Free Bowling Information Site Logo

Free Bowling Information for You!

"Everything You Need For Better Bowling"

Join Ezine!

Site Map

"The Bowling Book"

One-Step Approach
If you are beginning to bowl and want to improve your game, the one-step approach is the best way to learn how to properly finish your shot. This is a very important piece of the puzzle. Once you master the one-step approach, your scores will improve.

Don't do this! If you try to do all of this at once without taking it one step at a time, you will probably hurt yourself or someone else.

Here is the general idea of the one-step approach:

  1. Stand with your feet together about 3 feet from the foul line
  2. Swing the ball behind you
  3. When it begins its forward motion, slide with your slide foot (the one opposite the ball)
  4. Slide your other foot behind you as you release the ball onto the lane.
That's a lot to do all at once, so let's take it one step at a time. First of all, put your ball down. You will need to practice this without the bowling ball at least a couple of times before you proceed so that you have an idea of what you are doing before you put a weight on your bowling arm.

One-Step Approach: The Step

This is the key to your bowling shot. Although it may not seem like it now, it will ultimately be the most vital step in your shot and release. Let's begin with your feet. Line up with your feet together and knees comfortably bent about 3 feet from the foul line. Don't worry about lining up a shot yet, just put the center of your left shoe at the middle board of the lane (or any other board for that matter). Put your elbow beside your belly at a 90 degree angle with your hand palm up. Next, straighten your elbow by moving your hand toward the lane (this is called the "push-out"). Now, let your arm drop (as if the bowling ball was there) in a pendulum motion keeping your elbow straight and wait for it to get behind you. When your arm begins to swing forward, slide the foot opposite the hand where your ball would be towards the foul line and lean forward. As you slide, slide the other foot (your non-slide foot) on the toe behind your slide foot. Complete the arm swing and focus down the lane at the arrows. Your slide foot should end up close to the foul line without going over it.

When I say to line up with your feet together, I mean exactly that. The heels should be even and the sides should be touching, but not overlapping.

As you practice this, try to have your slide foot end up pointing at the same board every time. It doesn't have to be straight ahead of you. A lot of good bowlers have "drift" (mine is about 7 boards from where I start my 5 step approach), but for the one-step approach it should be a minimal drift, but it needs to be consistently the same (ideally you will have no drift).

Do this several times, until you are very comfortable doing it before you pick up your ball!

One-Step Approach: The Ball

Now we are going to go on to the ball. It is very important that you are comfortable doing the one-step approach without your ball before you pick it up. I am going to explain the basic ball movement here, for a straight bowler.

I feel it is very important that you have your own bowling ball. Also, for beginner bowlers, the best ball is a plastic ball. You don't need something that is going to move all over the lane on you when you are learning to bowl. That said, if you only bowl periodically or can't afford a bowling ball at this time; you can use a house ball (provided by the bowling alley).

If you need to use a house ball, be sure to find one that you are comfortable with (weight, span, hole sizes). The majority of house balls are hard plastic, so you can use the information in this section with a house ball; however, I recommend that you get a ball drilled for you as soon as you can if you are going to bowl regularly.

When you pick up your ball, always put your fingers in first and roll your thumb into the ball. Always use 3 fingers; your thumb, and the two between your index and pinky. Some bowlers think it is cool to use a two finger grip (no thumb), but my experience is that even the best of these bowlers have trouble controlling the roll of the ball down the lane. I don't even recommend trying this style as it is very hard on the wrist as well.

Since you are using a "conventional" grip, you will put your fingers in to the second knuckle and then roll your thumb into the thumb hole. You should have a comfortable grip on the ball and you don't want to have to squeeze it to hold it. If you have to squeeze the ball, you are more likely to drop it during the swing. This can be very dangerous for the others around you as well as the bowling alley.

When you swing the ball, there is a lot of force going with the ball and at the back of your swing, there will be pulling for the ball to let go. You need to be sure to be under control of your ball. So, the first step here is to just take your ball and swing it by your side a couple of times and make sure that it doesn't feel like it is going to fall off of your hand. Also be sure that it is not so snug that you can't get it off of your hand!

Be sure to swing the ball back and forth several times to be sure that you are in control of it.

All right, we're almost ready to throw the ball. There is one more thing that you need to learn: The Release. I just had you make sure that you wouldn't drop the ball, so how do you throw it?

One-Step Approach: The Release

Don't do this, just read. The release is something that you will have to work on when you are doing your one-step approach. The information here is to explain how you will let the ball go when you do the one-step approach.

Do not try to swing and release the ball from a standing position.

Put your fingers in your ball (as described above). When you start your pendulum motion, you will need to put your hand under your ball and allow the ball to fall naturally. When the ball reaches the spot that it is going to get to behind you (don't force it, just let gravity and physics take over), let it come back forward. At the lowest point, you want to release the ball.

Always keep your hand underneath (and behind) the ball (see above). At the lowest point of your forward swing, let your thumb fall out of the ball and continue your swing, allowing the ball to fall off of your fingers. Don’t stop. Continue to "follow through" the shot. Your hand should end up above your head when you complete your shot and your eyes should be on the arrows.

One-Step Approach: Put It Together!

Once you are sure that you can swing the ball in a controlled fashion and understand how to release it, you are ready to put it all together and, finally, throw the ball down the lane! Pick up your ball and put your fingers in it. Some people like to put their fingers in their ball on the ball return; be very careful if you do this, people have broken fingers that way (another ball comes out of the ball return and hits your ball).

Set up about 3 feet from the foul line, knees slightly bent, elbow beside your belly, hand palm up with the ball in it. It helps if you use your other hand to hold the ball in place. Here we go!

  • Push out…
  • Let it swing by your side (don’t force it), it should swing like a pendulum…
  • As soon as it gets to the height of the backswing, begin to slide with the foot opposite the hand that the ball is in …
  • On the downswing, when the ball is at its lowest point, let it roll off of your thumb and hen your fingers…
  • Finish the follow through…
Congratulations! You just threw your first "correct" bowling shot with the one-step approach. The one-step approach is a great way to learn how to finish your shot. You should continue to do the one-step approach until you are very comfortable with it.

Once you are very comfortable with the one-step approach, you can move on to more advanced techniques. The next step here is to see my article 4 Step vs 5 Step Approach, and utilize the information there to continue to work on your bowling style. Once you have completed that article, you can move on to Improve Your Score With Style, and from there progress on to some of the intermediate and advanced articles listed on the articles page.

Remember: Practice, Practice, and Practice some more….

If you are in a league, or bowl regularly you probably don't want to do this approach during your league. The other bowlers will more than likely ask you what you are trying to do and give you a hard time. The one-step approach is more of a learning approach that you do during your practice time. Platinum Author

As Featured on
Home - Articles - Links - SiteMap - Contact Us!
Copyright © 2006 - 2010
Free Bowling Information