Understanding Today's Game as a Senior Bowler

Whether you’re a senior just getting back into the sport of bowling, or a senior who has bowled through all the changes the game has offered, we’ll get you set up with what you need to know to remain competitive.

What’s Changed

Short answer: everything. The lane surface, bowling ball surface, lane transition and how bowling balls are fitted.

With all of these changes, it’s easy to see how a lifelong bowler, or one that is returning to the game, can get frustrated.

Don’t worry though, will get you back to competing the way you once did.

What to Work On

With aging comes aches and pains. Sometimes this limits seniors from achieving a fundamentally sound finish position. It causes seniors to fall off the shot and miss their target.

Balance, accuracy and leverage are the key components to a great finish position.

Pat Costello will walk you through how to achieve this, beginning without the ball and without the lane. She’ll set you up against a wall and you’ll see how to achieve a proper finish position.

Next, she’ll walk you through the approach without a ball, slowing the game down for better understanding of the finish position.

And finally, she’ll teach you how to achieve leverage, once again, without a ball. She demonstrates this with a simple folding chair.

Why are these drills conducted without a ball? Because a bowling ball is heavy and it takes a lot of energy to use. By utilizing lighter workouts, you’ll have more energy to throw the ball when it counts.

Equipment Choices

Has this scenario happened to you? You’re out there for league night and you see younger bowlers rev it up and you flash back to a time when that was you. It still can be!

Going out and buying the most aggressive ball on the market, however, is not going to get it done. The key is to match up.

Matching up has everything to do with the bowling ball, ball speed and ball surface. If these are out of line, your chances of stinking diminish.

Let’s go back to ball choice. The way seniors perceive bowling balls now can be slightly skewed because of your history in the game.

A weaker bowling ball can hook just as much as a stronger bowling ball. Think of it like this, a stronger bowling ball will begin to hook earlier and a weaker bowling ball will begin to hook later.

Keep in mind the three phases a ball must go through for proper ball motion:

  • skid through the front part of the lane
  • hook through the mid lane and
  • roll down lane

Seniors often combine hook and roll into one phase because that is the way the game was once taught.

In order to achieve proper roll, many seniors are moving down in ball weight. You’re probably thinking, a lighter ball will affect your carry. Occasionally you might get robbed, but it is something to consider to improve your game.

Use these tips to enjoy the game while upping your average at the same time.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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29 Responses to “Understanding Today's Game as a Senior Bowler”

  1. Rodrigo Mayo

    I am 58 years old, just started bowling last summer league. my average is 118 and i am using a 15 lbs. bowling ball. winter league average 132 , just throwing straight ball. My question is How do you hook a ball? need help on my average too. thank you.

  2. Herbert Lorenz

    Age 85 and finding 13 lb ball hard to handle. Ball speed around 9-10 mph

  3. Mark Richmond

    67 year old back to bowling after 2 1/2 year layoff for hip replacement. Used to carry over 200 and started very slowly. Now up to 195 average and I feel very good. Go to the gym etc. Feel as good as I did in early 50's. But understanding bowling layouts and coverstocks and how to adjust to "carry down" seems such a challenge. What do I purchase to get through the back ends without skidding. Sorry, but as long as I have bowled on and off since 1968 I never really grasped well the different types of balls for an arsenal. I am pretty much a tweener. Hope my qiestion makes sense! LOL

  4. Byron Hagler

    71 years old bowling in a league. Average 180. Having issues with speed and carry. Using 14lb. ball . Went to a 13 lb house ball in a practice and averaged 181 and felt like I was more consistent hitting my marks and spares. Wonder if that is a wake up call about what I SHOULD be doing all the time.

  5. Donna Cagle

    How do I get these?

  6. Clint Vogel

    I am down to 14 lb ball . I had heart surgery . Went to a 12lb 12 miles an hour. Still got to much hook.

  7. Robert

    The lanes where I bowl are to dry on the outside mostly between the six or seventh board. there needs to be more oil at this area.

  8. John Kirby

    Need to stop pulling to the left!

  9. Howard R Stieber

    I could really use some help!!!!

  10. Michael Chesson

    I have always rolled the ball in the 14 mph area. I don’t have enough speed to get the ball to skid so it uses its energy way too early and has no power when it hits.