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How To Make Simple Bowling Alignment Adjustments


Learning how to make simple bowling alignment adjustments is a big step to increasing your ability to hit the pocket with greater consistency and to converting your spares. The goal of all bowlers, and certainly for developing players who are relatively new to the game or who are beginning to take the game seriously, is to adjust your alignment as needed with the purpose of improving your ability to deliver your bowling ball into the pocket. How to make simple bowling alignment adjustments begins with first establishing an effective initial alignment to the pocket at the start of your session on the lanes.

Typically, most bowling centers use a lane oiling procedure which creates the highest volume of oil conditioner located between the 2nd arrow on the right of the lane and the 2nd arrow on the left side of the lane, certainly for league play. Also, the heaviest volume of oil is located from the foul line where the bowling ball first contacts the lane surface down the lane to approximately 20 feet distance past the foul line. Of course, each bowling center has its own oiling procedures, but in many cases, the 2nd arrow is a good place for initial alignment to the pocket.

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Depending on your release technique, targeting the 2nd arrow is the logical place to begin your deliveries while warming up for a session on the lanes. Place your bowling shoe instep to cover the 20 board, the center board on the lane approach, and target the 2nd arrow, the 10 board on the lane near the bowling guides about 15 feet distance past the foul line.

Adjustments from this initial alignment will be needed when a ball is delivered accurately toward the 2nd arrow but does not end up solidly impacting the pocket. Make sure you are delivering your ball at a consistent ball speed each delivery before making an adjustment.

The amount of lateral adjustment for missing the pocket from your initial alignment, either to the left or to the right, depends on how far you missed the pocket after rolling your ball over your target. One proven and tested system over the years is a "parallel adjustment system." This system simply means to move your feet two boards on the approach while adjusting your target on the lane one board (half as much as your feet positioning), in the same direction, either to the left or to the right, depending on whether your ball missed the pocket solidly to the left or to the right. Simple enough!

For example, right handed bowlers (left handers may use an opposite adjustment technique), moving your feet two boards to the right right and your target on the lane one board right is a good adjustment when your ball slides too far and misses the pocket solidly to the right. This angle adjustment automatically closes your delivery angle on the lane and creates a more direct route for your ball to travel and contact the pocket.

If after adjusting 2:1 ratio to the right and your ball still does not make it to the pocket solidly, then adjust another 2:1 boards to the right. Continue making 2:1 ratio adjustments until your angle matches to the oil conditions and your ball finally contacts the pocket solidly. By the way, the pocket is located on the pin deck and at the 17.5 board.

Adjusting in the opposite direction, 2:1 boards to the left from your initial alignment positioning, will work for lanes which have less than heavy oil and which causes your ball to hook too early and miss the pocket to the left (again in the case of right handed bowlers). Multiple adjustments of 2:1 boards, either left or right, will either close your angle to the pocket on oily lanes or open your angle to the break point down the lane on dry lanes.

After your initial alignment, the lane conditions will change in time depending on how much bowling is done on the lane during a given session. In the case with league bowling, you may have to make your first adjustment for the pocket perhaps before your first game is completed, depending on how many bowlers are on your pair of lanes. You might need to make several adjustments during your league session on the lanes.  Be ready to react and make an adjustment once you roll a good delivery and your ball no longer contacts the pocket solidly.

Of course, parallel adjustments may also be made in increments of 1:1 ratios for the fine tuning adjustments and in ratios of 3:1 for greater angle changes to the break point down the lane. The 2:1 common parallel adjustment typically works very effectively on most house conditions and if the oiling conditions are not too severely oily or dry.


bowlingball.com recommends you consult an experienced instructor, perhaps a certified coach or a local bowling professional for more information on a developing a strategy for lane adjustments.  Coaching can be an inexpensive way of learning techniques which will help you improve your game.  Feel free to browse our "BowlVersity" located at the top of our home page to find more articles to review.

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