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Bowling Tune-Up Checklist

If you are a bowler averaging between 140 and 170, then you are likely in need of a bowling tune-up checklist to help in straightening out a few things in your physical game. It is surprising how many bowlers spend too little time working to manage their physical game skills, particularly before competition like leagues or tournaments.

We at bowlingball.com wish to provide this bowling tune-up checklist of physical game practice drills to help you sharpen your skills:

Set-Up: Set your spine angle about 10 degrees forward tilt and make sure your bowling shoulder is no more than an inch or so lower than your non-bowling shoulder. Maintain a normal amount of knee flex in your set-up. Your weight should be distributed fairly evenly over both bowling shoes. Perhaps place a bit more weight on the foot not used in your first step of the approach.

Footwork: Walk lightly and smoothly to the foul line and avoid digging into the floor and lunging into your slide step. A smooth tempo with your footwork is an important key in making a consistent approach. Even if you are a player with relatively fast footwork, do not exceed your usual pace of walking to the foul line. It is generally best make a smooth start with the first two steps of your approach to set the pace throughout the approach with emphasis on not hurrying the final two steps.

Balance: Keep your upper body from making unnecessary movements while walking to the foul line. Keep your head as motionless as possible throughout your approach. Try to maintain a consistent elevation from the floor while you walk to the line. If you are a power player and you hook the ball a great deal, avoid excessive opening and closing of your bowling shoulder beyond your norm during the arm swing cycle. If you are a direction player who does not hook the bowling ball a great deal, then try to keep the front portion of your bowling shoulder aligned with your target on the lane.

Swing: Work on a consistent timing sequence to initiate the swing. If you use a long push-away, make sure you trigger the movement early enough and do not retard the arm swing movement by holding the ball instead of allowing it to drop into the swing freely and smoothly with a continuous movement. If you use a short push motion or allow your ball to fall straight toward the floor when beginning the swing, try to avoid using too much arm tension forcing the ball to the top of the back swing.

Arm tension is a major reason for ineffective swings. When your bowling hand reaches the top of your back swing, allow gravity to help the ball fall into the forward swing smoothly and consistently without "grabbing" at the ball with your bowling hand in anticipation of the delivery.

Release: If you hook the bowling ball, try to rotate the ball as your hand reaches your bowling shoe of your sliding step. You may exit your thumb from the ball prior to your hand reaching the release zone but avoid rotating your hand until your bowling fingers arrive at the laces of your sliding shoe. Regulate the moment of release by keying your thumb to exit the ball at the same relative position each delivery.

A good key is to focus on speed control. Consistent ball speed allows for the release to repeat effectively time after time. Often times, bowlers try to do much to the ball by trying to help the ball hook instead of relying on the physics of the game and the dynamics of the bowling ball coupled with proper alignment to do the job. Release the ball without forcing an abrupt lifting action onto the ball.


Finish & Focus: Work on holding your form at the line after you release the ball until your ball passes the targeting arrows. In fact, if you can hold your form motionless until the ball contacts the pins, then your balance is solid. Focus your eyes on your down-lane target until the ball passes the target. Do not diminish the importance of focusing on your target with intensity and concentration throughout each delivery. Place full commitment to hitting your target.

Consult with your personal certified coach/instructor or a local bowling professional if you are having problems tuning up your game. This bowling tune-up checklist can help you self-monitor your physical game between visits with your coach. Work on your strengths and you will sharpen your skills.

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