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Testing The Bowling Approaches

Maintaining good body balance when sliding into the foul line is an important key to bowling accuracy and consistent shot making. If you are a new bowler, or even perhaps an experienced one, it is wise to make practice slides before you begin bowling.

Ensuring you can make smooth slides into the foul line each delivery accomplishes two important things; making certain you can safely slide without any danger of slipping or sticking, which might cause injury and secondly, retaining good bowling balance so you can make an accurate shot.

Testing all portions of the sliding area of the approach before making warm up deliveries and while wearing your bowling shoes at the beginning of your session on the lanes is a smart habit to develop. Learn about the sliding conditions on the given approaches of the lanes you will be using, at least in the first game of your competition.

Make practice slides without your bowling ball in hand using an approximate amount of sliding momentum you will use when you bowl. Slide first in the center area of the approaches of your starting pair of lanes and then slide near the corners of the approaches. By doing so, you learn if you can make normal, smooth slides when you adjust your strike positioning or when you adjust your positioning to convert spares, particularly corner pin spares.

If you bowl on synthetic lanes (most bowling centers today use synthetic lane surfaces and approaches), it is especially important to check the sliding areas of the approaches. Previous bowlers may have caused the approaches to wear “sticky spots” in common sliding areas due to sliding friction of many earlier bowlers sliding in the same place on the approaches.

In this case, the bowling desk can send someone to use an approach cleaner substance and wipe the area with the purpose of removing the “sticky spots.” Caution should be taken to make additional practice slides after the brief maintenance to make sure the approach does not become overly slippery.

More often than not, the corners of the approaches will be slippery from less use during the day so caution should be taken when making practice slides so you avoid slipping excessively when you use those portions of the approach for corner pin spares.

There can also be “sticky spots” in the middle sections of approaches if previous bowlers leave rubber streaks on the floors from either poor sliding techniques or because open play bowlers may have worn athletic shoes instead of bowling shoes. Bowlers who may have stepped in chewing gum or other undesirable substances may have left “sticky spots” you will certainly want to avoid.

Wooden approaches typically will have inconsistent sliding areas near the foul line if the amount of approach finish applied used on the approach floors during periodic approach screening maintenance wears over time and is not consistent across the lane. Over time, the finish can wear off key sliding areas and that can cause high friction, “sticky spots” you will need to be aware of before you begin bowling.

Using sliding substances, such as approach powder, is not an approved practice by USBC rules of play. If someone does use these substances, then we hope they please use them in moderation by applying limited amounts to the bottom of your sliding bowling shoe and testing the sliding area again before assuming you will safely and smoothly slide into the line. Try and avoid using powder (never apply it directly to the approach surface because it is in violation of the rules) not only to prevent potential injury from slipping and falling but to avoid others bowling on your lanes to experience the same.

Testing the bowling approaches before beginning bowling makes sound sense and can set you in a path to bowling well and attaining good scores.