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Bowling Timing For the Four Step Approach

If you are a beginner bowler or a newcomer to the game, it is important to develop good physical game fundamentals. A very important key in making a good approach is bowling timing for the four step approach. The objective of any bowler is to develop good footwork, a sound and simple arm swing technique, and a relative synchronization of the footwork and the swing. Learning the coordination of bowling timing for the four step approach will help you develop a consistent release of the bowling ball and will help you maintain alignment and directional control to the target.

Bowling timing is best described as the relationship between your footwork and arm swing. Using a four step approach as the model where a right handed bowler steps first with the right foot, then the beginning of the swing should move the bowling arm from the set-up position where the ball is held near the body to an extended position by placing the elbow in a full arm extension toward the target. Achieving an outward, downward and uninterrupted motion to begin a free and uncontrolled back-swing along the desired path will set the beginning of the arm swing effectively.

Beginning the “pushaway” motion slightly ahead of the first step will trigger a good timing sequence. Be careful to not hold the ball from maintaining a continuous motion once the "pushaway" begins and while you begin the first step of the approach. Once you begin your first step, your footwork will catch up with the swing momentum once the “pushaway” motion initiates the cycle and continues into the back swing.

By far, bowlers struggling with their timing do not begin the “pushaway” motion until after one complete step is taken. Moving the first step before beginning the swing cycle reduces the effectiveness of your approach to three steps instead of the full four steps. This late “pushaway” sequence leads to incomplete or hurried back-swing motions and a controlled or hurried forward-swing motion.

An earlier timing cycle by moving the ball soon enough as to allow the bowling ball to begin the down swing and the back swing motion after the first step is completed and the second step begins will produce favorable timing. Most coaches prefer teaching an earlier beginning of the swing cycle as opposed to a late-timing sequence.

The vast majority of top-performing players in the world use an earlier “pushaway” motion so the swing cycle has plenty of time to complete itself and produce an effective release and follow-through motion. It can be said that the “pushaway” motion controls the timing sequence and sets the swing into a proper path aligned to the target.

Beginning the swing at a proper time in relation to the first step is only one key in good timing. It is also important to maintain the pace of the footwork ideally to match the pace of the swing and both should be in a consistent tempo throughout the entire approach. Organizing your steps and swing into a pace not too slow as to prohibit a free swinging arm motion or too quickly as to hurry the forward swing and bowling ball release motion is essential to good timing.

The phenomenon known as “good timing” simply means that the footwork and arm swing are sequenced together and the tempo matches one another producing consistency from delivery to delivery. It is best to learn the key components of good timing by using the four step approach. The four step approach is a proven and well-tested method of learning to bowl over many years by successful coaches.


We recommend consulting a certified bowling coach or a professional instructor to help you develop good timing and build a dependable four step approach. The cost of a bowling lesson can be less than the price of a new bowling ball or a pair of bowling shoes. Kindly give strong consideration to using the services of a bowling coach to help you develop good timing.

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