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Sighting At The Bowling Lane Arrows

Updated 11/3/2020

Sighting at the bowling arrows is the most commonly used target location by bowlers everywhere. There are several reasons why using the bowling arrows as your sighting target area will benefit your game.

Sighting at the arrows means that it is very easy to keep your eyes focused on your target without your head moving while walking to the foul line and delivering your bowling ball. Reducing head movement is an excellent technique to produce good body balance during your approach.

Sighting at the arrows allows you to easily focus your eyes and mind on your mark on the lane where you want your bowling ball to cover, while also avoiding a sudden shift of your head position by trying to watch your ball roll over your mark.

The arrows also break the lane into five board increments laterally across the lane surface. It makes it easy to focus between arrows if your precise mark is not directly on a given arrow.

Sighting at the arrows also makes it possible to track your ball traveling down the lane before it arrives at the arrows and after it passes the arrows. By sighting some distance past the arrows, you might miss viewing your bowling ball delivery angle as your ball is traveling on the front end of the lane.

This can also mean you might miss your ball reacting well before you intended it to begin its hook motion, due to the lane conditioner breaking down or due to incorrect alignment to the pocket.

Being able to watch your ball travel down the majority of the lane very closely means that you can see any subtle shifts in ball motion which can tip you off that an adjustment will be needed. The bowling arrows provide a sensible sighting target area and are widely used by the great majority of bowlers around the world.

There are exceptions, however. If a bowler has trained his or her eyes to sight further down the lane than at the bowling arrows, that system of targeting can work well and can help the bowler complete a full follow-through swing motion and maintain good ball speed.

Caution should be taken when sighting further down the lane to not let the glare from the lights over the lanes or the shadows of the pinsetter masking units or shadows of the pins themselves distract focus from the sighting target.

Bowlers who sight at the first set of guide dots 6 feet beyond the foul line can easily follow the complete path of the ball rolling down the lane, but must make sure not to shut off the follow-through motion or get the ball onto the lane too soon and lose ball speed.

Any sighting technique requires practice and a training of the eyes to master the process and become an accurate bowler.

Some bowlers will actually sight directly at the guide dots on the foul line where the lane begins and the approach ends. This technique can surely cause a deceleration of the forward arm swing and result in a loss of ball speed or in turning the bowling ball sooner than intended.

A great deal of training is required to sight at the foul line area. Another danger is to press the head and shoulders forward just so the eyes can pick up the mark at the foul line and perhaps even dump the ball onto the approach floor behind the foul line causing the ball to bounce excessively and lose effective roll. Poor body posture can be a detriment to good shot making.

When sighting at the bowling arrows, it is easy to walk fairly tall with your head up and to keep your eyes focused sharply on your mark. It is also easy to follow the path of your bowling ball by sighting at the arrows.

Using the arrows means you are sighting near the end of the front part of the lane where your bowling ball transitions from the skid phase of motion to the hook phase of motion. It is critical to watch your ball travel and change direction in the mid-lane and again on the back end at the break point about two-thirds distance down the lane. Sighting at the arrows accommodates this ball tracking process with your eyes.

So many advantages are contained in sighting at the arrows so it is typically recommended by coaches to use the arrows as the general area on the lane as a sighting tool.

One final point about using the arrows for your sighting area is that if you happen to stand at the 12 foot set of guide dots on the approach, you are standing about 72 feet from the pins. The arrows are about 27 feet from your eyes when you take your stance position on the approach. The arrows, therefore, are about 35% - 40% the distance from your eyes as are the pins, in this example.

It simply makes sense to sight nearer to your eyes than further away where your eyes can easily view the lane and track the bowling ball and its rotating axis as it leaves your hand, as opposed to sighting much further down the lane.

Using the arrows for your target is a matter of personal preference. In bowling, any system that works well for you is certainly acceptable. The standard, however, is to sight at the arrows and use these progressively noticeable rangefinders to your best advantage, regardless of your skill level.

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