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Jeff Piroozshad's Expert Bowling Tips

-Avoid Body Turning

8/30/1999 - By Jeff Piroozshad
     In any sport, developing and maintaining one's balance is crucial to success. In tennis, getting ready to return your opponent's serve is a key moment when balance is needed. Similarly, baseball infielders need to keep their weight balanced between their left and right sides while they anticipate the arrival of a sharp line drive. One could go on, rattling off every sport, but we are bowlers. We are athletes. We require balance throughout the delivery of the ball. This tip will focus on one of the common problems bowlers have in maintaining balance at the foul line, and there are several. Some bowlers straighten up, not keeping their knee bent. Some lean over either too far or not enough with their upper bodies. There are also a great many who open their body excessively after the ball is released.

     "What?" you're probably thinking. "But I already let go. What harm could happen if I turn my body after the ball is already gone?" It is not what happens after release that is the problem. The red flag goes up when the bowler realizes that something is happening during release that is causing the turned body. The open body is caused by a bowler who has too much momentum and force at the point of release. Generally, this translates into a bowler who pushes, or throws, the ball down the lane rather than let it roll freely off the bowler's hand. The result is usually a bowling ball that is not very accurate from shot to shot, either in speed, revolutions, line or angle, who knows? If at the foul line one's body generates this excess force, then the body has to compensate somehow. The body wants to go forward with the ball. It can't stop. But it does. That black line between the approach and the lane makes the body stop. The body doesn't want to go over the line, so it sends the "All engines, full stop!" command to the legs. The body does stop, but all that excess force has to go somewhere. That is what makes the body turn. The body won't go forward, but it will open up very easily, and the bowler finds him or herself pointing about 10-15 lanes to the right (right-handed bowler) often.

     In conclusion, the turned body is a sure sign that the bowler does not have a free armswing, and that a loss of accuracy is the result. Repetition is the name of the game. High-skilled bowlers repeat shot after shot after shot with little or no variance. This is not possible until the armswing is as free as can be. One of the results: Body turning. The objective should not be to keep the body square at the line, rather it should be to free up the swing more and more until the body fixes itself.


-Balance

??/??/???? - By Jeff Piroozshad
     Probably the most important part of the game, and most underrated by low and middle-skill players, is balance. One must be balanced at the foul line in order to be able to repeat shots consistently. Repetition is the name of the game. There are many bowlers out there who throw phenomenal balls. You'll find bowlers in every league who get incredible power on their shots, however without the skill to repeat those shots it's practically meaningless. Balance is the gateway towards shot repetition.

     You've all heard the manta before. "Keep a good knee bend." Great advice, but there's more to it than that. First of all, a bowler must be able to keep the sliding knee bent throughout the release of the ball, and especially after the release of the ball. If the knee starts to come up during release, the bowler will undoubtedly hit up on the ball. It will undoubtedly vary from one shot to the next depending on both when and how much the knee comes up. Because it is practically impossible to control how much your knee comes up, there is no way to get a consistent release. But what about after the release? Surely, you say, if the ball is already gone off my hand, nothing I do will have any effect on the ball. This is true, but can you really afford to take the chance that every so often the knee won't come up during the release instead of afterwards? After all, we're only talking about a fraction of a second time difference here. It can happen, it does happen, and it most definitely will happen. The only way to prevent it is to keep the knee bent for as long as possible. One method is to keep the knee bend until you see the ball roll off the pin deck after hitting the pins.

     What about the upper body? "My knee is bent but I still fall off to the side after every shot." Two key points relating to upper body positioning are notable. First of all, the bowling shoulder must not droop down during the delivery -- the shoulders should be on as level a plane as humanly possible. Leverage in the release comes from the fingers, but also from the shoulder maintaining its position. This shoulder up position also keeps the upper body perpendicular with the floor, the most effective position in which the bowler may create leverage and release power with the lower body. The second key is the chin. The chin should be directly above the knee. Try it right now -- get up and take a short slide forward. Make sure your chin is above your sliding leg's knee. Now, WITHOUT MOVING YOUR CHIN FROM DIRECTLY ABOVE THE KNEE, try to fall off to the side. Remember to keep that chin above the knee no matter what. You will not be able to fall off to the side; it is physically impossible. Keep the chin above the knee -- that's the key. Also, you'll note that once you get your chin above your knee your shoulders automatically level out. Coincidence? I think not.


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