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How to Become a Professional Bowler

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Martin Banks

Most of us bowl for fun. It’s an activity both young and old can participate in, and it’s a chance to socialize and enjoy casual dining with friends. It’s an opportunity to wear a wacky shirt, maybe even one with your name stitched on it. The rental bowling shoes are always good for a laugh at you or your friends’ expense. Clown jokes abound and fun is had by all. Competition doesn’t get too fierce.

PBA League: Quarter Finals - Detroit

Everyone gets a strike now and then, or even has a hot streak where they get a few. However, maybe you are not just a good bowler, but a great one. Maybe you take it seriously every time and consistently get scores in the 200s. If a perfect 300 isn’t something that will only happen once in your lifetime, perhaps you can make a career out of your bowling skills.

Your main goal is to consistently beat your competition and always end your game with a high score. That sounds like a good start. Here are a few other things you need to know before you pursue it further.

Buy the Right Shoes

If you want to be a pro, don’t start off at a disadvantage by skimping on equipment. Buy the best bowling shoes for you. When you bowl at an alley, you tend to take whatever shoes they give you. For casual bowling this is fine, but if you want to be serious about your game, it would be best to spend some money and take the time to find the shoe that will give you an advantage.

Bowling shoes tend to come in some funny colors. Pick a pair that suits you. If you have a flamboyant personality, then a shoe with several different bold colors might work well. Maybe you enjoy the compliments and jeers from opponents. If you don’t want the shoes to distract from your game, pick out earth tones or grays.

Make sure there is padding in the tongue and collar of the shoes. Otherwise, they will be uncomfortable and you may get blisters after repeated use.


There are actually different shoes for right- and left-handed throwers. The basic difference is that the felt is placed under the shoe of the dominant hand for sliding. The other shoe has a surface to provide more traction. Particularly if you are left handed, you need to ensure you have the proper shoes.

Make sure the heel of the shoe has adequate padding, and that the toe area is wide enough for your feet. Alley rentals are made to fit the masses. You need to make sure you have shoes that fit your feet and serve your needs.

Get a Good Ball

Bowling balls are made of several different materials. Their surface, or coverstock, is what really matters. This surface interacts with the lane and generates friction. Depending on how you bowl, any number of materials may suit your needs. Most pros recommend a reactive resin ball, which gives you the most hook potential and friction in heavier lane oil.


Like any other tool you may use, a bowling bowl needs to be properly maintained so it can give you your best game possible. At the very least, wipe your ball down with a cotton cloth after every throw. Wiping it removes any particles or oil that may cause even the most minor of deviations in the roll. After each game, spray and clean your ball with a grease-cutting commercial cleaner of your choice.

If you notice signs of wear, it may be time to resurface your ball. For this, you will need a quality sanding agent, such as 3M Scotch-Brite pads. Start with a coarser grit, and reduce the size, depending on how smooth you need your ball to be.

Make sure to have a big bucket of water handy to keep your sanding area wet, in order to prevent damaging your ball. Finish with a good towel and quality ball polish. You will figure out how often you need to do this, but after 100 games or so on average, your ball will need a touchup.

Join the Professional Bowlers Association

Hang out with pros in order to be a pro. To be a member of the PBA, you need to score a 200 or better in your current league and you must have played at least 36 games in that particular league. You don’t have to do quite as well if you played in a United States Bowling Congress league. A score of 190 will make you eligible for the PBA.

It’s not easy to be a professional bowler. You can’t just have a good game one day — you have to be consistent and able to score high no matter the lane conditions. You need to handle the pressure of competing with other excellent bowlers and face the reality that a game may be settled by as little as a point or two.

If you love to bowl, keep at it. That’s the best way to get better. If you don’t qualify for the PBA, focus on domination the local competition until you do.

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