Ask Greg

Greg Gigliuk

2015 Alberta Open Singles Champion

Greg Gigliuk is a Central Alberta 5 Pin Bowlers Association coach with an enviable record in both coaching and competitive bowling giving him tremendous insight into the sport.

Greg is willing to answer your questions about any aspect of the game from league bowling through national championships, as well as offering mental conditioning tips.

Coaching accomplishments include two Canadian championships. In 1999 the Masters Men’s team took first place in Surrey, B.C., and in 2004 Greg coached the Youth Bowling Canada Junior Boys team to the gold in St. John’s, Newfoundland, followed by a third place finish the following year in Surrey, B.C.

From a competitive standpoint, Greg recorded a perfect game at the TSN Provincials in 2001, and has five Canadian championship gold medals in Open and Masters play.  In addition he has a high triple of 1,084 and high five game block of 1,628.  In 2015 he added the Alberta Open Singles Championship to his record.

Greg is a right handed bowler who when hampered by a shoulder injury, chose to bowl with his left arm with considerable success.

Please submit your questions to Greg


Should I try to throw a straight ball, or should I try to curve it?

I can tell you that most 5 Pin bowlers do have a slight curve (right to left – right hander) or backup (left to right – right hander).

The reason is two fold; one it puts what we refer to as finish on the ball that will help breaking up tight hits on the head pin.

The other is that this allows the bowler to be more consistent, the less curve the easier that it is to repeat.

This also makes it easier to adjust to different lane conditions (oily or dry).

I suggest that you stay with the less curve and practice your consistency.

At your present level a big key to a higher average will be hitting the middle more on your first ball and picking up your spares.

The big take away that I give to a lot of bowlers is that 5 Pin bowling is a game of tempo and not strength

Generally speaking a backup ball is easiest to control.

Assuming you are right handed , try this,
•        Hold your hand out in front of you with the palm up, as if you were letting go of a ball.
•        Now turn your wrist to the right – it doesn’t turn much.
•        Now try the same thing, turning your wrist to the left.  Probably you can turn it about three or four times as far as you could when moving to the right.

So throwing a backup by limiting your wrist movement will give you a more consistent delivery than a curve.

I am fairly new to league bowling and I bowl in two different houses and find that I score better in one house.

Talking to the manager of one centre I found that they oil the lanes the night before I bowl, which means the ball doesn’t move as much.

Bowling centres put oil on the lanes.

A lot of bowlers who bowl in more then one league a week will find their ball breaks differently, and don’t really know why they struggle from the one league to the other.

Oily lanes will make all the difference when it comes to how much the ball moves.

As the number of days since the application of oil increases, then the amount of break on a now dryer lane will increase.

How do I choose a proper bowling ball?


·        Size of your hands and your strength.

·        Whether or not you throw a ball with a lot of curve or hook

·        Type of lane conditions that you bowl on

·        The reaction of your ball with the pins


Most bowling balls come in two different sizes and weights:  4 3/4″ and 4 7/8″ and 3 lbs. 6 oz. and 3 lbs. 8 oz. 

Depending on the type of bowling ball you choose, you may be able to find a 5″ bowling ball with a weight of 3 lbs. 10 oz.

The rule for personal bowling balls for 5 pin is that the ball cannot be smaller than 4 3/4″ or larger than 5″. 

The weight must be 3 lbs. 7 oz. + or – 3 oz.

The average bowling ball that a bowling centre uses as house balls are 4 7/8″ in diameter and weigh 3 lbs. 8 oz.

If you have small hands and are not physically strong, then you may consider a bowling ball that is 3 lbs. 6 oz. and 4 3/4″ in diameter.  This would be preferable for younger children.

For the average person, using a 4 7/8″, 3 lbs. 8 oz. ball would suffice.


Once you have found the right weight and size, you will need to consider the composition of the bowling ball.

Most bowling centres use the harder, rubber ball as house balls because they are very durable.

The softer the composition, the more movement you will have on the ball when you throw it.

Avoid a softer ball if you typically throw a bowling ball that has a lot of hook or curve on it.

I would consider anything more than 2 feet of movement as a lot.

Examples of these types of balls are Soft Rolls, and balls made out of acrylic, such as Starline brand.

The harder the composition, the less the bowling ball will move or “break”, because it is not gripping to the lanes.

If you throw a bowling ball that breaks a lot, you should consider a ball with a harder composition.  This will help you control the amount of break on the ball.  Examples of these are the Scorpion Pro Rubber and the Paramount ball.


