BODY LANGUAGE: Your Posture Says A Lot About Your Game
By Bryan O’Keefe
One area that isn’t talked about enough but plays a major role in you consistency is your posture at the finish. It’s interesting how many bowlers, even at the higher levels, change their posture during their last two steps. In many instances, bowlers trying to get lower into the line end up crouching forward at the waist. In an effort to get their head lower, they look down and allow their body to follow their eyes. Or they pull back with their shoulders during their slide and lift the ball at the release.
The point is that once the ball reaches the top of your backswing, it’s important to keep your upper body posture consistent through the slide and into the release. Changes in posture after the ball reaches the top of your backswing affect a number of things. For starters, it’s very difficult to repeat shots. The chances that you can repeat the exact same change in your posture are pretty slim. Naturally, that inconsistency will also affect your release. Because most bowlers tend to lean forward toward the finish, the change in posture will affect your swing plane. As you lean forward your swing plane will become steeper. Instead of a smooth release right at the foul line, you’re more likely to be driving the ball into the lane, which can even produce a double dribble. Conversely, if you pull your shoulders back, you’re likely to project ball in the air.
Finally, allowing your posture to change can affect your balance. Bowlers who collapse forward from the waist and with their shoulders will have a difficult time maintaining good balance at the finish. Understand that there is no single “correct” body posture. Bowlers come in all shapes and sizes. The power players tend to lean forward. Other bowlers are more upright. In the first couple of steps of your approach, your body can move a little. But once the ball gets to the top of the backswing and starts to work itself into your downswing, it’s important to keep that posture consistent to the finish. If your torso is bent slightly forward at the top of the backswing, maintain that angle through the release. If your body is perfectly straight at the top of the backswing, maintain perfectly straight posture through the finish.
The key, of course, is to keep your upper body still and drive to the foul line with your legs. Maintaining proper posture through the release is a matter of discipline and conditioning. If you don’t use your legs a lot, they will get fatigued over time and your posture might start to change. So focus on your legs. Keep your head, upper body and shoulders steady, and bend at the knees instead of the waist. You will be amazed at how much more consistent your finish will be.
— Bryan O’Keefe is Assistant Coach and Facility Manager at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas.