Relaxing On The Approach
Excerpt from Bowling Fundamentals - Second Edition By Michelle Mullen
Being relaxed is one of the most important keys to creating a consistent approach and delivery. In any game of repetition, staying loose is the key to being able to repeat your performance. Bowlers face the same challenge as free-throw shooters in basketball. It comes down to being able to repeat the motion over and over.
A free-throw shooter goes through a preshot routine to loosen up and get ready to repeat the shot she has done so many times. I liken the stance in bowling to the preshot routine of a free-throw shooter in basketball. Your stance is your preparation to make a good shot. Many bowlers are not aware of how tight their muscles are in a normal state when they don't think about relaxing.
It is a myth that, in the bowling stance, the shoulders must be perfectly square to the foul line and even in height. Right-handed bowlers should allow the right should to be lower than the left, so it can relax. Left-handed bowlers should allow the left should to relax and be a little lower. To dispel a popular myth, you'll see that it is okay to drop your should at the finish. Here, we preset the shoulder with this in mind.
If you are having trouble delivering the ball consistently, check to see whether you are creating any tension in your grip or the muscles of your swing arm or shoulder. Many bowlers start out with tight muscles in the stance and do not even realize it.
Gripping the ball too tightly in the stance is often a problem because it creates tension throughout the upper body. Again, many bowlers are not aware of how tense they are in the stance. With so many muscles, and the various amounts of tension you could create within them at varying points throughout the swing, your approach can become infinitely different from shot to shot. Tension makes you erratic. Relax and let physics take over. It's more reliable than we are.
One shoulder is lower than the other. Shoulders are relaxed: a) right-handed bowler; b) left-handed bowler
If inconsistency and inaccuracy are plaguing you, loosen up to allow the ball to swing naturally. With a proper lineup in the stance, natural eye-hand coordination will produce accurate shots if a natural arm swing is repeated every time. Rather that tightening up and trying to control and steer the shot, learn to learn and trust yourself!
Mullen, Michelle. Bowling Fundamentals- Second Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2014.