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Preset Your Bowling Shoulder

If you want to develop a good swing path toward your sighting target, preset your bowling shoulder when you first set-up on the approach. Professional coaches routinely work with students to align their bowling hips and shoulders toward the target to maintain the proper swing path for control purposes.

For bowlers who hook the ball, seeking an inside-to-outside swing path can be accomplished easily if you preset your bowling shoulder. This is an especially useful technique for those of you who hook the ball and create a wide delivery angle down the lane to the break point.

There was a time in history when bowlers did not hook the ball nearly as much as they do today. In those days, coaches would instruct students that maintaining level shoulders and keeping the shoulders parallel to the foul line was important for accuracy in delivering the bowling ball. Today’s game is different and we now see many delivery styles compared to years past.

The bowling equipment of yesteryear simply did not offer the hook potential that today’s equipment offers. Although there are bowling balls today that have a similar hook potential as older bowling balls from decades past, there are many more new brands and models that promote strong length and hook potential motions.

If you are a bowler who uses a strong hook delivery style, such as “Power Tweeners” and “Power Players”, setting your bowling shoulder behind your non-bowling shoulder at address perhaps as much as 3 or 4 inches open (allowing your hip to open as well) will accommodate the desired swing path so the ball can be delivered at a wide enough angle through the sighting target and down the lane to the break point.

Although your bowling shoulder may be lower than your opposite shoulder and roll even further open than at address while you are walking and swinging your bowling ball, you will be in position to deliver the ball to your target accurately as your swing closes into the release position if you preset your shoulders in a slightly open position at address.

If you are a “Stroker” type player who hooks the ball very modestly and aligns to your target to play an up-the-boards delivery, then presetting your shoulders, perhaps only an inch or two open relative to the foul line, and maintaining that shoulder position while walking to the foul line will allow you to easily make an accurate release of the ball to your target.

Regardless of how straight or how much you hook your bowling ball, it is important to have the front portion of your bowling shoulder aligned to your sighting target on the lane at the time you deliver your bowling ball.

One point should be made. There are “Power Players” in today’s professional game who use fairly level shoulders when they bowl because they choose to get considerable loft on the ball and deliver the ball well over the foul line. These players do, however, have their bowling shoulder positioned behind their non-bowling shoulder as they release the bowling ball. This open relationship at the moment of delivery allows the swing path to match with the target down the lane.


Some experimentation is necessary if you wish to learn how much you should open your bowling shoulder when playing various delivery angles on the lane. The angle of delivery will require a variety of shoulder lines as you adjust your alignment positioning for strikes and spares on both sides of the lane. Keeping the front portion of your bowling shoulder facing the sighting target is an important step to maintaining a good swing and delivery path.

We at bowlingball.com always recommend consulting your own professional instructor when working on your alignment and shoulder positioning during your approach and delivery.

Your coach can easily watch to make sure your swing takes a proper path matching the delivery angle you have chosen to play.

Regardless of how much you hook the ball, preset your bowling shoulder at address to get things started on the right path.

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