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How To Use Your Bowling Balance Arm

Learning how to use your bowling balance arm during your approach is an extremely important key in making an effective bowling ball delivery. Since good balance and proper alignment with your upper body during your approach are important keys to making good bowling ball deliveries, knowing how to use your bowling balance arm will help you stabilize your body position as you walk to the foul line and prepare to deliver your ball.
Maintaining good posture and being in an athletic position at all times during the approach are the first steps to maintaining good balance. So many bowlers will not use their balance arm effectively and suffer from either poor shoulder alignment or a break down in leverage or both. A stable upper body posture at stance and throughout the approach along with properly positioning your balance arm will encourage consistent a releasing action of the bowling ball during your sliding step.

We see bowlers who do not use their balance arms properly and grab their leg and hold the leg while walking to the foul line and delivering the bowling ball. This improper use of the balance arm and hand results in a break down of leverage and power. Another example of improper use of the balance arm is when a given bowler will allow their arm to remain behind their back when taking their approach which may cause the bowling shoulder to close too quickly and lose alignment with the target on the lane. The opposite effect of when we see a bowler hold their balance arm quite a bit in front of their body when taking an approach which invites the risk of the shoulders opening away from the target while the arm is swinging the bowling ball. Of course, bowlers who hold the balance arm too low in relation to waist level or too high above waist height risk the shoulder level tilting beyond reasonable degrees of tolerance.
Here is what to do: In the stance position, lean forward about 10-15 degrees upper-body tilt, allow your backside to push outward slightly, and flex your knees. Your knee caps should be directly positioned over the toes of your shoes with the front part of your shoulders in a straight line down to your knee caps and continue to the tips of your bowling shoes whereby all are aligned perpendicularly to the floor. This stance will encourage a solid, athletic body set-up position and should be maintained during your entire approach to the foul line and during the slide and release actions.
Place the bowling ball in your bowling hand immediately in front of your bowling shoulder, with the center of the ball in front of the shoulder, and as close to your body as is comfortable. The closer the ball is to your body, the more relaxed are the arm muscles. Muscles of your bowling arm need to be as tension free as possible so the tempo of your swing will be unimpaired, consistent and the ball can swing freely along a desired path aligned to your target down the lane.
Use your balance arm to support the weight of the ball during your stance position and until you move the ball into the beginning of the swing cycle. Once the ball is moved into the swing arc, quickly remove your balance arm and hand off of the ball and swiftly re-position your arm to the opposite side of your body not swinging the bowling ball. Your balance arm should be fully extended away from your upper body and held about waist level with your hand pointed toward the the adjacent approach and slightly ahead of your non-bowling shoulder. By keeping the balance arm fully extended with your balance hand as far away from your body as your arm allows and held about waist level. Your arm will stabilize your body while you are swinging the bowling ball with your bowling arm.
It is important to avoid rotating your shoulders excessively during your arm swing process. Keeping your balance arm in a fixed position relative to your upper body will reduce any tendency of over-rotating your shoulders open or closed while you are swinging the bowling ball and will also keep your body aligned to your down lane target.

If you hold your balance arm and hand extended away from your body about waist level, your shoulder lines will be fairly square and parallel to the floor. If you raise your balance arm higher than waist level, perhaps to shoulder level, then your bowling shoulder may drop closer to the floor while you are swinging the ball.
Moderate levels of maintaining your bowling shoulder slightly below the opposite shoulder while you are swinging the bowling ball are acceptable, particularly for those bowlers who roll a hook ball delivery. The danger in dropping your bowling shoulder too far below your opposite shoulder is that you will likely over rotate your shoulders while swinging the ball and your swing path may not remain aligned to the target on the lane.
Generally speaking, the straighter you roll the ball, the more level you should keep your shoulders during your approach. In this case, keep your balance arm and hand at waist level throughout your approach and extended on a line parallel to your shoulder line to help you maintain good balance and shoulder alignment.
If you are a player hooking the ball modestly, then you can allow your bowling shoulder to be about two or three inches below the level of your non-bowling shoulder and maintain that relationship as you swing and deliver the bowling ball. Power players or players who hook the ball a great deal do not need an excessive amount of shoulder tilt, perhaps only four or five inches maximum, to maintain good alignment toward a target down the lane.
If you hook the ball, you can further stabilize your shoulders by holding your balance arm and hand about 45 degrees in front of your opposite shoulder which will allow your opposite shoulder to lead your bowling shoulder as you walk to the foul line. This type of shoulder alignment keeps your shoulder angle open as to allow the swing and delivery of the ball to maintain an inside to outside swing path relative to the lane.
Your balance arm is a useful tool to help you maintain balance and shoulder alignment to your target as you walk to the line and deliver the ball. Develop an awareness where you place your balance arm and hand once you begin swinging the bowling ball. Try to maintain the balance arm positioning with respect to your shoulders throughout the entire approach and delivery process.
As in any sport, good balance leads to good results. Your chances for error increase when you introduce unneeded body movement during your approach. Ideally, with only your legs and your bowling arm moving during your approach, you will maintain good balance, improve your accuracy and your bowling scores.
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