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Mark October 3, 2007

Hi Walter Ray,
I use to be bowl pretty well and I couldn't go bowling for about 2-3 months because i didnt have time but now when i go bowling i have noticed i am bringing my hand over the top of the ball and i dont know why plz help and reply as soon as posabile

Hi Mark,
It sounds like you need to find a professional instructor to help you. It is nearly impossible to help someone you haven't seen bowl. But I would suggest working on your technique and try to have a good follow through (straight up). Keep practicing.

Rich September 24, 2007

Hi Walter Ray, I was watching the women's US Open tournament on TV and I was astonished to hear one of the announcers comment that to compete in the PBA, ball speed should be around 17-20 mph. I've been bowling for more than 25 years with a 200+ average, my ball speed is consistently around 12-13mph. Would a little extra speed really make a difference? Good luck in Milwaukee.

Hi Rich,
I believe that Bo was talking about your release speed. My speed is somewhere between 15 to 19 mph, normally from 17-19. So I doubt that your speed is that slow, but if it is and you can average over 200 then it works for you. More speed means less hook, but should give you more pin action. Of course you need to do what is comfortable for you.

Scott September 30, 2007

I have been bowling for about 7 years and I am currently averaging around a 195 - 205 average everywhere I bowl. I would like to increase that average by even more. I have gotten my spare game where I like it, but my consistency is not satisfying to me enough. I have a hop at the end of my swing that I have been unable to stop or get rid of. I have 2 videos of my throw on my bowlsapce page. Here is the link.

I am hoping that maybe you can give some advice as to why I have this hop and maybe some ideas as to how I can stop it. I will tell you I have tried slowing my ball speed, speeding up my ball speed, and moving back and up on the approach with no change. Please help if you can.

Hi Scott,
It looks like you might be a bit out of balance. You might want to find a local pro instructor to help you with your 'problem'. One thing you might try when practicing is holding your pose when you let go of the ball. It will probably take you quite a few games before your 'hop' isn't so bad. But if you concentrate on it, you should be able to tame it down quite a bit. Other than that you don't look too bad. Consistency comes from practice.

Mike September 18, 2007
Bloomfield Twsp

I recently recalled one of my few bowling exploits to a fellow bowler. I shared with him that I had made a 7-10 split back in 1970. I told him that I made it by cutting the 7 pin directly, 90 degrees across the lane and took out the 10 pin. I am left handed. The ball did not bounce in and out of the gutter first. This was when I was in college and was using a house ball that was conventional drilled, not fingertip, so I was throwing a pretty straight ball. The pin did not bounce off a sidewall, nor did it bounce off the back. My fellow bowler said that what I did was impossible. I suggested that it is like when you make an especially fine cut in billiards (maybe not 90 degrees, but approaching 90 degrees to the extent that the result is the same). Any case, this event took place during a morning bowling class whre no drinking was allowed and I was completely sober. What do you think? Have you ever witnessed such a thing? Do you think it is impossible?

Hi Mike,
Wow! I have never heard of picking up a 7-10 by sliding it across the lane like that. I guess most anything is possible

Michael September 17, 2007

My name is michael laird and i am 21 years old. I really look up to you and really enjoyed watching you bowl at spring hill lanes this past summer!! Well, anyways, i am currently an abc bowler and trying to pursue my dream of becoming a pro bowler. I was wondering what your opinion might be upon a certain style of bowling. I was wondering, does it really matter how high your backswing is to become a proficient bowler. I stay consistently around 18 to 20 miles per hour without throwing a huge backswing. I have noticed that a number of pros have a huge backswing. What do you think? I know you reside in ocala and was also wondering if you know anyone that can coach me? I have taught myself everything i know without any coaching and would like to improve my average from 220 to around 230. I hope you can help me!
thank you

Hi Michael,
It isn't necessary to have a high backswing or I wouldn't be very successful. I am sure that there are some good coaches in your area, but I don't know who they are. I was basically self taught and learned most of what I know from bowling in tournaments. Good luck and thanks.

Riley September 9, 2007

Dear Walter Ray,
I was wondering if you can tell me how you throw your bowling ball because I throw my bowling ball with two fingers and I don't have much accuracy with it. I was just wondering if you throw with finger tips or not. Please write back.

