According to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), bowling is a rather common recreational activity for seniors and retirees. Whether you have been bowling throughout your life, or are just starting, you will find it or be an intriguing sport.
To begin with, you need to choose the right bowling ball for seniors. Secondly, you should understand how it works. Remember to stretch before bowling and use the right posture to avoid some of the common bowling-related injuries.
Throughout this guide, you will learn how to choose a bowling ball for seniors, how to warm up for the sport, as well as where to look and aim while bowling. The guide also has several tips to help you achieve perfect strikes with every throw.
Whether experienced or not, senior bowlers need to use the right ball. To overcome the impairments that come with old age, seniors may need to alter their posture and movement for a smoother delivery action.
Combine proper timing, speed, approach, pin-action, an follow through to bowl a strike with every throw. For enhanced consistency, always look at the pins while bowling.
Top Bowling Tips for Seniors
1.Bend Your Knees
As a senior bowler, you should consider bending the knees just before you attempt the forward stride. This bending action helps to lower the body nearer to the playing surface. This way, you can ensure that the bowl is not bumped on delivery.
In some cases, you may find it necessary to take a long forward stride for the bowl will travel the required distance along the green. The length of this stride is very important and you also need to worry about the speed of your arm as you deliver the bowl. This is much better than trying to compensate with a too long forward stride.
2.Protect Wrist and Fingers
Wrists and fingers can often becomes less supple as your age advances, especially if you are suffering from arthritis. If so, you need to reconsider your grip strategy. Try altering the position of the thumb slightly in order to hold the bowl comfortably and without undue strain.
If you are having problems, consult a bowls coach. Such a professional can advise you on the adjustments you need to make for a smoother delivery action without unnecessary strain. And if you have carpal tunnel syndrome and are considering getting surgery so that you can continue bowling, do check out what to expect after carpal tunnel surgery.
3.Watch Your Back When You Swing
Is the height of your back swing becoming short thus slowing the speed of the forward swing? Try to make a swifter, free, and loose back swing motion so your swing momentum will lengthen your swing arc and create more natural bowling ball speed.
Be sure to keep your arm muscles loose and relaxed during your swing motion. Relaxed muscles move more quickly than tense or controlled muscles.
4.Stretch Before You Bowl
Since bowling is primarily considered a game than an exercise, it is easy to forget that you actually exercising when you bowl. To avoid bowling injuries, seniors need to stretch before bowling. While stretching, try to work the arms, shoulders, hips, wrists, and leg muscles.
To achieve this, you can carry out some of the common stretches, including side and forward lunges, overhead shoulder stretch, side to side neck stretch, and wrist extension. In addition to static stretches, you should to mix in some dynamic stretching.
This includes stretches that allow you to actively move the body, such as leg pendulums and arm circles. Try to hold each stretch for about 20 seconds and be sure to work both sides.
Is Bowling Good Exercise for Seniors?
Bowling is a competitive sport that attracts a warm social camaraderie. Not only is the game gratifying, but also allows seniors to meet new friends and socialize. This goes a long way in alleviating stress and anxiety among the old folks.
Additionally, bowling is considered to be an anaerobic type of exercise—much like walking with free weights. Seniors may not need to burn calories, but the exercise can help them work the ligaments, joints, muscles, and tendons in the arms and legs.
How To Choose The Best Bowling Ball For Senior Players?
Unless you intend to bowl more frequently or are on a committed league, you probably do not need to bug your own bowling ball. Even so, you still need to choose the right ball from the selection of bowling balls offers by the alley. Actually, the first step to bowling is knowing how and which ball to choose.
In most cases, it is advisable for older people to use a bowling ball that features a polyester coverstock. If you are a beginner in the game, use a comparatively light ball that has a low hook potential and symmetrical core.
The right bowling ball for seniors will also depend on whether you want to throw straight or use a hook. To help you make the right choice, here are some of the things you should take into consideration:
Bowling Ball Weight
Is it better to use a heavy or light bowling ball? Basically, the heavier the balling ball used, the more the movement or pin action it can achieve. While this is the case, it is not advisable to just go for the heaviest ball available. If you are a beginner, start with a bowling ball that weighs less than 10 percent of your body weight.
For instance, a person weighing 140 pounds should start with a bowling ball weighing 14 pounds or less. If you are concerned about straining muscles or grip strength, start with 2 to 3 pounds lower than your calculated maximum.
Also referred to as the drilling type, the grip type can affect your release significantly. The right grip type will mainly depend on your hand. Some of the common grip types include:
This trip type is suited for the more advanced bowlers. As opposed to traditional drilling, finger tip grip is designed to increase the ball side roll. With this grip type, the finger holes are spread further, that they are in a conventional grip.
With such a design, the ring and middle fingers can only enter the finger holes to a depth of about ¼ inch. The depth of the thumb is not affected in this grip type. This drilling allows the thumb to exit the ball first. As a result, you will find it easier to add side roll to your ball upon release.
The amount of spin or side roll achieved with the finger tip grip mainly depends on the number of revolutions you achieved. As a result, a senior bowler may achieve a lower revolution rate as compared to a younger bowler.
