5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Bowling Pro

The journey to becoming a bowling professional is often a roller coaster ride full of twists and turns. Looking back, there are certain things I wish I knew before embarking on this adventure.

Let’s walk down this lane, shall we?

1. The Right attitude

First and foremost, you need to have the right attitude. Becoming a bowling pro takes an immense amount of determination and dedication–you have to be willing to practice endlessly and push yourself beyond your comfort zone. You’ll also need plenty of patience as you navigate the highs and lows that come with such a feat.

See what I mean:

2. Importance of Proper Training

Training is more than just throwing a ball down the alley. It’s about understanding the mechanics, improving your technique, and building consistency. I wish I had known that not all practice is good practice and that quality trumps quantity every time.

3. Equipment Essentials

Venturing into professional bowling without understanding the equipment essentials is much like setting sail without a compass. You’ll find yourself adrift in an ocean of confusion, unable to maximize your potential.

Importance of a Good Bowling Ball

What makes a bowling ball good, you ask? Well, it’s not just about the design or brand but a combination of factors that include weight, balance, and the ball’s surface. 

The weight of the bowling ball is a crucial factor. A ball too heavy might strain your arm and negatively affect your control, while one too light could fall prey to the laws of physics, not delivering enough power to hit the pins effectively. Therefore, choosing the right weight that suits your comfort and playing style can drastically improve your performance.

Balance, or more specifically, the ball’s core, determines how the ball will move down the lane. The core’s design impacts the spin and hook potential of the ball, helping to direct it toward the pins in an optimal way. Understanding your playing style and matching it with a ball with a suitable core can enhance your game tremendously.

Last but not least, the surface of the ball, or its coverstock, plays a critical role in how the ball interacts with the lane. Different surfaces provide varying degrees of friction, which in turn impacts the ball’s movement. A smoother surface is ideal for oily lanes, while a rougher one performs better on dry lanes. Knowing this could have saved me countless under or overthrows!

The right bowling ball can also depend on the type of player you are or your specific needs. To help you make an informed decision, I’ve prepared a set of comprehensive guides, each focusing on a specific type of bowler or situation:

Each of these guides offers detailed information on what to look for when choosing a ball, ensuring you get the best performance on the lanes. The right ball could make the difference between a spare and a strike, a good game and a great one. Choose wisely!

The Significance of Bowling Shoes

A well-kept secret of the bowling world is the importance of bowling shoes. Who knew that these seemingly innocuous accessories could play such a significant role? Well, every professional bowler did, and I wish I knew too!

Bowling shoes are specially designed to provide better slide control, balance, and comfort on the lanes. The soles of these shoes are not like regular ones; they’re crafted to accommodate the unique movements of a bowler. One shoe you slide with has a smooth sole to facilitate a perfect slide while releasing the ball. The other, the braking shoe, has a rubber sole to provide the necessary traction and control when you stop your movement.

These shoes also aid in maintaining balance throughout the complex sequence of movements that constitute a bowling delivery. And let’s not forget the comfort factor. Spending hours in uncomfortable shoes can distract you from your game, and discomfort can eventually lead to performance-dropping fatigue. A well-fitted, comfortable pair of bowling shoes can keep such distractions at bay.

Had I realized the significance of these aspects of equipment sooner, I might have fast-tracked my journey to becoming a pro. But then again, learning from my experiences has given me insights I can now pass on to others, and that’s a win in my book!

To guide you in your quest for the perfect pair, I’ve put together several comprehensive guides that cater to various requirements and preferences:

Each guide provides detailed insights and recommendations to help you make an informed decision, ensuring your feet are just as ready as you are for the lanes. Remember, every detail counts when aiming for that perfect game.

4. Community is Part of the Journey

Delving into the world of professional bowling means becoming part of a larger bowling family. Your understanding of and participation in this community can shape your career and enrich your life in ways you never anticipated.

Related: Benefits Of Community Sports

Building Relationships in the Bowling Community

While it’s true that the bowling ball is in your hands alone when you step onto that lane, it’s also true that bowling is far from a solo sport. One thing I wish I knew earlier is how much value there is in building relationships within the bowling community.

Fostering bonds with fellow bowlers, coaches, club owners, and even fans can provide a crucial support network during challenging times. They’ll celebrate your victories with you, provide a shoulder to lean on during defeats and offer wisdom based on their own experiences.

Mentorship, in particular, can play a significant role in your growth as a professional. Experienced bowlers can guide you, providing valuable insights and advice that you might not find in any book or online tutorial. They can help you navigate the challenges of the bowling world and give you insider tips that can elevate your game.

And let’s not forget the friendships that can grow in this community. Shared passions have a way of bringing people together, forming connections that extend beyond the bowling alley and last a lifetime.

Coping with Competition and Rivalry

Bowling is a competitive sport.