Hi Riley,
I use my finger tips and my thumb. It is much more difficult to be accurate when you don't use your thumb. But it does allow a player to get more hook on the ball which can be good at times. I would recommend learning how to bowl with your thumb in the ball and when you get some good control then give the no thumb a try again. But you may find that your scores will be higher with your thumb.

Paul August 23, 2007

I throw a 14lb ball and I seem to leave the ringing 10 pin quite often. Do you think bumping up my ball weight would help with knocking down that 10 pin.

Hi Paul,
I don't know if a heavier ball will help get a ringing 10 out or not. I use 15 pounds and I used to use 16. I think it depends on the bowling center. Also, the more you hit the pocket, the more 10 pins you will leave. So pick them up.

Ronnie July 6, 2007
West Homestead

Hi Mr. Williams,
I'm 57 yrs. young and have been hooked on bowling for about 25 years. I'm right handed, and I'm in the 6th week of a PBA league and I'm having a blast. I'm averaging 208 on the PBA patterns. I throw at all my spares straight, but my toughest spare is the 7 pin. I've been using my ring and little finger for throwing straight for single pin spares for about 10 years and rarely ever miss the 10 pin. To hit the 7 pin I stand 15 1/2 and throw at 20. What board do you stand on,and what board do you throw at, to hit the 7,4 and 2 pin. When I miss the 7 pin, its usually to the left, Same with the 2 pin. Thanks for any help and I hope you get 60 titles or more....
Thanks again

Hi Ronnie,
Since everybody walks to the line a little bit different you need to figure out what works for you. I like to stand in the same spot for my left side spares and in another spot for my right side spares. I don't exactly walk toward my target, so my adjustments might be slightly different than other pros. I move my target about 1 board from the 2 to 4 and the 4 to 7, likewise for the 3 to 6 and 6 to 10. If you are missing on the inside then you need to adjust your starting position or your target.

Barbara June 27, 2007

I am right hand. I throw a backup ball automatically. Which side should I stand on and what arrow should I throw at.
Thank you.

Hi Barbara,
It depends on how you walk to the line and the lane conditions that you bowl on. Normally the 2nd arrow from the left would be a good line for you to target. So from there you need to figure out what starting position would work best from practice. You also need to realize that the lanes change from game to game and from day to day, so you may need to make other adjustments. Good luck!

Gene June 26, 2007

Hello again I am responding to some of your questions to me, I have a spare ball that I use some times when the lanes are dry so that I don't over hook and get the 2 7 which has help improve my game alot, I have also learned to flatten my hand out on dry lanes so I I don't go over the top, but later I have fallen in my avg.
I only bowl once a week so I know that does not help. And that 10 pin is my worst night mare, I pick it 50% of the time.

I have a new question for you. Right now I am bowling with a mid range reactive ball, I am wondering if I get a high range ball and move my mark over towards the center I can improve my game, 1 out of three games I gutter, this is due to the fact that my mark is so close to the edge, I would like to rid my self of this, your advise is garthful .
Thank you

Hi Gene,
It sounds like you need to practice your spares. Missing 50% of your 10 pins is way too many. If you are so close to the channel that you are throwing gutter balls, then moving away from the channel might be a good idea. A new ball might help, but learning how to throw the ball more accurately with good rotation would be better in the long run. You can do it! Keep practicing.

Justin June 24, 2007

im 15 i just started to learn how to bowl. my dads into it and he doesnt like anything i do so im trying somthing he does. I tryed to learn the hook using my thumb and it wasnt working out. Then i saw someone bowling with out a thumb and i tryed it and its alot easyer to get the hook but the spare is where im having problems. should i just learn to use my thumb all the time or can i just use the thumb for spares? Im going to get a ball, and I want to get into a league with my dad and dont you have to have some special ball if you dont use a thumb? and how would that work if i try to do both? and what size ball should i use? Im 5,6 and pretty strong for my height. I started with 10 then i went to 12. and i could go higher but then it'll get harder on my fingers. Should i go higher?
Justin S.

Hi Justin,
Getting a hook is a lot easier without using your thumb. But you might develop bad habits with your arm swing. I would recommend bowling with your thumb and try to use some of the similar techniques you use when you bowl without your thumb to get it to hook more. It sounds like you should be able to handle a 14 pound ball, but I don't know. You need to ask a pro shop operator about drilling a ball and the possibility of your not using your thumb for a strike ball. You definitely want to use your thumb for spares. Good luck and sometimes dads know what they are talking about.

