By Lou Marquez on Nov 1, 2019 4:29:34 PM
It might sound strange to someone new to the sport, but one of the most important aspects of your arm swing actually comes from your footwork. Without the right footwork, your arm is forced to wrap around your hip with the ball, creating a hard-to-repeat swing that can drastically reduce your consistency at the release point.
Ideally, your arm swing will be straight all the way back and then forward again through the release. If you're walking to the line like you'd walk across the street, your hip is going to be in the way. We need to make sure we can clear your hip out of the way, allowing your arm to swing freely and in a straight, repeatable direction.
At the ITRC, we use a laser to illustrate what we want to see.
The key is a crossover step. It doesn't matter if you take four steps, five steps or any number of steps as long as you clear room for your pushaway and downswing by stepping directly in front of your opposite foot.
As I, a right-hander, demonstrate, my right foot steps directly in front of my left, in line with the laser. This clears my hips and allows me to drop the ball into the swing for a nice, straight swing.
Maybe you're thinking, "Great, Lou, but I don't have a laser lying around the house." That's okay. We use a laser here as it lets bowlers take full approaches at full speed, half speed and any speed we want during our lessons without fear of players sticking or mucking up their bowling shoes.
One great thing about this drill is you not only don't need a laser, but you don't even need a bowling center. A piece of 3M painters masking tape in your garage will do the trick. With the permission of your local proprietor, you may be able to put a piece of masking tape on the approach as well (assuming you clean up after yourself when you're finished, of course).
At home, you can practice as long as you want, developing the muscle memory of clearing your hips out of the way of the arm swing by using the crossover step. Record video of yourself walking the line to track your progress. It might feel strange at first, but once you get comfortable with it, you'll be in love with the crossover step.
When you take it to the lanes, with a real ball and at full speed, you'll see how valuable it is to clear your hips out of the way earlier, allowing your pushaway and downswing to fall in line and making your shots easier to repeat.