Most myths have a semblance of truth to them, and that's no different in bowling. However, many people believe certain things to be absolute truths when that's not the case. Here are six of bowling's most common myths, and the full truth of each explained.
All the top bowlers - professionals, top amateurs, collegiate and recreational - throw a hook. There's a perfectly logical reason for this: throwing a hook increases the chance to consistently strike. But does that mean any bowler who throws a hook is automatically better than a bowler who doesn't? A lot of people share the perception that a bowler who throws a hook is to be feared in competition. How much truth is there to that statement?
Except in rare cases in which pins deflect oddly and knock down the head pin from behind, you have to hit the head pin with your ball to get a strike. In fact, many people will tell you all you have to do to get a strike is hit the head pin - the rest will take care of itself. If you've ever bowled a single game in your life, you know this is not a universal truth. Does hitting the head pin guarantee you a strike?
Something that can apply to all sports, or even other aspects of life, is the perception you can improve immediately simply by buying the newest, best equipment. Will buying a new pair of bowling shoes make your approach better? Will adding a new bowling ball to your arsenal turn you into a strike-throwing machine? How much better can you get at bowling by simply upgrading your equipment?
Imagine yourself sitting in the bowling alley on the first night of league play. You have one ball, if any, and you look up to see a guy with two large bowling-ball cases on wheels, each holding three balls. Are you intimidated? This man owns six bowling balls, and therefore he must be a tremendous bowler, right? That's the perception. How much truth is there to it?
One of the longest-running bowling myths deals with how easy it must be to become a pro bowler. With a maximum score of 300, anyone at any time can bowl a great game, then compare it to the scores of the pros on TV that week, often favorably. If you bowl a 250 in league play and the winning pro score is 220, you would've defeated that guy by 30 pins, right? There are a lot of things in play here that suggest otherwise. Does bowling one good game mean you can be a pro?
In any level of competitive bowling, the maximum allowable weight for a bowling ball is 16 pounds (35.2 kilograms). For a lot of people, particularly men with an I-can-do-anything attitude, that means you have to use a 16-pound ball. The perception is the heavier the ball, the easier it is to knock down pins and consistently throw strikes. Maybe. No matter how heavy the ball is, you still need to be able to throw it properly. Does it make sense to throw a 16-pound ball if it's too heavy for you?