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Want to know how to teach your kids bowling?
Learning how to bowl is a rite of passage that every kid goes through. Whether if it’s bowling with the family or being invited to a kid’s ten pin bowling party, learning how to strike (or better yet) keep the bowl within the lane is an important social life skill. So where to start? See below 4 key points on how to teach your kids bowling.
1. Bowling Shoes
Explain why it is important to wear bowling shoes. They are made of rubber which helps to brake your slide as soon as you release the bowl. The technique used to perform this slide may not make much sense to a beginner but it is an important habit to note as everyone wears bowling shoes.
It is also important to wear bowling shoes that fit perfectly to your child’s feet. Uncomfortable or loose footwear is no good and it would take the fun out of the actual game.
2. Bowling Balls
The most important item in bowling is the bowling ball itself. Have your child understand the different weights of the balls. For primary school kids, they can start with an 8lbs or 10lbs ball, for high school students they can have a try at the 10s or 12s and up to 14lb balls.
Show that there are three holes in the ball for your fingers. The bottom hole is for the thumb and the two middle fingers are for the two holes at the top. The bottom hole should be loose enough for it to swivel around, you wouldn’t want your fingers to be still attached to the bowl in mid-throw.
When handling the ball, make sure you hold it with both hands and the holes are easy to grip. Also ensure that the holes are not too wide or too tight.
3. Safety tips
Before starting the game, explain the basic bowling safety like allowing one player at a time to bowl. Make sure you wait to see all the pins stacked up and ready before starting your swing. You wouldn’t want the ball to hit the barrier as it tries to prepare the pins for the next game.
Make sure only one player at a time steps up towards the lane, crowding around a person is dangerous as the ball might accidentally hit them or disrupt nearby players who are also playing adjacent to your group. The only exception is to have only one adult accompanying the child to help release the ball.
Also, let them know not to put your hand anywhere near the ball return area. It is best to allow the adult to select the ball for the younger children.
Explain that they must stay behind the black line called the ‘foul line’. The lanes are usually oiled so there’s a good chance you might slip and fall over.
4. The Ball Throw
Now it’s time to learn the basics of how to bowl. This is called the Four Step Approach which all begins with taking four steps back from the foul line.
Safest way to do this is to walk towards the foul line, turn around facing away from the pins and take four normal walking steps forward. Then, add an extra half step for the slide. This is your starting point, adjust if necessary.
Stand in the middle of the starting point with both feet together and holding the ball in front of you, above the waist high with both hands. Make sure you’re bowling hand is holding the ball and your fingers are inside the holes, ready in place.
Take note of the image above (this is for right handed bowlers, adjust if the bowler is left-handed). The actual throw doesn’t involve throwing the ball which is why it is important to let the child know that we are learning how to maintain a momentum and swinging our bowling hand and releasing it towards our target.
It might take a few attempts which is why first learn the foot movement by walking forward with your right foot first, then your left, then your right and then slide and lunge with your left leg.
Once you get the hang of it, then teach them what they’re doing with their right ‘bowling’ arm. It’s all about swinging it back from the front and swinging it forward with your arm extended to release. As mentioned before, we are not throwing the ball, we are just building a momentum for the ball to slide off your grip and roll in a forward motion to increase the accuracy of the shot. If the movement is not straight, the ball would most likely curve or head straight towards the sides.
It will most likely take a few tries to sync both the leg and arm movement together and strong encouragement is advised.
For a full demonstration watch this video and take note of the full movement below:
Remember, bowling for the first time will be a tricky challenge so encourage your kids and keep them excited to bowl again.
And if they are feeling downtrodden for failing to keep the ball in the lane, there’s always the barriers.
Go try ten pin bowling at your nearest bowling alley.