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Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter! How To Stop Bowling Gutter Balls

It’s one of the most infuriating things for any tenpin bowler – watching your perfectly crafted shot take off on an unexpected angle and head straight into the gutter, resulting in an embarrassing ‘zero’ on your scoreboard.

While even the best bowlers can make the occasional error and land a gutter ball, there are some simple changes you can make to your bowling technique to reduce the chances of this happening.

So next time you’re building some team spirit with your crew from work on the lanes or hanging out with mates, avoid humiliating yourself by following these easy tips!

1. Choose the right bowling ball

If your rolls keep bouncing all over the show, you might need a heavier bowling ball. Bowling balls have different weights, so try them all out to find your perfect fit – just don’t go for one that feels like it’s pulling your arm out of its socket! Also, make sure that your fingers fit comfortably in the grip holes (they shouldn’t just slip out), and remove obstacles that could get stuck (think oversized rings) before you bowl. If you’re unsure, our friendly Zone Bowling team can help you choose a bowling ball that works best for you.

2. Position yourself

How you face the lane can prove the difference between hitting a clean strike and watching your ball roll sheepishly into the gutter. You should always begin by facing the lane straight-on, approaching its centre and aiming to launch the ball at the arrow in the middle of the lane. Keep your eyes focused on the path you want your roll to travel – don’t get distracted by your feet, the score screens or the cutie who just bowled a strike on the lane next to yours.

3. Hold the bowling ball correctly

A correct grip on the ball can go some way in ensuring it reaches its intended destination. Maintain a firm but comfortable hold on the ball, keeping your wrist straight the whole way. You should aim to release the bowling ball at the lowest point of your arm’s swing when the ball is at its closest to the ground. Don’t ‘throw’ or ‘force’ the ball down the bowling lane – rather aim for a fluid, natural release assisted by gravity.

4. Don’t forget your shoulder

One of the biggest mistakes novice tenpin bowlers make just as they release the ball is to drop their shoulder too low, forcing the bowling ball into an awkward angle and into the gutter. Make sure your shoulders are parallel to the ground every step of the way, right until you release the ball – this will help you keep your swing arm in a straight line.

5. Perfect your approach

You should walk up to the lane in a straight line as you begin your throw – there are no prizes for guessing where your ball will end up if you approach at an angle, so keep the strut for after your strike!

It’s also a good idea to make sure your leading foot is pointing straight down the centre of the bowling lane as this can help guide the ball towards the pins. And remember: practice makes perfect – the more you keep trying, the less likely you’ll be to bowl a gutter ball.

Bonus tip: remove the gutter!

If your gutter balls are keeping you from showing your face at your local bowling alley, there’s no shame in asking to set up rails that block the gutters to keep your bowling balls from wandering off. Don’t see it as cheating, either, it’s just a simple way to practice your bowling skills.

Feeling ready to eliminate those pesky gutter balls from your game? Head to your nearest Zone Bowling and show off your skills today!

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