Whether you are a normal weekend bowler or plan to become a professional, you must have seen people or PBA bowlers curving (spinning/twisting/tilting) the ball to knock down the pins, the official term for this technique is ‘Hook’, but why do they do it? Can’t they just roll the ball straight? we can be more consistent by throwing straight.

In this article, I will be answering all your questions and clear all the doubts you have in mind.

Bowlers hook the ball to give the ball a better angle at the 1-3 pin pocket or 1-2 pin pocket which will allow the ball to knock down all the pins and make a strike. Hitting the ball straight on will leave the corner pins so as to make perfect strike bowlers curve the ball.

Didn’t understand? Don’t worry I’ll explain it to you with images and in a simplified form. But first, you should know technically what hook actually is.

What Is a Hook In Bowling?

When the ball rolls in a curving pattern, it is called a hook in bowling. Hook has a very important purpose and almost every professional bowler hook the ball and there’s a reason for this.

How Does Hook Work?

This is the most important portion of the article, so make sure you don’t skip this.

First of all, by hooking the ball, it will hit the pins with more force, i.e better carry which will basically increase the chances of knocking down more pins.

But, it isn’t the main purpose of a hook in bowling.

In bowling, if you throw the ball straight even at the center, all the pins will never get knocked down, every time some pins will get left standing at the corner.

The hook is the solution for it, this is how it works;

In a hook, you spin the ball a little bit during the release and when the ball reaches a little more distance after center, it hooks and gets into the 1-3 (right-hander) / 1-2 (left-hander) pocket.

Bowling Hook

To hit a strike, the ball needs to hit the pins in one of the two angels mentioned in the image (this is the 1-3 pocket) and the angle vice versa for the 1-2 pocket.

Bowling Hook

When the ball hits the 1-3 pocket, it forms a tangent 90-degree angle knocking 4 pins (1,2,4,7) in a row as shown in the image.

When the ball moves further, it will connect the 3 pins and makes a tangent forming a 90 degree angle and thus it knocks the 3 pins (3,6,10).

Bowling Hook

Now, when the ball moves even further, it knocks the remaining 3 pins (5,9,8).

By throwing at the 1-2 pocket (mostly done by left-handers), you’ll see the opposite of it.

Can You Throw a Strike Without Curving the Ball?

In General, you can’t throw a strike without curving the ball because you have to throw the ball in the 1-3 or 1-2 pocket to get a strike which you can’t do if you were throwing the ball straight. But, in a few lucky chances and when the ball has a lot of speed, you may get a strike by throwing the ball straight only.

But, that’s super rare.

If you try to throw a strike (aim for 1-3 pocket) without curving the ball, you would need to throw the ball from the other lane (as shown in the below image) which is against the bowling rules.

Benefits Of Bowling Straight

Throwing a ball straight also has some awesome benefits.

Straight bowling is the first bowling technique used by new bowlers. It is super easy to learn and does not require a ton of practice to master this form as you’re basically swinging your hand forward and backward straight.

In this technique, you can simply step up on the line you want the ball to get executed and just throw the ball.

Secondly, it is easier to get consistent at throwing the ball straight, you just need a little bit of practice and you’re done.

Drawbacks Of Bowling Straight

As you might have thought at first, if you throw the ball straight in the middle and the ball connects with the pins in the middle, then all the pins will get knocked down and you’ll get a strike. But, that’s not the case as you might’ve guessed from the above contexts.

Some corner pins will still get left even if you throw the ball with power and it connects with the pins at the center. So, you will never be able to throw a strike by throwing the ball straight.

In bowling, if you want to knock all the pins, you need to throw the ball in the 1-3 or 1-2 pocket I mentioned above, without that, you will never be able to get a strike.

To hit the 1-3 or 1-2 pocket while bowling straight, you would need to throw the ball from the other lane but that’s not allowed nor you could do that because of the gutters in between.

So, Bowling straight means NO STRIKES.

In straight bowling, you have to throw the ball with a lot of power if you didn’t, then the ball will spin and may fall in the gutter or hit some corner pins. (This happens with a lot of newbie bowlers)

Benefits Of Hooking the Ball

By hooking the ball, you’ll be able to hit the 1-3 / 1-2 pin pocket and thus you will hit a strike that is a kind of highest score in bowling. It is like Homerun or Sixer of bowling.

So, by hooking the ball you’ll get the right angle and thus score more strikes.

Secondly, by hooking the ball, the ball hits the pins with more force and thus it has a better chance of knocking more pins.

Drawbacks Of Bowling Hook

Learning to hook a bowling ball is tough and requires a lot of practice while mastering hooking consistency is super tough, it requires a lot of effort and years of practice.

Secondly, if you don’t master it, the ball may hook the wrong way and fell in the gutter or hit the corner pins (this will happen a lot of times in the beginning).

Should You Learn to Hook the Ball Or Throw the Ball Straight?

Learning to hook the ball is an important aspect of bowling and without it, you can’t throw strikes so you have to learn to hook a ball even if you are not very serious about bowling. Throwing the ball straight is the basic necessity one bowler should have, you will need to learn to throw the ball straight to throw splits. (you can’t always throw strikes)

You should learn to throw a ball straight and then you should start thinking about hooking the ball as it is a bit advanced. You can’t hook a ball if you don’t know how to throw a ball straight.

Should Care About Hooking In Your First Bowling Game?

In your first bowling game, you don’t necessarily need to learn about bowling as in this stage first you have to learn how to throw a ball, then how to throw a ball straight, and then how to hook a ball – it is the last chapter of Bowling so why care about it in the first class.

But, if you want to impress your friends in the first game then I would suggest watching some videos on hooking, I have also shared a few other cool tips/hacks that can help you score 150+ in this article, so make sure you check that out as well.

Even if you have bowled a couple of times, I would highly suggest reading that article because it really has some great tips.

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