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What Can I Learn From The Bowling Greats?

If you are asking what can I learn from the bowling greats, then please consider the following key areas to improve your bowling game.

“Set-Up” - The foundation of the bowling swing is the set-up and stance position. The elements of a bowler's set up are grip, an athletic posture and alignment. Poor set-up and alignment makes it difficult to initiate your swing cycle and engage in a swing path matching your delivery path angle.

Without good set-up mechanics and proper alignment, it is extremely hard to make a consistent or efficient bowling swing.

Your gripping procedure should include a modest amount of grip pressure (not clamping on and squeezing the holes too tightly) so you do not grasp the ball at the top of your back swing and force your delivery.

Positioning your ball in your stance is key so you can start your pushway motion in a direction which will help your back swing move along an intended path which, in turn, will help position your forward swing direction.

When looking at a great player's posture the areas to look at are the following:

The player is bent from hips maybe 10 or 15 degrees of forward body tilt with the rear end out.
The spine is relatively straight; shoulders are not rounded.
The player's knees are only slightly flexed.
The player's chin is up.
The bowler's arms are relaxed and the ball can be held close to the body torso.
Their feet are close together and the hips are aligned to the pocket.
Their non-bowling shoulder is slightly higher than the bowling shoulder.

“The Back Swing” - The purpose of the backswing is to put the bowler in a position to make a powerful and on-plane downswing aligned with the delivery path angle. The more efficient the backswing, the easier it is to make a good downswing.

When watching the bowling swing, there are two angles to study. On the bowling arm side of the bowler and facing the bowler.

We learn the most about the bowler from the side angle. From this position the things we want to look for are the following:

At the halfway point of the backswing are the bowler’s feet and swing position in time and in proper sequence so the forward swing will not have to be forced through which may cause errant shots.
At the top of the backswing the player's bowling hand should be in a position behind the player’s bowling shoulder.
When we are looking at the bowler from straight on, at the top of his backswing, the non-bowling shoulder should be positioned slightly ahead of the bowling shoulder to allow for an inside-to-outside swing path which allows for the hook delivery.

“The Forward Swing and Release” - The transaction between the backswing and the forward swing is one of the most critical elements of the bowling swing. In an efficient bowling swing, the forward swing is a gravity based swing where the bowling balls falls the first twelve or so inches with no hand tension retarding the natural force of gravity helping the ball fall into the down swing. The ball will fall and swing along the proper path developed by good backswing positioning.

The areas to watch for in the forward swing and release are the following:

The transaction between the backswing and forward swing starts with a tension free motion.
At the halfway point of the forward swing the bowling hand should be behind the ball and the thumb should exit the ball slightly before the bowling fingers. This exit motion occurs at about the back of the bowling shoe heel and the finger rotation occurs at the toes of the bowling shoe.
In looking at the swing from the side of the bowler, you will see an athletic posture with the head above the chin level and the knees flexed more than at set-up to ensure a solid platform from which the player can release the ball accurately and with balance.

“Follow Through” - The follow through is simply a result of what has happened in the down swing motion. In watching a great player's swing, the player will finish in a very balanced position with the majority of their weight on the front sliding foot and their chest facing the sighting target on the lane.

As you study the different elements of the great player's swings try to incorporate these into your own game.

By using the services of a bowling instructor or if you can video your game, you can see where you are in relationship to these great player’s checkpoints.

The more efficient your bowling swing becomes the better your scores will be.

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