Bowling is one of the games in the world that families can enjoy without worrying about hurting someone. It is a great getaway thing that you can plan with your friends and family in your local bowling alley to enjoy a friendly game along with your favorite beverages. Another great thing about bowling is that there is no age limit on who can play and who cannot. A kid who can lift and throw the ball along the line to strike the pins is qualified to play without any issue.
But bowling is not all about friendliness and spending time doing an activity as a sub-product. Just like anything, when you start bowling, you get better as you play and learn several techniques to make sure you score more points than your friends. If you are naturally talented and get your heart set on making it to the pros, you need a lot of practice and learning to ace competitions and even earn prize money.
If we talk about bowling in cricket, it is about throwing a ball to the batsman. In reality, it is not that simple. Bowlers have devised many techniques to deceive the batsmen and to manipulate the trajectory as well as the behavior of the ball on the pitch. For instance, bowlers have successfully started and then mastered the “reverse swing” technique to ensure that they remain at the top of the food chain.
In pin bowling, one of the most successful techniques to score every time you throw the ball is called hooking. Just like a reverse swing, a bowler throws the ball in such a way that it swings a little bit along the way and gets to the point in the line where it can hit maximum pins.
The ball moves in a curving pattern unlike a straight one and ends up smashing throw the fencing pins.
It does not mean that the material of the balls and how they are made does not carry weight in the behavior of the ball on the line. In this article, we will discuss in detail some of the balls that are excellent to practice hooking in the bowling alleys.
But first, let us delve more into the hooking technique and give you a practical rundown on how it is done:
What Is Hooking?
Hooking is making the ball go in a curved path, unlike a straight path, so it has more force and a better angle to hit a strike. It is a common technique, used by both pros and amateurs, and it works just fine in almost all conditions.
When a player hooks a ball, it gives an edge to the player by hitting the pins with greater force and with an effective angle. Especially, it is useful for the amateurs who are still new in the sport. The faults in their precision can be minimized by using hooking.
Since the development of the track and the ball, there are many areas in pin bowling where hooking is not effective now. The reasons vary from unfavorable floor to the speed of the line which hinders the balls from developing a hook along the way.
Now, here is a complete guide on how to develop this technique. It will show you how to manipulate the course of the ball once it hits the floor and rolled toward the pins. All you need to do is practice!
Choosing The Line In The Lane
In a conventional bowling house and conditions, there are around 8 to 10 boards that are dry as compared to the heavily oiled and slicked lines in the middle of the lane. For the success of your hooking, these can act both friendly and as a foe. By making a judgment on the amount of oil and how your ball could move once it hits the lane, you should keep your feet a little to the left of the lane for a strong and composed stance.
This is a preliminary condition. You can decide your point of the stand once you are familiar with how to make your hook with the ball.
Pro Tip: On the middle dot, approach the lines with your right foot and test how much the lanes are taking the hook. To keep the alignment, you need to keep your feet together all the time.
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Mind The Foul Line
The way a player approaches the lane to throw the ball differs from players to players. Some take a 2-step approach while others go for a 4-step approach. So, whatever course you take, you need to make sure you end up a little outside the foul line before you are ready to throw the ball. Once you are there, throw the ball at one of the arrows on the lanes. The simplest way not to miss the arrow is by aiming for the dots that are preceding the arrows.
For this to work, you need to aim in the neighborhood of the second arrow on the right side and then let the ball roll a few boards from the gutter and then develop a hook on the boards with little to none oil.
As discussed in the last section, the approach is a subjective matter. But for hooking, a 4-step approach is recommended. This is how you make the swing:
For the right-handed players – push the ball off while you are stepping the first point with your right foot.
When you are at your second step, get the ball parallel to your ankle and start bending on your knees.
At your third step, try to be at the top of your backswing.
By the end of the slide, bring the ball back through and release!
Keep Your Arm Straight During The Swing
A bad angle can throw your ball off the right trajectory which could result in poor scores. So, when you are swinging, make sure you keep your arm straight all the time. It should not be tucked too far away or too far behind when you release the ball on the lanes. When you can adjust your push away, it is becoming too easy to keep your arm straight.
