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The Proper Bowling Stance Explained

Nov 25, 2007
Because it is the first step in bowling, the stance is one of the most important phases of the bowling game. It's the point of origin and should be standardized.

You should have a very definite way to place your feet every time you go up to bowl. The ball should always be held in the same place in respect to your body.

Above all, both of these factors should be maintained so that you are the most comfortable. If you're comfortable, you're not even going to notice the weight of the ball. You're off on the "right foot" because you have already learned how to stand. Certainly, the first few times you try to bowl, even if your stance is comfortable, you're going to be nervous; you're trying something new. But if you are comfortable up there, that nervousness won't stay with you very long.

Presuming you are a four-step bowler, go to the foul line, turn around so that your heels are about four or five inches away from the line and then take four normal steps away from the lane. Then take an extra half-step for good measure to allow for your slide.

Wherever you are at this point, turn around and face the lane. Look down at your feet. Where they are is your point of origin and it won't vary no matter when or where you bowl. Your distance from the foul line should thus be determined, whether you are shooting for strikes or spares.

However, in this day and age, because of new and fancy ball returns, change in surroundings from one house to another, etc., it is suggested that you always pace off this distance from the foul line before taking your stance.

If you are a three-step bowler, pace off three and one half steps. If you use five steps, pace off five and one half, etc. Now you are in the proper position to take your stance.

If you are right-handed, make sure your left foot is a few inches ahead of your right foot. It will make for more comfort. Also as a beginner, have your left foot either in line with the center of the lane or slightly to the right of center. Your shoulders should be parallel to the foul line. Now you're ready to consider what stance you should use.

Basically, there are only three types of stance. In one, the ball is held in front of the face, leaving just enough room for the eyes so you can see where you're going. A second stance has the ball held so that its base is about even with the bowler's waist. A third stance has the ball held low and at arm's length.

So far as the position of the body is concerned, comfort is the whole thing. Some bowlers find it more comfortable to stand up straight; others bend over slightly and still others lean way over.

Each has its advantages, but a slight bend at the waist is favored by most top bowlers. Most beginners are inclined to stand erect. There's nothing really wrong with this, but don't hold yourself to it. Try the other styles and determine which is most comfortable and produces the highest pinfall.

During the past several years, another style has come into being and it has several variations. A few of our leading bowlers hold the ball well over on the right side (being right-handed, of course), claiming that this allows them to go into their swing with greater ease.

Choose one of these stances that are most comfortable to you and stay with it. Remember practice makes perfect.
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They Laughed When I Said I Wanted To Bowl, But When I Bowled 7 Strikes In a Row...

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