The Different Types of Bowling Hooks Shots

Published: 09th April 2009
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Many people that are new to the game of bowling don't know about the many different hook shots that are out there. The stroker, the cranker and the helicopter are techniques that most seasoned bowlers use to bowl at their maximum level. When you see a bowler at the lanes throw a ball and it all of sudden turns into the middle of the lane similar to a curve ball in baseball it's most likely because they just threw a hook ball.

Hook Bowling

Straight balls are great if you're a beginner but they can limit your scores to the 160 - 180 range. When you're constantly throwing straight balls, you have to focus more on bowling perfectly the first time. The way to truly raise your scores is to change that straight ball of yours into a hook ball. In order to hook a bowling ball, put your thumb into the ball first and next the fingers. Your fingers are what is going to cause the amount of rotation on the ball and your thumb will control the direction of that rotation. Start with your thumb in the eleven o'clock position and try to keep it there all the way through your follow through. This will help you start to develop some of the rotation needed to hook a bowling ball.

A hook ball unlike a straight ball, curves after delivery. The bowlers hand comes from behind the ball rounding the side that makes the ball rotate sideways. The sideways rotation makes the ball go to the left or the right. There are three types of hook: the cranker, the stroker and the helicopter. Here they are:

1. The Stroker

Strokers often keep their shoulders square to the foul line and their backswing generally does not go much above parallel to the ground. This type of release reduces the ball's rate of revolution, thus decreasing its hook potential and hitting power. Strokers do not deliver the ball with as much power as crankers do, preferring instead a more elegant (if unspectacular) style of play. This is reflected in the timing of the approach: strokers reach the foul line just before the swing of the ball does.

2. The Cranker

Cranker: a cranker is a bowler who has very late timing. A cranker is a bowler who opens their shoulders to the lane.Crankers often use "late" timing, where the foot gets to the foul line before the ball. They often use a technique known as plant and pull , hardly using any slide on their final step and pulling the ball upwards for leverage.The cranker is different, using this technique, the ball reaches maximum revolution. This way more power is produced. The bowler stands with their feet to left hand side of the approach and then swings the ball out to the left hand of the approach.

3. The Helicopter

This is a very popular form of bowling in Asia. This technique originated in Taiwan where the lanes generally were in poor condition. When using this technique it is best to use a ball weighing between 10 - 12 lbs. Bring the fingers all the way round the top of the ball, as opposed to the hook where you bring the fingers round the sides. The ball travels straight down the lane but it spins like helicopter propellers as it travels. Once you master this technique, believe me when I say that you'll love it.

Basically just keep the position of your bowling ball low during approach, bend your knees slightly, cup your bowling ball all the way through and cock your elbow slightly, then deliver the bowling ball straight with your followthrough going towards the right (for righties) or towards the left (for lefties). Your final hand position should look like you just shook someone's hand. That's basically a delivery for slow ball speed and maximum hook. Your bowling ball should perform on it's own due to a correct release and it will definitely hook

Those are the techniques you can use to throw the different forms of hook balls available out there, so take advantage of them

Mike Schnell is a professional bowler, instructor, and all-around ballgame junkie. He is the director of popular blog BowlingTechniquesOnline.Com. Learn to bowl if not how to bowl better with Mike's help. Check out his blog for more info!

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