There are other ways and styles to make the swing like bending at your waist. Some professionals use this style to gain momentum before they release the ball. But it could be tricky for a new player to handle so many movements at the start.
Also, keep in mind that the ball should develop a hook around the dry area of the lane. Until the ball is not there, you should make sure that it goes in a straight line. There is an exception for some boards but in the end, this is more of a preference and personal style thing.
Timing The Release
Hooking is a technical thing and there are so many things that should be done right to create a perfect hook. The perfect time for releasing the ball is another thing that you should pay attention to. While dropping the ball from the backswing, your palm should be underneath the ball, facing north. When the ball is at your ankles, around the point of release, the palm should face you while releasing the ball. This is the same as throwing an underhand spiral in American Football.
Just like setting the stage for the moment, you release the ball, the after effect will also be perfect to adjust with the shock. The best way to do it is to let your arm go as far as it goes with the release gesture and lift your rear foot with its sole away from your body. As you can picture it from the tv and professional competitions, this is how players do it.
Once you are done with the whole regimen, all you need to do is practice and taking notes from the slight misses, if there are any. There are a lot of things that would require your work like the footwork, the right moment to throw the ball, placement of your feet, etc. Also, make sure you study the lane pattern and floor conditions in the alley you play most of the time. It is important to distinguish the oily boards from the dry ones and use them in your favor.
Top Bowling Balls For Hooking
Now, we will discuss the top bowling bowls that can help in developing the hook.
In the hindsight, it may seem like a simple task to choose a bowling ball. But there are so many factors that come into consideration when you are looking for a ball that could develop a perfect hook. The hook potential in a ball can help you manipulate its course before it hits the line and gets you a perfect strike. There are several options that you can choose from the market, but we will go through the ones with excessive hooking potential.
Coverstock is the outer layer of the ball that makes it behave in a certain way and define its movements. Coverstocks are made of different materials that vary in their properties.
Following are the common materials that are used in the preparation of coverstocks:
As stated earlier, different coverstocks perform differently once they hit the floor!
When two surfaces come into contact, there will be friction. When we think about hooking, the more friction a coverstock experiences in its contact with the lane, the more hooking potential it has. Apart from the coverstock material, the weight of the block is another factor that you need to consider to develop the perfect hook.
To get you in a perfect place to manipulate the course of the ball, we have shortlisted some of the balls with maximum potential for hooking. So, without further ado, let us take up each ball and see what they are made of.
Hammer Black Widow Legend
Hammer is the new family member in the Black Widow family. It is a great addition to the family of balls that hit pins quite hard. One of the great attributes about Hammer is that it is ideal for the heavy oil lanes. As you can remember from the earlier sections, a hook develops in a dry line. This is where Hammer shines because it can still manipulate its course in the oil field. So, this is your ball if the lanes in your nearby alley are heavily oiled.
If you are planning to take up other players of your alley by surprise this season, this ball has all the potential to give you special leverage to create a lasting hooking technique. On top of that, many professional players have given amazing reviews about this ball after playing intensively with it. Rest assured it will be in great hands once you take it out for a spin.
This ball is built to last and there is so much thought that went into it to make it a durable package. It features a Gas Mask that is wrapped in with Hybrid NBT coverstock that has a 1000 grit Abarlon finish.
The obvious reason we chose this ball over others is its ability to manipulate the sheer friction and turn it into the perfect hook you are looking for. On the other side, if you are looking for a ball to try your game on dry lanes, Hammer Black Widow would not work on them. When you take into the price that you are paying for this monster, it is a total bargain!
Extreme Hooking Potential
Revered by elite PBA players
Not a great ball on dry lanes
Dv8 Pitbull Bite
It is a great piece of engineering that does not shy out to perform on the lane all the time. It is quite a performer in the already well-received Pitbull lineup that offers supreme performance on heavy oil lanes without breaking a sweat. The name does pay homage to the fierce dog breed and bite even the middle lines with a jaw-breaking bite.
