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Beginner Bowler FAQ 3

bowlingball.com continues to share questions with our readers that we receive relating to articles posted on our site. This beginner bowler FAQ 3 article features another random question sent to us by a new bowler visiting our community. We address this question in this ongoing series of articles known as beginner bowler FAQ 3.

We hope our response helps new bowlers learn about the game.

We cannot possibly keep our response to any question short and direct in content without likely omitting information which could expand your knowledge. So, we invite you to share your thoughts by making a comment under any posted article and help us pass along useful ideas.

Here is the question for this article presented by a beginner bowler:


Q. How close to the foul line should I be sliding when I bowl? I am fearful I might go over the line so I end up about two feet behind the line and my friends tell me that is wrong.

A. You should practice sliding no more than 6 inches maximum from the line. If you slide two feet behind the line, you will release your ball onto the approach floor where there is no oil conditioner applied by the lane machine. This will cause your ball to bounce off of the floor, lose speed and eliminate an effective roll on your bowling ball.

Instead, work on sliding two - six inches behind the line so your bowling ball will enter the lane at a gradual angle of descent and contact the surface of the lane beyond the foul line, landing in a heavy concentration of lane conditioner. The lane conditioner makes your ball skid consistently and conserve energy for the back end of the lane for impact with the pins while preserving good ball speed.

The biggest reason bowlers slide much too far behind the foul line is the “fear of fouling” in competition, seeing the light go on, and losing pin count. There is little or nothing to fear if you take the right steps to the foul line and if you stand at an appropriate distance from the foul line when you take your stance position as you prepare to bowl.

A bowler 6 feet in height will normally have a stride just under three feet and generally stand at the guide dots 12 feet from the foul line (plus or minus 6 inches.) Shorter bowlers might have only a 2 foot stride and should stand perhaps ten feet from the foul line for a four-step approach. Some tall bowlers might take a 3 foot stride and can actually stand about a foot behind the dots and still slide near the foul line.

If you use a four-step approach, stand with your back to the pins on the practice lane where the back of the heels of your bowling shoes are one inch from the foul line. Then take four normal walking steps plus a half step extra to allow for a good sliding step. Then turn around and take note where the toes of your bowling shoes are in reference to the guide dots embedded in the approach (which are located 12 feet from the foul line). At that point you will have identified the correct distance to stand from the foul line when preparing to bowl.

Ironically, most bowlers will not reach twelve feet in distance using this method of determining where to stand on the approach, but will stand behind the guide dots anyway. If a bowler has short steps, there is literally no way that bowler will slide near the foul line.

Lose the “fear of fouling.” By sliding at the foul line and not two feet behind the line, you will improve your accuracy, maintain reasonable ball speed, get the ball over the foul line, and benefit from an effective roll on your bowling ball.

It is recommended you consult a professional instructor and learn about your positioning on the approach while taking your stance and preparing to bowl. You can also pick up good tips from an experienced coach relating to your physical game so you gain accuracy, pick up more spares, and have fun bowling.

We thank the bowler who shared this question with us for this article. If you are an experienced bowler and wish to comment, feel free to do so. Your comments are most welcomed. Be sure to check the "Improve Your Game" link in "BowlVersity" on the home page of our site for instructional article posts. Thank you.

Rich Carrubba
bowlingball.com