Welcome back bowlers!! I hope everyone is excited about the new bowling season that’s fast approaching, or you have already started, like I have. Maybe you still want to be out on the golf course and you’re not ready to hit the maple just yet. That’s o.k.
This week I want to talk about your arm swing and how to help correct a couple flaws or bad habits that you might have. Ultimately I am here to share my knowledge of the sport and my experiences in the great sport of bowling. This week’s tip is about keeping a free loose arm swing and its benefits. We are also going to touch on the issues you can have when you don’t keep a free arm swing.
Let me define what I mean by having a free arm swing. There is this thing that we all deal with on a daily basis; it’s called gravity. What is gravity? Gravity is the natural force of attraction exerted by a celestial body, such as Earth, upon objects at or near its surface, tending to draw them toward the center of the body. Ok enough of the physics 101. How does gravity affect your delivery? When a bowler starts their approach and the first motion to generate an arm swing, gravity is pulling that object closer to the ground. When and object, like a bowling ball is started into a descending motion it will gravitate back to the original spot from which it came. Did I lose you? When a bowler starts their approach they must also start their arm swing. Either on the first step, if you use a four step approach or your second step if you use a five step approach. The weight of the bowling ball will start your arm in a decent from the starting position and end up in what is called your back swing. When your bowling ball has reached its highest point gravity takes over again and brings your arm swing back towards the original starting position, or in this instance your swing reaches your release point.
Still with me! Let’s talk about what happens when you use muscle or resistance in your arm swing. If you want to be the muscle and feel like you have to take the bowling ball back to your back swing, then you are also using muscle to bring the ball back to you release point. Now when you use muscle or resistance are you going to be able to keep that object (bowling ball) on the same exact path as it went back and bring it forward? Think about that for a second. The answer is not all the time. So my first tip is don’t muscle the arm swing!
Let’s look at what happens when we use our friend gravity. If you let gravity take the bowling ball back to your back swing then you must let gravity bring it back forward to your release point. In that last sentence did it seem like that would be easier on your body? How about consistency? If you let gravity take the bowling ball back and let it bring the swing back forward wouldn’t you be more consistent? Not to mention that by doing this you have eliminated an outside force that can alter this muscle!
How do you work on letting gravity do its intended job? The first tip; simply put your non bowling hand under the bowling ball at your starting position. By doing this you have taken the weight of the bowling ball off your bowling hand and arm, and transferred that weight to the opposite hand. Once you start to make your approach imagine that your non bowling hand is a trap door. Once you move that hand away from the bottom of the bowling ball the weight of the bowling ball will take your arm swing back into your back swing. What happens next? Gravity comes into play again and starts your bowling ball on it’s decent back to your release and finish position. Pretty simple huh?
Let’s recap on how to achieve and practice a free arm swing.
1. Put the weight of the bowling ball in the non bowling hand.
2. Once you start your approach move that hand from underneath the bowling ball.
3. Visualize the trap door.
4. Let gravity take over.
Until next week, I bid you good bowling, high scores, and I look forward to reading all your comments and questions on this tip, or any other tips that I have posted in the past. Remember you can always email your questions to me as well. Tune in next week to learn more about bowling balls and what bowling ball drillings can do to enhance your game.
T.J. Yeip is the Manager of GLC Bowling and the Lead Technical Advisor. He is an IBPSIA Advanced Certified Member and former PBA member. You can email your questions to him personally at firstname.lastname@example.org