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LOFTY EXPECTATIONS: Single-leg Squats Will Get Your Body Prepared For The Introduction Of Loft To Your Shot Arsenal

By Nick Bohanan

Since Bryan O’Keefe’s Technique article this month focuses on using loft, it seems appropriate to discuss a few exercises that will help you get more comfortable adding loft to your game.

The misconception most bowlers have is that loft comes primarily from the upper body. In reality, you create loft by adjusting your lower-body position. The key is to use your normal delivery, but do not get as low with your knee bend. The result is that your release is slightly higher than with your normal delivery.

There are a few exercises that will help you get accustomed to that difference in your knee bend. We’ve discussed single-leg balance exercises before, but a good way to prepare for what your body position should feel like when lofting the ball is what I call one-legged mini squats.

Put yourself in the finish position, with your trail leg behind you, but your trail-leg foot a few inches off the ground. Maintaining your upper-body posture, squat partway down and hold your position for 30 seconds. Relax, then squat again going a little farther down and hold that position for 30 seconds. Finally, go as low as you can on one leg while maintaining your balance and hold that position for 30 seconds.

The benefit of building various tiers is to get your body comfortable with each level. This will help when you want to loft the ball because you’ll know what it feels like to maintain good balance at a slightly higher tier. Once you become comfortable maintaining balance at those different levels, you can make the exercise more dynamic by moving your trail leg around while holding your finish position. Move your trail leg to the side and even out in front of you while maintaining balance on your slide foot. It’s important to maintain your center of gravity and not rise up or go lower while moving the trail leg. This is a great way to further improve your balance.

Finally, try holding your position at various levels and swinging your arm while holding a small weighted ball. (Do not try this using a bowling ball.) Work on projecting the ball without actually letting go of it. This exercise will give you a sense of the difference between your normal release and lofting the ball.

If your body is better prepared for this added element to your game, your chances of success and consistently also will be improved.

— Nick Bohanan is Performance Specialist for the United States Bowling Congress.