Eugene 6/16/07

Mr. Williams
I am a no thumb bowler with about a 220 avg. my question to you is. most people look down on me for doing this, but when I try to use my thumb I throw it in the left gutter(I am right handed) I can not seem to get this down, should I keep trying or should I give up on the thumb and just use the two fingers? thank you

Hi Gene,
It is really odd that you would throw the ball in the left channel when you use your thumb, but I would recommend learning how to bowl with your thumb so that you can be a better spare shooter. If you have no problem picking up your 10 pins on dry lanes then don't worry about it. Bowling without using your thumb adds a bit more abuse to your body, but you shouldn't worry how others see you as long as you knock down more pins than they do. Also if the lane conditions call for a straighter release, can you handle that?

David May 23, 2007

Dear Walter Ray, I know it is not probable to find a way to never leave another 10 pin. but is there a way to minimize having that darn 3 pin push the six out around the 10? thanks dave

Hi Dave,
Leaving a 10 pin means you are hitting the pocket, which are your best odds at getting a strike. A pinch in any direction and you would have a strike. It is frustrating, but try to keep hitting the pocket. If you figure out how to get that 10 out all the time, let me know.

Jason May 18, 2007
Las Vegas

Hi Walter Ray,
I recently bought all three of you instructional videos in hopes to learn how to roll my spare ball over the thumb hole. I would love any help or thoughts you might have!!
Thank You!!
Jason Margetts

Hi Jason,
It isn't necessary to roll the ball over the thumb hole on your spares. I would say that it is important to learn how to throw the ball straighter for most spares. If you know how to throw a 'back-up' ball, then you are pretty much there. If you don't know how to throw a 'back-up' ball, then you will want to experiment with your release to throw the ball straighter or back-up. To throw the ball straighter you will try to put very little side rotation at release. When releasing the ball I would try to have your fingers closer to your leg and lift your hand with your fingers on the inside so that the ball won't 'hook'. I would practice this with your most hooking ball on hooking lanes so that you will need to throw the ball straighter. Don't worry about your score, throw both shots so that the ball will go as straight as possible at a target such as the 10 pin and or 7 pin. Good luck and keep at it!

Justin March 6, 2007

Hello Mr. Walter Ray,
I must admit, I don't know much about bowling. I was in a league for a year when I was a teenager but since then only bowl occasionally with friends (less than 6 times per year).

Surprisingly when I do bowl, I usually score around 200 points...last weekend I bowled a 186, 232, 212. My question is: I noticed pros throwing with a hook...I've never learned how to do that. If I decide to get more serious about bowling and enroll in a tournament do I need to learn to throw a hook to keep from looking silly compared to serious bowlers? I'm afraid changing now would ruin my game. Thanks

Hi Justin,
Throwing a hook is the best way to become true professional bowler. I don't know of any professional bowler who throws the ball perfectly straight. However, there are professional bowlers who don't throw a big hook, but they are mostly from the last generation of pros. Throwing a hook will take time to learn and understand the adjustments that come with it. If you do decide to bowl tournaments throwing the ball straight, as long as you score well, who cares. The end result is the main thing. Good luck.

Cameron April 15, 2007

Dear Walter Ray,
I just wanted to congratulate you on another great season. My question for you is that I have a bad problem about letting my ball fall inside of my armswing causing me to bring it back and spin the ball instead of hooking it. Some would call what i have is a chicken wing affect. What can i do to solve this problem, and how can i keep my wrist behind the ball and cupped all the way through my swing. thanks and please reply asap!! good luck in the future.

Hi Cameron,
It sounds like you should see a coach to help you with a little bit of hands on teaching. You might want to try a wrist device and keeping your elbow closer to your body while bowling. Good luck!

Clinton April 24, 2007

Hey Walter Ray, I was wandering why throwing a hook ball generates more pin action than throwing a straight ball.

Hi Clinton,
Some pros think it is because of the side rotation, but personally I think it has to do with the angle that can be created by the hook. A hook can also generate more error room on the lane due to the oil lane condition so can really increase a players score.

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