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Establishing Your Stance

Excerpt from Bowling Fundamentals - Second Edition By Michelle Mullen


Stand with your feet close together and knees slightly bent so that you feel ready to move. Flexed joints move more easily than locked joints. Your body should be relaxed and ready to move. Your spine should have a slight tilt to it, about 15 degrees, to maintain a leveraged position of your upper body. Maintain good balance by keeping your center of gravity over your base of support. Centering your core over your legs will put you in control of your first step, rather than having to react to an imbalance in your body position.

A right handed bowler starts with the right foot slightly behind the left to preset the hips and shoulders as they will be at the delivery. A left handed bowler puts the left foot slightly behind the right to preset the hips and shoulders. At delivery the right handed bowler ends up on the left foot with the right leg behind, setting the hips in an open position. A left handed bowler ends up on the right foot, setting the hips in an open position. The shoulders, hips, and feet should all be in alignment and facing toward the target. It is important to relax your spine rather than have it twisted to be able to maintain this preset position throughout your approach.

You should have slightly more weight on the nonstarting foot. So, if you start with your right foot , you will put more weight on your left to free up the right foot to move. You will learn more about which foot to start with later.

Overall, your body should feel balanced, ready to move both the starting foot and the ball on the correct key step.

Your upper body should be relaxed. Support the weight of the ball using the leverage of both hands, with the weight primarily in the hand without the ball, of the nondominant hand, to allow the swing arm to relax as you push the ball away.

The elbow of the swing arm should be by your side, next to your ribs. Identifying a place for your elbow enables you to start with the ball in the same position every time. Hold the ball in line with the inside of your shoulder. Keeping the elbow by your side and holding the ball in line with the shoulder joint facilitates a consistent and straight arm swing.

Hold the ball close to your body in a stance. This helps you relax because the closer it is to you, the lighter if feels. The farther it is from you, the heavier it feels. This is why you would carry a heavy box close to your body, rather than with your arms extended. The closer it is to your center of gravity, the more leverage you have and the lighter it feels. The key to a good arm swing is to relax!

Generally, putting your arm by your side and your forarm parallel to the floor is a good position from which to push the ball out in the start. Depending on your timing tendencies, you might position the ball higher or lower in the stance. Holding the ball higher or lower changed the shape of the push-away in the start. This can be strategically engineered to improve your timing.

The next goal in the stance is to align the ball with your shoulder and then stand in a place to get your swing shoulder lined up with the appropriate target to hit the pocket. Start by identifying what type of bowler you are, based on your release. From there, you can fine-tune your angle to the pocket.

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

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