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How To Walk Your Bowling Lines For Power Players


Learning how to walk bowling lines for power players is an important key in matching good arm swing direction to your target down the lane. Good footwork for power players involves some important keys. Developing a good technique in how to walk lines for power players will help you maintain good swing alignment because of the influencing effects your body motion has on your swing path as you move to the foul line.

Right handed bowlers who hook the ball a great deal should walk from right to left. The opposite is true for left handed players but we will use the right handed player as our reference in this article.

The vast majority of professional bowlers walk to the left from their starting position on the approach because the swing will follow the direction the upper body moves and will align itself on an inside-out swing path and toward the target on the lane. Since the objective for any bowler who hooks the ball is to release the ball on an inside to outside swing path matching the target line to the break point down the lane, it makes sense to walk lines which encourage an inside to outside swing alignment.


Walking left on the approach will help you realign your bowling hand supporting the weight of the ball in motion from the top of the back swing to behind your new shoulder position automatically because of the lateral direction change of your upper body caused by walking to the left. This swing alignment path is the preferred path by bowling professionals and by coaches and is one we highly recommend for all players hooking the bowling ball.

A technique used by players who walk left with a consistent footwork pattern (for right handed players) using a 4 step approach and which encourages good balance is as follows:


1. The first step with the right foot moves straight ahead from it initial positioning on the approach and maintains consistent tempo and distance of the step from one delivery to the next.

2. The second step with the left foot steps to the left about 5 boards left of the initial positioning on the approach and maintains consistent tempo and distance from delivery to delivery.

3. The third step with the right foot steps in front of the second step in a tightrope fashion as to step on a line under the center line of the torso and maintains consistent tempo and distance each delivery.

4. The final slide step slides under the chin or the center line of the torso to support the weight of the body and create a stable and balanced platform in which to deliver the ball. The slide foot should enter the foul line in a fairly straight line so the toe of the sliding shoe faces the pocket down the lane.

The pattern of steps to walk to the left effectively, therefore, is "straight on one, left about 5 boards on two, step to the center line of the body on three, and slide under the center line of the body on four." Of course, if you use a five step approach, the first step is straight to get you into motion, then the remaining four steps follow the above described pattern.

Some tips to watch for in this footwork technique is to practice making the second step precisely stepping to the left each delivery the same number of boards, about 5 boards. We recommend 5 boards because it is not a difficult number of boards to walk to the left on the second step in a repeated manner and also will accommodate enough of a shift in upper body direction to the left so the arm swing can easily follow the body to the left and will re-align to the desired inside to outside swing path. When you walk left, it is easy to understand that the forward swing will not have to re-route itself around your right leg or right hip and can move on a delivery line along the down lane target path.

It helps to have a certified coach or a bowling professional available if you are trying to change your footwork pattern and walk right to left lines. A "spotter" with experience and knowledge of the technique you are trying to develop is valuable so you eliminate guesswork if you are doing the technique correctly while trying to re-train your leg muscles and feet to walk your new lines. Also, a coach can make sure your swing path is matching your desired target line down the lane to the break point.

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Another good practice tip to walk your lines is to place a piece of bowling tape on the approach floor about one inch behind the foul line on the desired board where you intend to slide. Then place another piece of tape on the approach back where you initially position your sliding shoes before you begin walking to the foul line and deliver the ball. Make sure the tape at the foul line is placed on a board about five boards to the left of where the tape back on the approach is placed referencing your sliding shoe. If you are able to walk and deliver a ball, look down at your slide shoe after the delivery, and then see the shoe complete the slide 5 boards left of your initial alignment positioning, you will have successfully walked your lines.


Next, move the tape on the approach where you initially stand across the lane to perhaps where you stand to convert the corner pin spares or where you play any given angle on the lane. It is important to be able to control your right to left footwork pattern from any positioning on the approach and for all angles you might encounter during competition, spares included.

Also, it is important to note that with a change in footwork pattern comes a change in target alignment down the lane. If will have to change where you sight on the lane if you adjust your footwork pattern or change your initial alignment on the approach if your target on the lane is correct for a given session on the lanes. Some practice and alignment experimentation will be necessary when you make adjustments to your footwork pattern.

Walking to the left (again, for right handed bowlers) invites challenges other than merely alignment or sighting adjustments. One such challenge is to make sure your arm swing does not re-align excessively and create too severe of an inside to outside swing path caused by the momentum of your body walking to the left and the ball swinging to follow in the same direction.

Opening and closing the bowling shoulder is a fairly common tendency with power players. It is important to avoid excessive shoulder rotation opening and closing so you can maintain consistently good swing alignment to the target down the lane. If you simply keep in mind that all forces must work together with respect to tempo, direction of footwork, direction of your swing path, and the direction of your release down the desired target line to the break point regardless of any given angle you play on the lane, then your chances of success are high.

It is worth repeating that using a certified coach or a local bowling professional to work with you when developing new footwork lines or swing path lines is highly recommended. The Tour Players use coaches from time to time to help them monitor key elements of their games so why shouldn't you use a coach? Of course, practice makes all the difference.

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