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Dropping Your Bowling Shoulder

Updated 6/17/2020

Is dropping your bowling shoulder a bad thing?

Not at all - not if you are a player who hooks the ball and seeks an inside to outside swing path. Dropping your bowling shoulder can be an advantage to those bowlers who hook and create a wide delivery angle down the lane to the break point.

There was a time in history when bowlers did not hook the ball as sharply as today and tended to use a level shoulder relationship when they bowled. Today’s game is different and we see many delivery styles compared to years past.
The bowling equipment of yesteryear did not have the aggressive hook potential ratings as do the bowling balls of today. Because of the older equipment which did not promote a strong hook motion, bowlers would not lower their bowling shoulder nearly as much as can be done today under the right circumstances.

Years ago, bowlers were relying on a more direct line to the pocket than today’s players and maintaining a level shoulder relationship assisted those players in delivering the bowling ball accurately to the pocket.

If you are a “Stroker” delivery style bowler today, one who delivers the ball on an up-the-boards line to your target, then dropping the shoulder can cause your swing to mis-align to your target path and might result in pulling the ball inside your sighting target.

If this is the case with your game, then using a level shoulder relationship during your approach, like bowlers of years past, will certainly promote accuracy and speed control.

It is generally best for direction players who only have a slight hook delivery to keep the bowling shoulders level to one another, or perhaps only one or two inches lower than the non-bowling shoulder.

When the shoulders are reasonably level during your approach, it is fairly easy to keep your swing aligned to the desired swing path and to the target on the lane.

For bowlers who use a strong hook delivery style, such as “Power Tweeners” and “Power Players”, dropping the shoulder to create perhaps as much as a 35 or 40 degrees of shoulder angle can be useful in getting the ball on the lane surface quickly and “reving-up” to combat heavy oil conditions, for example.

Also, dropping the shoulder helps strong hook ball players playing a deep inside delivery angle, perhaps fourth arrow or fifth arrow, or yet further inside.

If you are a "Power Player" playing a deep inside angle, you can open your shoulders and hips during your back swing. When your shoulders close as your forward swing approaches your delivery zone, your lower bowling shoulder can be open in relationship to your sighting target and can, therefore, accommodate a wide delivery angle down the lane to the break point.

There are "Power Players" in today’s professional game, however, who use fairly level shoulders when they bowl because they choose to get considerable loft on the ball and deliver the ball well over the foul line.

When any player who hooks the ball a great deal wishes to get the ball on the lane surface quickly, creating a wide angle to the break point and picking up fast revs, then lowering the bowling shoulder perhaps four or five inches lower than the opposite shoulder will help the cause.

Some experimentation is necessary if you wish to learn how much you should lower your bowling shoulder when playing various delivery angles on the lane.

We at always recommend to consult your own professional instructor when working on your alignment and on your shoulder positioning during your approach and delivery.

Your coach can easily watch to make sure your swing takes a proper path matching to the delivery angle you have chosen to play.

Regardless of how much you hook the ball, dropping your bowling shoulder can be useful if you understand when to do so and how much your shoulders are lowered to match with your desired swing path.

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