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Bowling Timing

A very important key in making a good approach and swing is bowling timing. The objective of any bowler is to develop consistent tempo, allow for an effective releasing action of the bowling ball, and maintain alignment and directional control to the target. Bowling timing is best described as the relationship between your footwork and “armswing.”

Using a four step approach as the model where a right handed bowler steps first with the right foot, then the beginning of the swing should move the bowling arm from the set-up position where the ball is held near the body and at or near waist-high to an extended position by placing the elbow to full arm extension toward the target. Achieving an outward, downward and uninterrupted motion as to shape the movement smoothly allowing the ball to begin a free and uncontrolled back-swing along the desired path will set the beginning of the “armswing” effectively. Beginning the “pushaway” motion slightly ahead of the first step will trigger a good timing sequence by which the ball swinging and the feet moving toward the foul line will occur in a synchronized manner. Be careful to not hold the ball while the feet catch up once the “pushaway” motion is underway. By far, most bowlers struggling with their bowling performances do not begin the “pushaway” motion until after one complete step is taken and the entire “armswing” cycle is thereby contained within three steps instead of the full four steps. This late “pushaway” sequence leads to incomplete or hurried back-swing motions and a controlled or hurried forward-swing motion. An earlier timing by moving the ball sooner enough as to allow the ball to begin the backswing motion once the first step is completed will produce favorable timing. Most coaches prefer teaching an earlier beginning of the swing as opposed to a late-timing sequence.

The vast majority of top-performing players in the world use an earlier “pushaway” motion so the swing cycle has plenty of time to complete itself and produce an effective release and follow-through motion. It can be said that the “pushaway” motion controls the timing sequence and sets the swing into a proper path aligned to the target.

Beginning the swing at a proper time in relation to the first step is only one key in good timing. It is also important to maintain the pace of the “armswing” ideally matching the pace of the footwork and should be a consistent tempo throughout the entire approach. Organizing your steps and swing into a pace not too slow as to prohibit a free swinging arm motion or too quickly as to hurry the forward swing and bowling ball release motion is essential to good bowling timing. The phenomenon known as “good timing” simply means that the footwork and “armswing” tempo match one another and are consistent from delivery to delivery.

Successful “armswing” cycles are more than two hundred degrees total radius referencing the hand position at the top of the back-swing to the completion of the follow-through. Try and avoid less than a 180 degree swing-cycle so the danger of restricting a free swinging motion being replaced by a severely controlled and muscled swing will not occur. Do not hurry the last two steps of your approach more quickly than normal. It is quite important to maintain good tempo with the footwork and swing to maintain good bowling timing throughout the approach cycle.

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