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Your Bowling Swing Slot

It is surprising how often bowlers will allow their bodies to dictate their swing path as the ball makes it's way from the backswing to delivery. In many cases, these bowlers find their hips and legs get in the way of the swing path. In order to avoid bouncing the bowling ball off of an ankle or hip, these bowlers arc the ball around their hips causing the bowling ball to veer from a natural swing path.

The swing path is a composite path encompassing the backswing and forward swing in relation to the sighting target on the lane. If a bowler hooks the ball, the forward swing path becomes an inside-to-outside path to allow for the ball to follow an intended direction from the moment of release and head toward the sighting target.

If you have a good footwork, walking pattern, and your hips and leg stay out of the way of your intended swing path, regardless if you hook the ball a great deal or only slightly, you can effectively play any delivery angle on the lane.

If your feet walk in front of your swing path, you risk having your bowling ball bounce off of your hip or legs on both the backswing and forward swing. Walking in front of your swing path causes you to re-route your swing to avoid hitting your leg or hip.

When re-routing your swing path, you lose the ability to allow the natural freedom of your swing to repeat consistently. You risk delivering the ball off of your intended target line.

Bowlers will refer to the intended swing path as the swing slot. When your swing is in the slot, you can rely on a gravity or natural swing motion to create the tempo needed to release your ball at a desired ball speed and at the desired delivery angle.

When you are rolling for strikes and your swing becomes repetitive, you are likely allowing the ball to find it’s own swing slot and are hitting your target consistently.

Your body is very much involved in your arm swing.

If you develop a walking pattern where you do not move into the swing path on either the backswing or forward swing, your swing can find it's tempo and alignment path to the sighting target repeatedly.

Your goal must be to avoid walking in front of your swing path.

A straight line walking path is one method of allowing your swing to align to the sighting target. Another is to walk away from the swing path to avoid stepping into the swing path and having to re-route your swing.


Right handed bowlers can walk to the left from their initial alignment positioning on the approach and never get in the way of the swing path. By walking left, perhaps only four or five boards left, the forward swing path is in no danger of contacting the hip or leg and can easily create an inside-to-outside forward swing path.

If the walking pattern is in a straight line, a tucked forward swing path is needed in order to deliver the ball on a slight inside-to-outside line for those bowers who hook the ball.

An important key is to avoid walking in front of the swing path, which can occur by walking to the right. Walking right for right handed bowlers risks having the swing bounce out at the top of the backswing and take a less than intended swing path on the forward swing, just to avoid contacting the hip or ankle on the forward swing.

Old time coaches taught the walking to the right technique when bowlers used older equipment and did not hook the bowling ball nearly as much as today’s bowlers. Today, coaches generally instruct students to walk a straight line or walk slightly left to avoid hitting the hip or leg with the arm swing and to create plenty of opportunity for the swing to find its slot and release the ball toward the sighting target unimpeded.

If you develop good footwork walking lines, your job will become far easier to develop a natural swing and one which is repetitive and follows the proper swing path to the intended sighting target.

If you have any concerns with your walking lines or your present swing path, it is recommended to consult an experience bowling instructor and monitor your walking and swing techniques to gain the best advantages you can by using the strengths of your game.