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How To Use A Bowling Four Step Approach


For new bowlers just beginning the game, it is important to learn how to use a bowling four step approach. By knowing how to use a bowling four step approach, you will build consistent footwork which can be be synchronized with arm swing fundamentals so you will be well on your way to developing a good bowling approach. This article will address the footwork used in a four step approach. Good bowling footwork begins by understanding and focusing on important keys which will help you develop a consistent approach to the foul line. Here are three keys to the four step approach:

1. Length of Steps – Taking steps which match your normal walking stride usually produces a consistent approach to the foul line. Begin with the right foot if you are a right handed bowler and end with your sliding step being your left foot. The strategy is to not bounce or lose balance during your approach so you can make consistent and precise deliveries. Establishing the correct length of stride of your steps is essential so you achieve a solid footwork foundation from which to bowl. Bowlers 6 feet in height will typically cover about 12 feet plus perhaps 6 inches more allowing for the slide with a four step approach.

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Since the set of dots at the mid-point on the approach measure 12 feet from the foul line, then a 6 foot tall bowler using a four step approach will likely be positioned on or near the these dots on the approach floor. If you are shorter than 6 feet and do not have a long walking stride, then position yourself closer to the foul line. Try and make sure you finish with the toe on your sliding bowling shoe only 6 inches or less from the foul line.

2. Tempo - The pace of your 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 uniform in length or close to uniform in length as to prevent loss of balance. The slide step should glide into the approach evenly and your momentum built from the first steps should enable you to slide smoothly as to maintain balance so you are in a good position to release the bowling ball.

Hastening the slide step or pushing off too quickly from the step before the slide can cause a thrusting action into the foul line and usually causes a hurried release of the bowling ball. It is important to maintain the same pace each step and for each delivery so your arm swing can be well timed with your footwork.

Try to maintain a slight amount of knee flex during the first three steps and allow your knee on your sliding leg to flex even 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 – An extremely important key to accuracy and to consistent approaches is the direction you walk to the foul line. It cannot be emphasized enough how vital walking your lines is to achieving a target-seeking arm-swing and accuracy in your deliveries. A good objective for new bowlers or for anyone trying to develop good footwork is to walk as perfectly straight of a line as to end on the same board with your sliding bowling shoe as where the shoe was positioned originally in your set-up position.

Regardless of where you position yourself laterally on the approach for spares or for a strike ball delivery, it is a good goal to not drift away from where you began. Try making steps which are placed under the center of your body to maintain balance and result in an effectively straight path to the line. Each step should be measured in length and placed directly under the center of the body for maximum balance. Try to limit your drift, either to the left or to the right, to about two boards from your set-up alignment so your arm-swing path can easily remain aligned to your target path on the lane.


These three key elements will help you establish good four step bowling approach and will result in greater consistency and improved 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. The cost of a bowling lesson can be less than the price of a new bowling ball or pair of bowling shoes. A bowling lesson to get you started is well worth the investment and will help you become familiarized with the components of a four step approach.

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