Different bowling balls react differently to different lane conditions.

A difference in lane conditions occur when a bowling centre oils or conditions their lanes.  If your bowling ball comes back with a ring of oil on it, then the lanes have probably been recently conditioned.

Typically bowling centres oil their lanes once a week. 

The oilier the lanes are, you will see less movement or break on the ball.  The drier the lanes are, the more movement you will see.

You may notice, if you bowl more than once a week, that your bowling ball reacts differently from one league to another.  This is due to the changing conditions of the lanes throughout the week.

This may be something that you need to consider when purchasing your bowling balls.

For the more serious player or for someone who wishes to participate in tournaments, you may need to purchase a second set of balls that would react differently than the other set. 

If you intend to buy a new set of balls, find someone using those balls already and borrow them for a couple of games to see if the size of the ball and the movement works for you.

Always good to have your own set of bowling balls when moving between centres.

Speak to your local proprietor to help you choose the right set.

How do I pick corner pins?

The most important thing to remember when attempting to pick corner pins is to throw the ball the same way you do when attempting to hit the middle.

Do not try to throw a ball with more or less curve when attempting to hit a corner pin.  This will cause inconsistency in your delivery. 

The best approach is to throw diagonally across the lane at the corner pin, always rolling the ball over the same spot on the lane.

“The Spot” refers to the arrow or marker found about 15 feet down the lane from the foul line which your ball needs to roll over to hit any pin on the lane.

If you are aiming at the right corner pin, move to the left hand side of the lane, then and walk directly towards your target.

Your target being the same spot 15 feet down the lane that you use to throw at the head pin.

After throwing a few balls at the corner, and still not picking the corner with consistency, move a little to the left or right until you find a consistent spot that picks the corner while rolling over your target on the lane.

Vice versa if you are aiming at the left corner pin.

Where is the proper point on the lane to approach and release the ball for a right handed person.

There is technically no proper point on the lane for a right hand bowler to approach and release the ball. 

The point of release should be in line with the target that you have chosen. 

That being said, I like to stand on the lane with my right arm and shoulder in line with the head pin. 

My thought is that if I keep everything straight then I should hit the head pin. 

From that point I make small adjustments to the left or right depending on if I am getting a lot of head pins

What are the dots at the foul line used for. How do the arrows come into play.

The arrows are meant to be used as targets, the thought is that it is easier to hit a target 15 feet in front of you then 60 feet which is where the pins are. 

The arrows are also used when lining up for spare shots, such as corner pins and chop offs.

A few bowlers use the dots at the foul line as their target when they release the ball.  I have tried it and I find that I do not follow through when I use this method as when I use the arrows 15 feet down the lane.  This is not a recommended method of delivery.

Can a pin be counted if it is knocked down from an out of the gutter ball ?

Once a ball has left the lane surface then it is deemed as out of play and cannot come back into play, so if it comes out of the gutter and hits a corner pin then it does not count.

What is the proper grip for a 5 pin bowling ball for the best control?

The recommended grip for a 5 pin ball is to have the ball on the finger tips with about enough room to place your forefinger between your palm and the ball.  By having the ball on your fingertips it will help with adding finish (rotation) that will result in better pin action.

When I release the ball, my follow-through is way-off to the right.  I try to keep my arm close to my body, and to follow through straight ahead, but my arm flies to the right. 

Can you offer any suggestions that might help me to correct this?

What I have found in a lot of bowlers is that they tend to decelerate on their follow through and therefore do not hit what they are aiming for. 

A tip that I give is slow your back swing down and make sure that your accelerating on your follow through.

I throw a straight ball, but leave one corner pin a lot lately, and my delivery goes left or right of the head pin each time, my average in ladies use to be 210 now its down to 170-175.

Am I throwing too hard?

Are you throwing the ball harder than you had when you were averaging 210?

There are a few reasons why the corner pins are standing especially since you said that you hit both sides of the head pin. 

One of them is we do not throw the ball with the same amount of rotation, we tend to steer the bowl towards the headpin instead of throwing it. 

One tip for this is to be aware of your follow through.  It is the rotation on the ball that that gets the better pin action.

Another reason is the centre that you bowl at may have changed the rubbers on the pins and that usually has a negative effect on pin action until the rubbers get broken in. 

The centre may be oiling the lanes different and therefore the reaction will be different.

An important thing is that you are sparing your corner pins when they occur.  Two corner pin spares a game can make a 30 point difference in your total score