As far as the composition of this bully goes, it comes with a low RG asymmetric core composite fang coverstock with 1500 grit SiaAir micron pads. Loaded with high-end features like these, it is no wonder that this ball rules the central lines, even in the heavily-oiled lanes. The asymmetric core works its magic in both mildly to mediocre oiled lanes.
The ball rolls over to the goal like a dream because of its unique construction. The low RG of 2.486 with a differential of 0.055. the high friction produced at the point of impact makes this ball a dream to play hook with. The best-selling point of this beast is that it comes in five different sizes, from 12 pounders to 16lbs. This enables the bowlers from every age and size segment to enjoy playing with this ball.
For all the good stuff, you pay a hefty price but it is worth it. When you are looking for a premium experience, it is hardly a surprise to pay the top dollar. Just keep in mind that this is one of the best productions by the house of Dv8!
Superior Hooking Potential
A beast on highly-oiled lanes
Five size variants to choose from
Price is on the expensive side
Hammer Rip’d Solid
If you are wondering about your under-average performance on tricky lanes, this ball will save the day for you. It is one of the superb members of the Hammer family that do not disappoint and always provides on time. When it comes to the nature of the bowling balls, this is more on the aggressive side and manufacturers have done a great job with it.
This ball comes with Hammer’s latest RIP’D with flex-resin as an additive, along with ceramix surfacing process and carbon fiber outer core. This mil-grade core is attached with a long-lasting Aggression Solid CFI coverstock. The core is asymmetric which gives it a big advantage on the oil lanes. The result is catastrophic for the pins!
To get a handsome length and angle to the player of the breakpoint, the Rip’d Solid comes with a low RG with a high differential. This ball comes in five different size variants which is a big plus because you can get one that matches your playing style. Also, the color variants are three, including blue, black, and orange.
On heavy oil lanes, this ball is a complete monster for hooking. You will find excellent mid-lane traction along with an unrelenting roll down the lane. This allows it to go with an extreme hook and almost no effort at all.
It is a budget-friendly model, so it is ideal for those who do not want to spend too much on a pinball. Rip’d Solid does not come pre-drilled but once you are done drilling holes in it, you will enjoy every time you throw a hook with it.
Extremely reliable core and coverstock
Offers superb midline traction
Unmatched for heavy oil lanes
Does not go well on dry lanes
With its new dimensional design and superior hooking power, Track Alias provides impeccable control and movement to your game without much effort. This versatile ball is one of the best that Track has ever made. The awesome engineering that went into this makes it a favorite for all types of lanes, which is a great plus when you compare it to the other candidates on this list.
The coverstock is Prime Hybrid with Alias’ signature core and has 500/2000 Abralon finish. The main feature that makes this ball stands out from the crowd is how it performs extremely well in both dry as well heavily oiled lanes. You can create a lot of friction and multiple angles by creating hooks with this beast in the alley.
Track Alias is a must for those who are aggressive players on heavy lanes. It has unending hooking potential but it requires a favorable condition to do its magic.
When we talk about the variants, this ball comes in four different specifications, ranging from 12lbs to 16lbs. So, this is a natural winner for advanced players who compete on regional and national levels. For the players that have a high rev rate, this is a great companion for both house shots and sports patterns.
All great things about Alias aside, this is an expensive piece. Now, for those who are still on a budget, it could be a tough decision. But you need to keep in mind that this ball makes it up when it comes to bang for your buck.
Amazing Hooking Potential
Versatile (good for all lane conditions)
Price is steeper when compared to other options
Things To Consider In Hooking Balls
Like all things engineered, the behavior and performance of these balls depend a lot on the things that make them. as far as the constituents of bowling balls are concerned, you need to make sure that these parts of the balls are done right. Otherwise, no matter how much time and energy you put into your hooking technique, the ball won’t roll and hook as it is supposed to do.
Following are the important things:
Bowling is a fun sport that you can enjoy without too much competition. There are certain techniques and tips that you can learn to ace your game and compete with your friends. Hooking is one of them and we have gone through in detail how you perfect this technique easily. One of the most important factors about mastering this technique is the quality of the ball. We have gone through balls of multiple brands with different weights and prices so that you have the best one to choose from from the crowd.
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