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Staying in the Pocket: More Strikes and Easier Spares

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When your bowling ball hits the pocket, you rarely get less than an 8 count on the scoreboard. Hitting the pocket on your first shot doesn’t always lead to a strike, however, it does make for more manageable single and multiple pin spares.

In this premium video, Scott Pohl, owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains good bowling ball choices and lane play adjustments that will get to the pocket and keep you there.


When making any adjustment in bowling during competition, you should only make an adjustment if you know that you’ve fundamentally thrown a good shot. The result may not be what you want, but you now know it’s the lane creating a problem not you.

Hold yourself accountable and make moves off of good fundamental shots that result in undesirable ball motion and pin count.

Bowling Ball Selection

Start with your benchmark ball. This is your go-to bowling ball that you depend on wherever you bowl. If this bowling ball isn’t getting to the pocket consistently for you, one choice you have is to make a ball change. This begs the question: which bowling ball should you switch to?

To decide, you have to observe when and where on the lane your bowling ball is beginning to hook and how it is rolling through the pins. If you need more right-to-left motion down the lane because your bowling ball is not hooking enough or skidding past the breakpoint to roll through the pins properly, you’ll switch to a weaker bowling ball.

Stay in the Pocket 1

If you need your bowling ball to hook earlier down the lane providing less right-to-left motion in the backend, you’ll switch to a stronger or more aggressive bowling ball.

Stay in the Pocket 2

Lane Play Adjustments Without Switching Bowling Balls

If your bowling ball is hooking too much and going through the nose, move your feet and target left to get the bowling ball to roll in more oil before hitting the friction downlane. The ball will travel farther down the lane before hooking and will get you back into the pocket.

Stay in the Pocket 3

If your bowling ball is not hooking enough, meaning it’s not making the correct turn into the pocket and coming up light, move your feet and eyes right to get out of the higher volume of oil.

Stay in the Pocket 4

Check out “Lane Surface: Wood, Synthetic and Ball Choice” and “Breakpoint: How To Get Lined Up in Bowling” for more lane play lessons.

Staying in the Pocket: More Strikes and Easier Spares Join National Bowling Academy to continue watching for $9.00 per month / $102.00 per year