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Seniors Are Not Over The Bowling Hill, Originally Posted: 3/5/2013; Updated 5/20/2023

If you are a senior bowler and finding it more and more difficult to retain your physical skills on the lanes, there are a few things you can work on to restore some life to your game. There is no need to feel “over the hill” as a bowler if you don’t mind working on your game and on physical fitness.

You can restore your enthusiasm for bowling by getting both your body and your physical game back into decent bowling shape. Make sure you consult your physician or a physical trainer before beginning any exercise routine, if you are not already engaged in one.

Because of noticeable losses in certain reflexes, strength and flexibility, it is easy for bowlers 65 years and older to lose dexterity and see their games deteriorate over time.

It is highly recommended to find an experienced bowling instructor who specializes in working with senior bowlers and take a lesson, or a series of lessons, to sharpen your skills. Some of you senior bowlers will categorically object to taking a lesson or to spending money on bowling other than to obtain the necessary equipment to engage in the sport.

Bowling instructions are not for everyone, but if you once enjoyed holding a good bowling average and can no longer achieve the same level of scores, perhaps it is time to adjust your thinking and give an instructor a chance to point out a few things about your game which might help you add some spice to your scores in little time.

If you rule out taking lessons but are still interested in getting your game back into decent shape, here are a few tips to try next time you are on the practice lanes:

1. Check how far from the foul line you are after completing your slide. If your sliding bowling shoe toe is more than 6 inches from the foul line, you likely have lost some stride length in your steps over the years. Adjust forward on the approach until you slide consistently close to the foul line.

2. Speed up your back-swing to create a looser feeling and avoid controlling the back-swing with your arm muscles. A swifter swing back will reduce muscle tension. Allow your steps to move more swiftly to the foul line once you sense your swing moves more quickly as well. Key some knee flex in your steps from start to finish so you do not lose good bowling balance when taking your approach.

3. Follow-through to a complete forward swing positioning by accelerating your forward swing slightly faster than you swing the ball in your back swing. This combination of a slightly faster back and forward swing will help you pick up a bit more bowling ball speed and add some punch when your ball hits the pins.

4. Use a firm gripping pressure on your bowling ball from beginning to the end of your arm's swing cycle, and until you release the ball. One must first hold on to something heavy before it can be released. Because we age, we lose gripping strength on our bowling hands and we should try to use a firm or tighter gripping pressure on the bowling ball to compensate. This is very important for you ladies who are not as strong as men and who experience a slow overall bowling ball speed.

5. Maintain your balance as you walk to the line and hold that good athletic posture as you release your bowling ball and for about one second after the ball is gone. Pose for a picture using your best form at the foul line to make sure your balance does not suffer by delivering your bowling ball at an increased speed.

6. Avoid trying to turn your bowling hand too much to get a hook ball delivery. Only a slight rotation of your bowling fingers is needed to get your ball to roll effectively while still maintaining a good delivery path down the lane to the break point.

There are many other tips you can use to sharpen your game, but if there is one which stands out above the rest, it is to work on your spare shooting. Work on your spare shooting system and learn to make good adjustments for routine spares so you reduce the number of open frames which kill your scores.

If you must, invest in a bowling ball which you do not presently own that does not hook much and holds a straight line down the lane when shooting corner pin spares. By cutting down open frames during your competitive sessions, you will help your scores and your average from declining.

Try these tips next time you are on the practice lanes. You just might revitalize your bowling game.

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