Bowling is easy to learn, but not everybody can bowl perfectly. It takes practice and some technique to learn to be able to get consistent strikes in bowling. One technique that almost always works for bowlers is to know the sweet spots on the lane and aim for them, and one of these spots is known as the pocket.
The pocket is the space between the headpin and third pin from the right and the headpin and second pin from the left. It’s called a “sweet spot” because if you want to score a strike, the ball should enter the pin deck at this point.
Since the center of the headpin is on the 20 board, the pocket is on the 17 board, and its center is on the 17.5 board if we count from the right side. You must angle the ball into the pocket by hooking it at the right point. This point is known as the breakpoint. If you miss this point, the chances of landing in the pocket are very low.
In this article, we will look at how to hit the pocket consistently so you can have improved chances of getting a strike.
How to Hit the Pocket in Bowling?
To hit the pocket, you will have to make the ball curve. Rolling the ball straight down the lane will leave the corner pins standing. That is why to get a strike, and you have to make the ball curve and enter either the 1-3 or 1-2 pocket.
But how do you know where the ball should curve to hit the pocket?
The secret to hitting the pocket is to determine your breakpoint. This is the point on the lane where the ball begins to turn or hook toward the pocket. You can find the breakpoint by knowing the distance of the oil pattern and using the rule of 31.
According to this rule, if the lane is oiled 40 feet, you will subtract 31 from 40 to get your breakpoint. In this case, this point will be located on the 9 board. If you want to hit the pocket, you will have a three-board space to see where your ball breaks. This area is around the 8 to 10 board in this example.
Remember, it’s just an approximate calculation, and several other factors may affect it. For instance, the choice of the ball and the speed with which you release it may make the ball hook earlier or later. Moreover, used or old balls often start to hook early and are less aggressive in the backend.
Once you know your breakpoint, you must ensure the ball hooks at the right spot. The choice of the ball plays an important role in this regard. Even if you don’t have your own ball, you should know how to make a house ball curve. You have to rotate your hand to create a spin on the ball and keep your palm toward the ceiling while doing so.
Go for a reactive resin coverstock if you want to buy your own ball. These balls come with a polished finish and are designed to hook at the right time. However, a ball worn out will not hook as expected.
Another important thing you can do to make sure the ball hooks at the right time is to release the ball correctly. You want to ensure that your thumb comes out first when you throw the ball. This step will serve to create a spin on the ball, which will, in turn, make it hook. Using this technique, you can even hook a house ball, usually made of plastic.
And finally, pro bowlers advise using the four-step approach if you want to bowl perfectly. However, every player has their own comfort zone, and it is not a hard and fast rule to go by this principle. Find your own bowling style which you’re comfortable with, and the rest will follow.
Things to Remember When Hitting the Pocket
If you want to hit the pocket, you have to keep a few things in mind. First, go for a lighter ball. It has been seen that lighter balls are not only easy to handle, especially for beginners, but they are also good for knocking the pins down.
Heavier balls, on the other hand, will send the pins flying in the air, which is not ideal if you’re trying to get a strike. Our goal is to enter the pocket from the right spot and then let the pins do the rest.
Another thing to remember is to look at the target arrows instead of the pins when you are about to release the ball. Those arrows are there for a purpose. If you’re aiming for the pocket, you should focus on the second arrow from the center (either side). The ball will slide down the lane and then turn at the breakpoint getting right to the pocket.
For hitting the pocket, your arm should be at a 90-degree angle when you swing back, and then you should release the ball at the same angle. If your arm is not at the right angle, it will affect the direction and power of your bowl. Make sure your arm is straight and at a consistent speed when you swing back and release the ball.
Another important aspect of hitting the pocket is your grip on the ball. Make sure you grip the ball firmly but not too tight. If you grip the ball too tightly, you will not be able to bowl with as much power. Experiment with different grips until you find one that is comfortable for you and allows you to bowl with power and accuracy.
The most effective way to improve your odds of hitting the pocket is to practice, practice, and practice. The more you play, the better you’ll get at aiming and throwing the ball. So get out there and start practicing!