one of the essential techniques of bowling because of how effective in getting strikes it is. That is why you should surely know how to learn it properly.

Using the aforementioned step-by-step guide as well as the tips and tricks, you can practice and learn the art of hooking the bowling ball quite quickly. I hope you have fantastic bowling experiences to come!

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