Left Handed Bowling

If you are left-handed, bowling creates challenges for you that right-handers don't face. Most bowling allies support right-handed bowlers by default.
left handed bowling ball

Bowling balls, shoes, and even the lanes themselves are all designed with the right-handed bowler in mind.

House bowling balls have finger holes that are drilled with a right-handed person in mind. House shoes are expected to be worn by right-handers and even the oil patterns on the lanes are set for right-handed bowlers.

Even the approach to the foul line is different for lefties.

Tips for Left-handed Bowlers

Male bowler standing on lane and poses with ball
Male bowler standing on lane and poses with ball

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to make bowling easier if you are left-handed. Mainly, you should research getting a left-handed ball, and shoes and learn to use the oil pattern to your advantage.

So… is Left-Handed Bowling Easier?

Wooden dummy doll with questioning face

Some people think that left-handed bowlers have an advantage because the left side of the lane tends to have a more consistent oil pattern.

Fewer left-handed bowlers mean that the left side gets less action, providing a more consistent surface.

I would say that this is only a slight advantage and it is dwarfed by the challenges that lefties face.

Left-Handed Bowlers Should Use the Right Side of the Lane

Looking down a lane at bowling alley

One way to help mitigate the challenges that lefties face is to bowl on the right side of the lane.

By using the boards on the right side of the lane, you can help keep your ball in play longer.

This will give you more time to adjust to any inconsistencies in the lane and still be able to pick up spares.

What is the Pocket for a Left-Handed Bowler?

Boy holds a ball at the lane in bowling alley

The pocket for a left-handed bowler is located on the right side of the lane. This is where the ball will tend to hook back towards the pins.

To find the pocket, start by throwing a few practice balls from different angles on the approach. Once you have a feel for where the ball is hitting the lane, you can start to adjust your aim.

Left-handed Bowling Balls

The center weight of a left handed bowling ball is different in a ball designed for a lefty, so if you try to bowl with a right-handed bowling ball, you’re not going to have your best game. 

The Best Bowling Ball for a Left-Handed Bowler

When you are choosing a bowling ball, you should keep a few things in mind. The weight of the ball, the size of the holes, and the coverstock are all important factors.

For a left-handed bowler, I would recommend a ball that is between 14 and 16 pounds. The size of the holes should be comfortable for your fingers, and the coverstock should be able to grip the lane without being too aggressive.

A good bowling ball will make a big difference in your game. If you are looking for a new ball, I would recommend the Brunswick Rhino. It is a great all-around ball that will work well for a left-handed bowler.

Is your kid a left-handed bowler? Well, be sure to get them only the best bowling ball.

Choosing a Left-Handed Bowling Ball

Check out these left-handed bowling balls now to see if you can up your game and your score.

How Left-Handed Balls are Different

For left-handed people, everything about bowling is a little different, including the shoes and balls they use.

There are two different ways that left-handed balls are different from regular balls. The first way is the thumb and finger hole spacing and their location on the ball. The second way is that the center weight is located differently on a left-handed ball.

A left-handed ball is different than a right-handed ball. The ring finger hole is behind the middle finger and leaves the ball last. The center weight is slightly in front of the thumb hole and slightly to the left.

If you’re a lefty, purchasing an undrilled bowling ball and having it drilled to your specific requirements is preferable to relying on house balls.

House Balls

Many colored balls for bowling at table to store
Many colored balls for bowling at table to store

Most bowling balls are designed for right-handed bowlers, and lefties may have trouble holding the ball or putting their fingers in the finger holes.

If you inquire about a left-handed ball at your favorite alley, you might be lucky enough to discover one that hasn’t been used much. Don’t be surprised if it’s in terrible shape.

If you have a used ball or received a right-handed ball as a gift, you can visit your local pro shop to have it plugged and re-drilled. This might be necessary to make the ball work for you.

Aside from using a different ball, different shoes, and reversing their basic approach and delivery, left-handed bowlers should experience no more problems than right-handed bowlers.

Thumbhole on a Left-handed Ball

Happy couple holding bowling balls in hands and have good time in the club

Since the thumbhole is on the right side of a left-handed ball, it can be difficult for some people to put their thumb in the hole.

Middle Finger Left-handed Bowling Ball

The middle finger hole is on the right side of a left-handed ball.

Ring Finger Bowling Ball

The ring finger hole is located behind the middle finger hole on a left-handed ball.

Left-handed Bowling Shoes

Bowling shoes stacked in cabinet

If you want to bowl well as a left-handed bowler, you should buy your own shoes. Shoes for left-handed bowlers have a special sliding pad on the right shoe and a traction pad on the left shoe. Right-handed bowling shoes are just the opposite.

Most bowling shoes are designed for right-handed bowlers, but some left-handed shoes are available. Bowling alley rental shoes are typically only made for sliding, not traction.

Invest in a pair of bowling shoes that fit you properly and have soles designed for your specific bowling style, whether more sliding or more traction.

If you are looking for bowling shoes, you should be able to find a pair that is specifically designed for left-handers. These shoes will have the proper sole and heel for a lefty.

One of the best things about bowling shoes is that they will last you a long time. As long as you take care of them, you should be able to use them for years.

When you are buying bowling shoes, make sure to buy a size that fits you properly. Bowling shoes should be snug but not too tight. You also want to make sure that the shoes have good arch support.

How to Hook a Bowling Ball for Left-handed Bowlers?

Hooking is when you spin the bowling ball into the pins to get better pin action and a better chance of getting a strike. You do this by throwing the ball into a pocket.

Left-handed bowlers need to choose their pocket wisely. The best pocket for a lefty is between the 1 and 3 pins, or between the 2 and 4 pins.

The ideal way to hook a bowling ball as a left-handed bowler is by using your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. You want to put your middle finger in the second hole from the top, your index finger in the third hole, and your thumb in the thumbhole.

The Approach

Playing bowling

Now that you know where to put the bowling ball, it is time for you to take an approach to the bowling ball.

To get the perfect hook, start by holding the bowling ball in your non-bowling hand. Keep your throwing hand and arms loose. Step up and move towards the bowling lane.

Swing the bowling ball back with your arm and propel it forward. Before you throw the ball, bring it to a low position just above your ankle while bending slightly.

Spinning the Fingers

The final few steps of your approach are the most important when it comes to making a hook. After you’ve brought the bowling ball to a lower angle, you need to make sure you use your fingers and thumb.

As a leftie, you will throw the bowling ball on the left side but spin your fingers towards the right, so the bowling ball comes back into the 1-2 pocket and gets you a strike.

You’re now going to slide your fingers out first, followed by your thumb at the right angle, causing the bowling ball to hook and knock down all of the pins for you.

Bowling as a Left-hander

Man playing bowling

As you can see, there are some definite advantages and disadvantages to being a left-handed bowler. The good news is that with a little bit of practice, you can overcome any obstacles that you may face.

If you are a left-handed bowler, you will need to make some adjustments in order to be successful. The first thing that you need to do is to purchase a ball that is designed for left-handed bowlers. You can find these balls at most pro shops.

The next thing that you need to do is to find a pair of bowling shoes that fit you properly. These shoes will have a sliding sole on the right shoe and a traction sole on the left shoe.

You will also need to practice your technique. The best way to do this is to find a coach or instructor who can help you.

With a little bit of practice and the proper equipment, you can be a successful left-handed bowler.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a little off the top to help me keep this website running. 

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