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Simple Bowling Alignment Adjustments


Understanding simple bowling alignment adjustments is a big step in increasing your ability to hit the pocket with greater consistency. If you are a new or developing bowler averaging 160 or less, your goal should be learn an initial alignment system and then learn to adjust your alignment as lane conditions change during your sessions on the lanes.

Simple bowling alignment adjustments begin with first establishing an effective initial alignment to the pocket at the start of your session on the lanes. Once you are lined up initially, these following tips provided courtesy of bowlingball.com will help make effective adjustments during competition:

1. 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 bowling ball over your target.

2. One proven and tested system over the years on typical house oil conditions is a "parallel adjustment system." This system 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 hitting the pocket solidly left or right.

3. The system calls for you to adjust the positioning of your bowling shoes on the approach and your sighting target on the lane in the same direction. Simple enough!

4. Right handed bowlers (opposite for left handed bowlers) who find the ball missing to the right of the pocket coming into the head pin light, the move with your feet is two boards to the right and one board right with your sighting target on the lane. 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.

5. If after adjusting 2:1 ratio to the right and your ball still does not make it to the pocket solidly, then make an additional 2:1 adjustment 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. A common adjustment if you miss the head pin or hit the “nose” would be to make a 5:3 adjustment to the left to change your angle down the lane, pick up necessary ball skid in fresh oil, and thereby compensate for the ball reaction which causes you to miss the pocket.

9. Don’t be afraid to make multiple adjustments, if needed, when your ball does not come close to hitting the pocket. This might occur when you first begin lining up on your pair of lanes at the beginning of your competitive session or when changing pairs during competition.

10. You will undoubtedly need to make adjustments as your session on the lanes progresses. Oil break-down and carry-down will necessitate an adjustment usually once or more per game depending on the volume of oil applied to the lanes, how many other bowlers are sharing your pair of lanes, and on the bowling ball you have selected.


Adjustments can be simple and will work. Your job is to identify when you need to make an alignment adjustment and do so before waiting too many frames and suffering the consequences of missing the pocket and reducing your chances of getting strikes. Trust your ball reaction and don’t hesitate to make your adjustments as needed.

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