The pursuit of perfection, the thrill of victory, and the intense rivalry all contribute to its allure. But this competitive landscape can be a double-edged sword, providing both motivation and stress. Understanding how to handle it can be a game-changer.

Competition can be fierce, pushing you to constantly up your game and perform better. But it’s important to remember that everyone on those lanes is striving for the same thing. Your biggest competitor can also be your biggest motivator. They push you to reach heights you might not have attained on your own.

Related: Common Mistakes Made by Bowling Players

Rivalry, on the other hand, can be intense. It can fuel your passion but can also lead to unnecessary stress and distraction if not handled correctly. I wish I had known early on that while rivalry is part and parcel of the sport, it’s crucial to maintain respect and sportsmanship at all times. Learning to appreciate your rivals’ skills and achievements can help you grow as a bowler and a person.

Becoming a bowling pro isn’t just about perfecting your throw; it’s about learning to navigate the bowling community, understanding the dynamics of competition and rivalry, and building relationships that enrich your professional and personal life. It’s a journey I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

5. The Realities of Professional Bowling

Professional bowling, like any sport, presents a myriad of challenges that go beyond simply perfecting the game. As I stepped into the pro bowling world, I had to learn the hard way that it’s not just about throwing strikes. It’s about understanding and tackling both physical and mental demands.

The Need for Physical Fitness

The idea that bowling requires stamina, flexibility, and strength may seem surprising to the uninitiated. After all, we’re just rolling a ball down a lane. But let me tell you, the physical demands of professional bowling are far more intense than they appear on the surface.

Stamina is required for those long tournaments where you’ll find yourself bowling game after game with minimal breaks. It’s not just about getting through these games but also maintaining your performance level throughout. Without stamina, you risk faltering in those crucial final rounds when your energy levels dip.

Flexibility is another critical aspect that I underestimated early on. The unique movements in bowling, particularly during the release, require a great deal of flexibility. Greater flexibility can improve your bowling form, reduce the risk of injury, and allow for a smoother, more controlled delivery.

Strength, particularly in your arms and legs, plays a significant role in your bowling performance. A strong arm can deliver the ball with more power, leading to better pin action. Leg strength, on the other hand, contributes to stability during the delivery and aids in controlling the speed of your approach and the force of your throw.

Early on, I wish I knew that adopting a regular fitness regimen, focusing on stamina, flexibility, and strength, could significantly enhance my bowling performance.

The Mental Game

The mental aspect of professional bowling is another reality that often goes unnoticed but plays a massive role in defining a pro bowler. The game isn’t just played on the lanes but also in the mind.

Bowling requires immense concentration. Each frame presents a unique puzzle, with its solution depending on a multitude of factors – the oil pattern on the lane, your ball’s reaction, the pin layout, and even your current score. Blocking out distractions and maintaining focus is key to consistently high performance.

Moreover, bowling is a game of precision, and small errors can lead to significant consequences. Dealing with these pressures requires mental resilience. You need to be able to shake off a bad frame, a bad game, or even a bad tournament and bounce back with confidence.

Handling success and failure with grace, staying calm under pressure, maintaining focus, and cultivating mental resilience are all part of the mental game in bowling. It’s a game within the game that I’ve come to appreciate and respect over time.

Last Words

In my journey, I’ve learned the value of proper equipment, the significance of the bowling community, and the realities of the physical and mental challenges of the sport. Each lesson, whether learned the hard way or passed down by a mentor, has contributed to my growth as a professional bowler.

The world of professional bowling is one of camaraderie and competition, mental fortitude and physical fitness, and constant learning and growth. It’s a world I wouldn’t trade for anything.

As you step onto those lanes, remember that every frame is a new opportunity to learn, improve, and excel. Always aim for the strike, but remember that even the best bowlers had to learn how to pick up a spare.


What should I look for when choosing a bowling ball?

Choosing a bowling ball involves considering its weight, balance (core), and surface (coverstock). The right combination of these factors, matching your playing style and the lane conditions, can significantly enhance your performance.

Are bowling shoes really necessary?

Yes, bowling shoes are specially designed to provide better slide control, balance, and comfort on the lanes. The different soles on each shoe accommodate the unique movements of a bowler, helping improve performance.

How important is the bowling community in a professional bowling career?

The bowling community plays a significant role in a professional bowling career. Building relationships within this community can provide a support network, mentorship, and friendships that can last a lifetime. The competition within the community also serves as a motivator to improve.

Does bowling require physical fitness?

Yes, professional bowling requires stamina for long tournaments, flexibility for the unique movements of the sport, and strength in the arms and legs for powerful, controlled delivery.

What is the mental aspect of bowling?

Bowling requires immense concentration, the ability to handle pressure, and mental resilience. Maintaining focus, handling success and failure with grace, and bouncing back from setbacks are all part of the mental game in bowling.