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Four Step Approach For Beginning Bowlers


Using the four step approach for beginning bowlers will help build consistent footwork synchronized with the arm swing. Good footwork fundamentals used in developing a sound bowling approach starts with the use of a four step approach for beginning bowlers. Good bowling footwork begins by understanding key components of the four step approach.

1. Length of Steps – Use your natural length walking stride for consistent footwork. Begin with the right foot (if you are a right handed bowler) and end with your sliding step, your left foot. The strategy is to not bounce or lose balance while walking to the foul line. Bowlers 6 feet in height will typically cover about 12 feet plus or minus 6 inches allowing for the slide with a four step approach.

The set of dots at the mid-point on the approach measure 12 feet from the foul line. A 6 foot tall bowler using a four step approach might start with the toes of the bowling shoes on or near the these dots on the approach floor. A shorter height bowler without a long walking stride should be positioned closer to the foul line, in the 10-11 foot range. It is recommended that the toe on the sliding bowling shoe finishes only 6 inches or less from the foul line.

2. Tempo - The pace of steps should be slow enough as to produce a smooth walking motion to the foul line with a slight heel-to-toe action leading into the slide step. Each step should match in pace with the previous and be fairly uniform in length to prevent loss of balance. The slide step should glide into the approach with the sole and heel of the bowling shoe sliding evenly and smoothly from the momentum built from the first steps.

Hastening the slide step, or pushing off too quickly from the step before the slide, can cause a thrusting action into the foul line causing a hurried bowling ball delivery. It is important to maintain the same pace each step for consistent tempo to the foul line and for maintaining good body balance.

Try to maintain a slight amount of knee flex during the first three steps and allow your knee on your sliding leg to flex slightly more so the big muscles of your sliding leg are brought into use. The big muscles of the leg provide balance and stability during your slide step and also develop leverage and natural power as you transfer momentum from the first three steps into a long and smooth sliding step.

3. Direction – It cannot be emphasized enough how vital walking straight lines is to achieving a good arm-swing and accuracy when delivering the ball. A good objective for new bowlers is to walk as perfectly straight of a line as to end on the same board with the sliding bowling shoe as where the shoe was positioned originally in your set-up position, regardless where on the approach the bowler is aligned.

Avoid drifting from walking a straight line on the approach on strike or spare deliveries. Each step should be measured in length and placed directly under the center of the body for maximum balance. Limiting the amount of drift, either to the left or to the right, to about two boards from the initial set-up alignment will also help the arm swing seek a path toward the target.

These three key components of good footwork will help you establish a solid four step bowling approach resulting in consistency and accuracy.


We highly recommend getting a good pair of bowling shoes right away and using the services of a professional bowling instructor or certified coach to help you learn the fundamentals of a good bowling approach. A bowling lesson is well worth the investment and helps familiarize a new bowler with the components of a four step approach.

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