Ask Men’s Fitness: “Bowling’s a cool thing to do on a date. How can I make my game a little more impressive?” – Bart S., Antelope, Oregon

Yeah, there’s nothing like a gutter ball to ruin a guy’s date-night mojo. So try these tips from certified bowling coach Cheryl Smith:

1) Pick the heaviest ball you can handle.
It’ll swing better and knock down more pins, not ricochet off like a lighter ball. Most guys need at least 14 pounds; women, at least 10. Also, use the one with the smallest holes you can fit in.

2) Hold it right.
Pick the ball up with two hands; put your middle and ring fingers into it, then your thumb. Bend your elbow at hip height, so your arm looks like an “L,” then throw, letting the thumb leave the ball first while the fingers lift and roll it.

3) Keep your eye on the ball, not the pins.
There are arrows on the lane—try to roll the ball over the second mark in from the gutter, toward the head pin. “Reach” your hand toward the mark, then up to the ceiling. Once you let go, watch the ball to see if it hits the mark. If it doesn’t, move your feet left or right or pick a different mark.

4) Don’t think you have to throw the ball faster or harder to get a strike.
Like billiards, bowling is a rolling game of angles, not speed or power. Have fun!

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