Common Bowling Techniques and Styles

Man Bowling
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If you've ever watched even a few minutes of bowling at any level, you know there are no two bowlers who throw the ball exactly alike. The best in the world share a few common traits, but just because one bowler looks smooth and another looks like he could collapse at any moment doesn't mean they both can't succeed.

There are several different categories of bowling styles, into which we can try to place a bowler. This matters for anyone trying to improve his or her game, as identifying one's style is helpful in figuring out which aspects of one's game can most help foster improvement.

Here are some of the most common bowling styles and a professional bowler who represents them.

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Power Strokers

Pete Weber at the State Farm Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational
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The power of a cranker and the smooth release of a stroker combine to define a power stroker. PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber has used this style for years, throughout all the equipment revolutions, to maintain his spot near the top of the sport.

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Norm Duke at the 2013 Chris Paul PBA League All-Stars Invitational Bowling Tournament
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Bowlers with a smooth, precise delivery are referred to as strokers. Like Weber, Norm Duke is a Hall of Famer who's been able to keep up with the many changes in the game by mastering his style.

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Sean Rash at the State Farm Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational
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Bowlers who use a lot of wrist action to put a high number of revolutions and power into their shots are referred to as crankers. 2012-2013 PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash is one of the most successful crankers on the PBA Tour.

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Bowlers who rotate the ball on a vertical axis are called spinners. There aren't many strict spinners on the PBA Tour, although some bowlers have the ability to spin the ball when the lane conditions call for it. PBA Hall of Famer and PBA50 star Tom Baker is one of the best.

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Mika Koivuniemi

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Bowlers who combine elements of cranking and stroking are known as tweeners. Mika Koivuniemi, for example, approaches the lane much like a stroker, but puts a lot of rotation on the ball, resembling a cranker.

Watch Now: How to Determine Your Bowling Style