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"The Bowling Book"

4 Step vs 5 Step Approach
You will hear people talk about your approach to the lane. This is a subject that people are always talking about. Do you use a 4 step or a 5 step approach? How do you decide which one is for you?

4 Step Approach

The 4 step approach consists of 4 steps (duh!).

The first step is the pushout. When you take this step, you push the ball out from its starting position towards the lane. This step is crucial for the stroke of the ball. If you push out in a downward motion, you will slow the ball down (see pendulum in next paragraph), if you push out in a upward motion, you will speed the ball up. Each of these could be done on purpose depending on what you are attempting to do with the shot. This step will also set the tempo of the approach. This is a vital part of your bowling shot. The speed of your approach will determine the speed of the ball going down the lane.

The second step is the beginning of the pendulum motion. The swing has to be a natural motion. It is important that you allow the ball to fall without forcing it into motion. On this step you will allow the ball to fall and begin a natural swing motion. The second and third steps kind of run into each other, and the pendulum can be different for everyone.

The third step is the continuation of the pendulum motion to the back and starting back towards the lane. It is important that you do this without speeding or slowing the ball down in any way (easier said than done!). Just allow the ball to flow with gravity and continue in a natural motion toward the lane.

The fourth and final step is the slide and follow through. You needto be especially careful to not overdo this step. If you throw the ball to hard, it will probably stay to the right of the head pin and you will probably leave pins. If you throw the ball to soft, it will probably end up on the left of the head pin, or worse, through the middle of the rack (a split, ahhh!). I can't emphasize how important it is to keep the motion smooth and natural.


5 Step Approach

The 5 step approach consists of the 4 step approach with an additional step at the beginning.

The first step in the 5 step approach is a speed step. It is used to set the pace for the shot. Usually the ball doesn't move during this step. This allows for one less thing to worry about in the first step of your approach (see first step of 4 step approach). A lot of bowlers use this step to setup the shot. It is a starter step that you can use to make sure that your speed is what you want it to be.

The other 4 steps of this approach are the same (more or less) as the 4 step approach outlined above. Some bowlers incorporate the fifth step into their approach and make the 5 step approach one smooth motion.

Which one should I use?

The 5 step approach is used by most higher average bowlers. This is not to say that you can't be a higher average bowler if you don't use it, but you will find most higher average bowlers do use it. That said, the 4 step approach is the one to start with if you are just beginning to bowl. The 4 step approach is used by just about every bowler when they begin to bowl. It is much easier to do than the 5 step, and you can always adjust to the 5 step approach when you feel more comfortable with your approach and are developing your own style (see my article, Improve Your Score With Style for more information on establishing your own style).




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