A conventional grip has the holes drilled closer together, allowing the fingers to fit in all the way down to the middle. This drilling helps grip the ball more firmly, hence is the preferred grip for newer bowlers and seniors. The grip is mainly used in community balls or “house” balls that are free to use at most bowling centers.
This drilling is meant to ensure that the thumb and two fingers exit the ball at the same time. Throwing a straight ball is more suited for seniors or persons with a physical impairment. This being the case, the conventional grip is the preferred ball grip type for senior bowlers.
With the conventional grip, you should go for a urethane bowling ball as the cover does not react much with the lane conditions. This way, it is easier for the ball to go straight once released.
If the senior has prior experience in bowling, advanced performance lines that include reactive resin coverstock and asymmetrical core types would be perfect. However, you a ball with such features requires more effort and activity to control.
If you are inexperienced or are not capable of more subtle and complex movements, get a bowling ball that has a polyester coverstock and a pancake or symmetrical core. Such a ball does not require much effort and is easier to control.
For a senior bowler, you will almost always need a ball with a low hook potential. Such a ball is easier to throw in a straight line. Most senior bowlers are more comfortable with a ball that does not require much fitness—as is the case with the performance-grade balls.
In this regard, it is advisable to choose a ball with a high gloss polish, a polyester coverstock, and a high RG rating.
How Do You Bowl a Strike Every Time?
To bowl a strike every time, you need to execute a perfect throw. This means that you need to do things in a specific manner. Rather than putting your fingers in the holes of the ball and lifting it directly out of the return rack, use two hands to pick your ball up to prevent strain.
Wait until all the balls have come to a stop before picking the ball up to avoid crushing your fingers. You may also find it helpful to hold your bowling ball with two hands as you approach the lane. For enhanced stability, it is advisable for senior bowlers to wear wrist support.
Discussed below are several tips to help you bowl a strike with every throw:
Each step of your foot should match up with a specific part of your arm swing and release. You may find it helpful to practice your timing without your ball. To do this, start just in front of the boundary line and step back four or five steps. This way, you will determine where you should start your walk each time you get ready to bowl.
Then take a step or two forward and move your hand forward—as if you had the ball—and then let it naturally swing back and then forward again. You should do all this while counting your steps forward. Practice a few times to find your rhythm.
Get the timing right, and you’re off to a great start
Hand and Wrist Position
Keep your hand and wrist strong through your entire shot. If you throw a hook, turn your hand and wrist as the ball comes forward from your backswing until you release the ball with your hand in the handshake position. If throw a straight ball, make sure to keep your hand and wrist straight through your release.
Now you need to out everything together—the timing, hand-and-wrist positioning, steps, speed, and power—to execute a clean approach. If your approach is off, your throw will probably be off as well.
Finish your shot by throwing the ball down the lane, passing it through your ankles. Then bring your arm up to at least shoulder height to complete the shot. Keep your hand in the handshake position or palm up, depending on how you threw the ball.
The ideal bowling ball speed is about 16 miles per hour. However, you can consider the appropriate speed to be whatever it takes to knock down all the pins down.
Bowling is mainly about the strength, angles, and speed. Find the right combination of all three, and you get perfect pin action and the strike you have worked so hard for.
Where Should I Look When Bowling?
To look at the pins or arrows when bowling is essentially a personal preference. However, you should not look at the pins, if at all you are worried about consistency. Instead, you should look at the bowling lane arrows. There are seven target arrows that run across, about 15 feet down the lane.
Instead of the pins, focus on these arrows to improve your bowling consistency. This is mainly because the pins are a whole lot farther away (60 feet). He arrows, on the other hand, are only 15 feet away. You will find it a lot easier to hit a target that is closer to you.
This strategy is often referred to as spot bowling—as you are aiming at a spot on the lane rather than the pins situated towards the end.
Where do You Aim When Bowling?
Now that you know where to look while bowling, what should you aim at? Basically, you need to aim at the arrows you are looking. The right arrow to aim at will depend on the type of bowling you are employing. It will also depend on whether you are left-handed or right.
At the basic level, it is advisable to aim at the center arrow. This will line you up with the center or head pin—assuming that you roll a straight ball that does not curve. If you are bowling with a hook, aim at an arrow farther to the side you roll from—to the right for right-handed bowlers or left for the left-handed bowlers.
Note: Hitting the head pin with your bowling ball dead on will lead to a frustrating split. To avoid this, shoot to hit the pocket instead.
How Do You Aim Straight When Bowling?
To throw a perfect straight shot, keep your bowling hand directly underneath the ball and your wrist straight. The main difference between a straight shot and a hook shot is that you keep your hand straight all the way through the backswing and the release of the ball.
As the ball comes forward, release it onto the lane when it reaches your ankle, keeping your hand straight and palm up the entire time.
Bowling is a preferred recreational activity for elderly persons in the country. While bowling is comparatively easy, you need to overcome certain challenges that come with old age. For instance, you need to stretch key muscles before bowling to avoid bowling injuries.
With this guide, you should be able to aim and hit a perfect strike with every throw. The guide will also help you achieve bowling consistency and choose the right bowling ball for seniors.