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How A Good Bowling Set Up Can Help You Improve


Learning how a good bowling set up can help you improve is an important component in developing a good approach technique. If you are a bowler averaging between 130-160 in score per game, then emphasis on learning keys of a good initial set-up position on the approach and while walking to the foul line are important steps toward improvement. In bowling, as in most sports, the trick to learning good technique begins with understanding how a good bowling set up can help you improve.

The stance position, or set-up position, establishes good body posture, balance, positioning of the bowling ball, leg action and overall alignment. Everything works off of a solid set-up position. Establishing a “pre-shot routine” whereby the identical set-up procedure is taken every time you step onto the approach will enhance your chances in making an effective delivery and will ultimately lead to good scoring.

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Before stepping onto the approach surface, make sure you know precisely where you wish to position your feet. Pay attention to your distance from the foul line and to your positioning relative to the guides in the boards on the approach. Place your feet so your bowling shoe toes are pointing slightly toward your target and in the same direction.

Spread your bowling shoes perhaps one or two boards apart for balance and stability and with your slide shoe an inch or two ahead of your balance leg shoe and set most of the body weight, perhaps 65% of your weight, onto the foot you are not beginning your first step with in your approach to the foul line. This technique can help transition your first step smoothly and at a consistent pace each delivery.

Flex the knees forward slightly. Place the front of your knee caps directly over the toes of your shoes. Flexing the knees slightly will bring the big muscles of your legs into play and create automatic leverage during delivery so long as you maintain the flex while walking and sliding near the foul line.

Lean forward about 10–15 degrees body tilt as to align your the front part of your shoulders in a direct line over your knee caps and the toes of your bowling shoes. Set your bowling shoulder level or slightly below the level of your opposite shoulder.

Make sure your head remains level and your chin remains at least shoulder level or higher and maintain that posture throughout your approach, delivery, and finishing position at the foul line. By maintaining a slight forward body tilt, keeping your head motionless during your approach, and maintaining knee flex during your set up and throughout the steps of your approach, you will generate leverage and power simply by being in a good athletic position when delivering the bowling ball.

The closer the ball is held to your body in your set-up position, the more relaxed are the arm muscles. You may hold the ball low near your knees with your bowling arm elbow resting against your body. You may hold your ball high in the set-up process where the center of the ball is at or very near shoulder level and positioned in front of the bowling shoulder. Many bowlers, however, prefer to hold the ball about waist level and position the ball in front of the bowling shoulder and as close to the body as is comfortable to keep tension in the bowling arm minimized.

Any height you may choose to hold the bowling ball can work but once you begin your approach, the weight of the ball swinging should not alter your posture during your approach to the foul line. Maintain this relationship of shoulders above the knees throughout the walk to the foul line to ensure good balance and stability while releasing the ball.

Keep your head level with as little movement, side to side or up and down, as possible with your chin at or above shoulder level so you will be able to remain well balanced while walking to the foul line. Keeping your head still throughout the approach with your eyes fixed on your target will help you maintain good overall balance and a sense of direction for where to propel the bowling ball toward your target on the lane.


These keys will establish a good bowling set-up position and help you make an effective approach to the foul line. A good result in bowling begins by means of a well-planned “pre-shot routine” and visualization process and continues by retaining good balance and posture during the approach. It is highly recommended to consult a certified bowling instructor or a local bowling professional to help you learn about key components of the game.

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