Professional bowlers would have you believe that bowling is an easy game. They land strike after strike seemingly effortlessly, giving commoners like us the confidence to think we can do the same.
Of course, most of us end up failing miserably in our attempts, which only further proves one thing already well-known among the experts — bowling involves more than meets the eye. Numerous variables contribute to the execution of a perfect strike.
Today, we will discuss one of the variables that can help you to become a better bowler. Something as simple as knowing where to position your lower body when bowling will help you greatly on your journey to becoming an accomplished bowler.
Where to Stand From the Foul Line?
A foul line separates the bowling lane from the bowling approach area, and a bowler should release the ball right at the line or before it. Crossing even one foot over the line results in a foul and an invalid pin score.
So you have to set up your standing position, approach, and release while keeping the foul line in mind. Fortunately, the presence of markings in the approach area can help you set up for success.
- To know where you must stand, walk towards the end of the bowling approach area and stop 2 inches from the foul line. Be careful not to meet the foul line.
- Now, walk away from the foul line towards the lounging area and stop when you have taken 5 steps. This is where you must stand before your approach to the lane.
With that being said, it’s important to understand that where you stand eventually depends on you. Many take more steps back when determining their starting position to gather more momentum and increase bowling ball speed during release.
There aren’t hard and fast rules for determining the starting position in bowling. You may even have to recalibrate your starting position several times during your game.
However, if you find yourself struggling for consistency, consider this tip: if your bowling balls miss the pins by passing through them on the left side, move towards the left on your approach. If your ball is missing the pins by being too far to the right, move your feet and angle your shoulders a bit towards the right.
You usually miss the pins when you release the ball and hook too early. Placing your feet towards the same direction of your misses will give a new angle to your strike ball, preventing early hooking of the ball by forcing it to travel farther down the lane surface.
How and Where to Place Your Feet?
Now that you are aware of where you must stand, the next thing you should concentrate on is the placement of your feet.
You can use the guide dots and boards to expertly set your feet. Many use the three sets of dots on the approach area, while some rely on the second arrow.
No bowler is the same; bowlers have varying styles, techniques, and different approaches. So it would be incorrect to generalize everyone and suggest the perfect feet placement spot.
However, getting a general idea of where your feet should be placed can help you to maintain good balance and good posture. It will be a good starting point for you and you can then adjust accordingly, whether you’re a right-handed bowler or belong to the community of left-handed bowlers.
- If your right hand is your dominant hand (right-handers), line up your left foot with the center dot.
- Lefties (left-handers) should also line up on the center dot; however, they should place their right foot in line with the dot instead.
- The other (slide) foot should be placed about 2 inches behind the left foot (righties) or right foot (lefties).
How to Position Your Body?
Let’s discuss the best body position for a smooth release.
To deliver striking shots to the lane, your body position must be thoroughly relaxed, balanced, and upright. Improper form and tight muscles can result in slower swings and less power in your shots.
- Keep your knees relaxed and bend them to a small degree so that you are bent slightly over.
- Keep the bowling ball at waist height or higher. Many choose a hand position that keeps the ball at chest height for a greater swing arc and more power in the ball.
- When you secure the bowling ball, hold it towards the same side of your body as your dominant bowling hand. Don’t develop the bad habit of securing the ball in the center of your body, because doing so results in an uneven arm swing trajectory and leads to injuries and erratic shots.
- For a smooth stroke, a bowler should swing the arm and bowling hand smoothly in an oscillatory motion.
- Have your body in a slightly sloping position with your head upright and focused on the pin deck.
Through regular bowling practice, you will be able to identify a reliable starting position that works best for you. Take note that it’s always best to adjust according to your dominant hand (right for right-handed bowlers, left for left-handed ones).
Stick to the routine and memorize it. After working with the routine long enough, you will be able to fine-tune your game and adjust your starting position based on the hundreds of shots you’ve delivered from your default starting position.
How to Settle Your Nerves?
Regardless of preparation, most bowlers still deal with nerves in crunch-time moments.
The nervous energy can cause tightness in the muscles and affect our mental game too. During such instances, it is necessary to settle the nerves.
An easy way to do this is to have a mental checklist of things you need to do to bowl desirably.
Check the following before delivery:
- Are you standing in your reliable starting position?
- Is your foot positioned on the suitable center dot?
- Do you have your ball at the appropriate height?
- Is your bowling stance correct?
Now, focus on a lane target, visualize your shot, mind the release point, and go through your delivery with no hesitation.
The age-old adage “practice makes perfect” rings true when identifying the standing position best suited for your game.
Now that you have a general idea of where you should stand, what you must do next is work through your approach routine and find a tried and tested method of bowling well consistently. Be confident that you will find what works best for you — all it takes is a healthy dose of trial and error.