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Top Tips - March 2013 - How Do I Develop The Best Pure Physical Game Possible?

When I was a struggling neophyte on the lanes, I was told the best thing to work on was developing the best pure physical game possible if I wanted to improve. Okay, I’m all in. What are the things I must work on to do that?

Doug Wiedman Answers...

THE BASES UPON which long-term bowling development is built: rhythm and balance. Rhythm is the repeatable pattern of physical performance. Don’t confuse this with timing, which is the particular mechanical relationship between the armswing and the footwork. Rhythm is more holistic. It involves the smooth, fluid progress from start to finish, and defines the pattern to your approach.

Balance is a solid foundation. Do you “hit the landing” at the end of the approach? Are your hips and shoulders on line to the target as the ball gets to the release? Does your upper body feel like an “anchor point” from which the ball swings?

Practice drills:
1. Continuous swing drill. Let the ball swing back and forth. As the ball starts forward for the third time, start to walk. As the ball comes toward the release, hit the slide and clear the back leg. Blend the pace of your footwork to the armswing pendulum.

2. Finish position practice. Find your balance point over your slide foot. Pick the back foot up — the toe should barely brush the ground while the knee bends about 45 degrees. Swing your arm into the backswing while you swing the balance leg away from the body. Just before the swing comes down, swing the balance leg behind you. Synchronize this with the side-to-side motion of the balance leg eight to 10 times. You should feel only the balance leg and armswing in motion. Once you are comfortable with this drill, do it with a bowling ball. Roll the ball off the hand after the second or third swing/kick action.

Ken Yokobosky Answers...

TRY TO CRACK a whip or “snap” a towel with a rigid wrist. Not gonna happen. There has to be flexibility at just the right point in the wrist to do either. The releases of modern bowlers are not rigid at all. They may start off firm in the stance and throughout the swing, but as the ball enters the release zone, the wrist uncoils. This is very different from the urethane days when back-end motion was created by hitting “up” on the ball with a firm wrist and fingers. Uncoiling of the wrist will create that whip-cracking motion and allow the ball to come off the hand with unguided freedom, revolutions and proper skid-hook-roll. The latter is the key to great carry.

One visit to the internet, and you can see wrists that are almost in the “broken” position at the time of release. Thirty years ago, a broken wrist position would have sent coaches running to the pro shop to strap a wrist device onto their students’ wrists to create that support and rigidity. Today, being rigid is a term not usually associated with positive results.

Timing plus swing equals release (T + S = R). This is the formula to good bowling emphasized by Fred Borden, one of our sport’s great coaches. Good timing and a proper swing create the foundation for a good release. The release is a flexible motion that looks effortless when executed by the greatest; just watch Pete Weber.

To achieve the best pure physical game possible, find yourself a coach who has evolved with the game and can guide you in the direction of fluidity in motion.

Doug Wiedman has been the bowling instructor for Purdue University’s Department of Health and Kinesiology since 1993. He is the sole instructor for all 10 divisions of the bowling courses. A USBC Silver Level certified coach, he has been an assistant coach with the Purdue University Intercollegiate Bowling program since 2004, and is the author of Step to Success: Bowling. He can be reached at

Ken Yokobosky is a USBC Gold Level Coach and former member of the Team USA coaching staff. He owns Pro Image Bowling in New Jersey, and provides private and group coaching and clinics. Email him at:

Posted with permission from Luby Publishing