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How To Begin The Bowling Back Swing, Originally Posted: 11/18/2010; Updated: 10/2/2023

The key components of an effective bowling arm swing are tempo direction. It helps to understand the components of an arm swing so let's examine how to begin the bowling back swing.

By moving the bowling ball held in front of your bowling shoulder in your stance position, regardless if you are holding the ball knee high, waist high, or shoulder level, toward your target on the lane, you will set the pace and the direction of your swing into motion. Try to sequence the beginning movement of the ball with the first step of a four step approach or slightly before the first step. Once the ball is in motion toward your target, seek a free, smooth, and uncontrolled back swing along your target path allowing the ball to reach its natural level of height directly behind your bowling shoulder at the completion of the back swing.

When learning how to begin the bowling back swing, you will find that your bowling arm will be fully extended at the completion of the "pushaway" motion and as the ball falls into the beginning portion of the back swing cycle. It helps to keep the muscles in your bowling arm and hand relaxed as you begin your back swing. Loose muscles move swiftly and smoothly. A consistent pace of back swing will help produce good speed control results. If you begin the swing motion with your ball directed toward your target on the lane and you allow the ball to swing freely, then your back swing will follow a good path aligned to your target and should arrive behind your bowling shoulder at the top of the back swing.

The height of your back swing will depend on several factors. How high you hold the ball from the floor in your stance position will influence the pace of the back swing once the ball begins swinging. How much you restrict the ball from swinging loosely and freely from your bowling shoulder during the back swing motion will influence the back swing height. Your physical stature contributes to the your level of flexibility and to how high the ball will swing in relation to shoulder level. Typically, the ball should swing to about shoulder level at the top of the back swing cycle.

Some bowlers with great flexibility have a naturally higher back swing than other bowlers. Some bowlers have a short swing radius and the ball will not reach shoulder level at the top of their back swing. Tall bowlers will typically have a back swing higher off of the floor than short players. Any number of back swing levels can be successful. So long as your back swing cycle moves freely and smoothly to the top of the back swing with little or no muscle restriction, then the height of your the back swing will be natural regardless of your physical stature. The strategy is to set the ball into a good position at the top of your back swing and aligned to your target.

The back swing is an important key to making accurate deliveries of the bowling ball. If you have any questions about swing techniques, we recommend you seek consultation with a certified bowling coach or with a top amateur/professional player in your area to work at improving the effectiveness of your arm swing.

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