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Bowling Approach Focal Points

If you are a brand new bowler or someone just now taking the game more seriously, then a few bowling approach focal points will help your game develop in the right way. It is surprising how many bowlers spend too little time working on their physical game skills, particularly before competition like leagues or tournaments.

We wish to provide you with bowling approach focal points and ask you to get out to the practice lanes as often as possible.

Here are a few tips to follow when practicing:

Set-Up: Set your spine angle about 10 degrees forward tilt and make sure your bowling shoulder is no more than an inch or so lower than your non-bowling shoulder. Maintain a normal amount of knee flex in your set-up, perhaps one to three inches of knee flex depending on your range of motion. Your weight should be distributed fairly evenly over both bowling shoes. Perhaps place a bit more weight on the foot not used in your first step of the approach.

Footwork: Walk lightly and smoothly to the foul line and avoid digging into the floor and lunging into your slide step. A smooth tempo with your footwork is an important key in making a consistent approach. Even if you are a player with relatively fast footwork, do not exceed your usual pace of walking to the foul line. It is generally best make a smooth start with the first two steps of your approach to set the pace throughout the approach with emphasis on not hurrying the final two steps.

Work especially hard on sliding on the same board of the approach near the foul line each delivery to avoid drifting left or right randomly. For new bowlers, we recommend walking a very straight path to the foul line and finishing on the same board with your sliding step as where you aligned yourself initially during your set-up.

Balance: Keep your upper body as stable as possible throughout your approach. Avoid making unnecessary upper-body movements, particularly with your head. Try to maintain a consistent elevation from the floor while you walk to the foul line as to avoid lunging forward with your upper-body while you are in the process of delivering the bowling ball. Avoid excessive opening and closing of your bowling shoulder during the arm swing cycle. Keep the front portion of your bowling shoulder aligned with your target on the lane.

Swing: Work on a consistent timing sequence to initiate the swing. If you use a long push-away, make sure you trigger the movement early enough and do not retard the arm swing movement by holding the ball instead of allowing it to drop into the swing freely and smoothly with a continuous movement. If you use a short push motion or allow your ball to fall straight toward the floor when beginning the swing, try to avoid using too much arm tension forcing the ball to the top of the back swing. When your bowling hand reaches the top of your back swing, allow gravity to help the ball fall into the forward swing smoothly and consistently without "grabbing" at the ball with your bowling hand in anticipation of the delivery.

Release: If you hook the bowling ball, try to rotate the ball as your hand reaches your bowling shoe of your sliding step by the laces of your sliding shoe. You may exit your thumb from the ball prior to your hand reaching the release zone but avoid rotating your bowling fingers before your arm is perpendicular to the floor. Regulate the moment of release by keying your thumb to exit the ball at the same relative position each delivery.

Speed Control: Consistent ball speed allows for the release to repeat effectively time after time. Often times, bowlers try to do much to the ball by trying to help the ball hook instead of relying on the physics of the game and the dynamics of the bowling ball coupled with proper alignment to do the job. Release the ball without forcing an abrupt lifting action onto the ball.

Finish & Focus: Work on holding your form at the line after you release the ball until your ball passes the targeting arrows. In fact, if you can hold your form motionless until the ball contacts the pins, then your balance is solid. Focus your eyes on your down-lane target until the ball passes the target. Do not diminish the importance of focusing on your target with intensity and concentration each delivery.

Consult with your personal certified coach/instructor or a local bowling professional if you wish to continue developing bowling approach focal points.

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