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Developing Proper Timing

Excerpt from Bowling Fundamentals - Second Edition By Michelle Mullen


When you change your timing entering the slide, it is important that you learn to relax your swing as you adapt to the new timing. However, your arm may tighten up and pull the swing down, either because it used to have to, to catch up when you were late, of because it is trying to re-create the timing it is used to.

Consider the common issue of pushing the ball late in the start. When you have a late start, you will either cut the backswing short or, if you do let it fully swing, you will have to pull the ball to get it to catch up. So, when you make a change to your start, which requires a lot of focus and repetition, and learn to move the ball sooner, you may be fixing your timing, but you will likely still pull the ball to the finish out of habit. It requires patience and understanding to realize that you really are making the fix but that your body simply hasn't acclimated to it yet. The best way to get your body used to the chance is to keep repeating it so that your body can adjust and adapt to it. You will eventually stop pulling the ball down at the finish to compensate for the previously poor timing. If after a lot of reptition you are still pulling the ball, then you just have to give a little extra focus to relaxing the swing into delivery because the need to pull has been fixed.

Sometimes it is just a matter of undoing the old muscle memory that you had developed prior to improving your technique. This is especially true if you have bowled a certain way for a long time and are working on changing. Just stay the course and you will begin to see the changes come together.

As you make corrections in your timing, especially in the start, you must be patient until your body gets acclimated to how the change feels and you learn to just relax to let the swing feel different at the finish. You may not see the ball has completely missed the pins. When I can see the change coming along and recognize that the student's body just needs more shots until it get comfortable with the new feeling, I praise the progress and encourage the student to stick with it. This is what I hope to help you do. It is a process, and it takes patience. The results will follow. 

At this point, your delivery will feel different because better timing changes your leverage at the line. Whether you were used to being late and more upright or early with the shoulders forward, or whether your body can now simply balance better, expect your body to feel different at the line than it used to. Often, it will just feel better. These timing adjustments are designed to improve your leverage.

Sometimes , you have to feel different before you feel better. Do not panic or think something is wrong. It is just different, and it should be. Once it doesn't feel so odd, it will begin to feel better when done properly. If it doesn't feel different, you are not making the change.

Once you have improved your timing, you will then be able to work on strengthening the finish position itself. Whether your goal is to get lower, keep your shoulders more upright, or be more balanced, with improved timing your world will open up to enable you to then make these changes in your finish.

Mullen, Michelle. Bowling Fundamentals- Second Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2014.

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