A free armswing is one of the greatest assets for a solid fundamental game. Free armswings are the trademarks of bowling stars like Chris Barnes, Parker Bohn, Norm Duke, Pete Weber, and Walter Ray Williams…to name a few. During the earlier years of the PBA, Dave Davis, Tom Hennessey, George Pappas, Dick Ritger, Don Johnson, and Jim Stefanich bowled their way into a number of bowling Halls of Fame utilizing fluid free armswings with particularly impressive free swings that seemed driven purely by gravitational force. All of the aforementioned exemplified the proverbial ”poetry in motion”.

Nonetheless, free armswings can sometimes contribute to sub-par execution. Badly timed synchronization of arm and leg movement in the pushaway is particularly detrimental to hitting an ideal release point. It can lead to one of the most glaring mistakes that occur to a bowler: a weaker leverage point

This error can be baffling because in the attempt to execute a muscle-free undeterred swing, it’s difficult to distinguish an early swing from a perfectly executed shot. The tempo, the release, and the entire delivery seem satisfactory, yet the outcome and conclusion are less than adequate. The direction is spotty, and the desired power is sorely lacking. The failure in execution is virtually undetectable and becomes one of the most frustrating predicaments imaginable. Realistically, only an astute coach or a keen student of bowling would be capable of detecting causes for an early swing.

This dilemma isn’t confined to non-professional players. It has become a bugaboo for some of the top professionals on tour too. Brian Voss, arguably the most fundamentally sound player of the past two decades, is sporadically plagued by this enigmatic error. Voss has been consistent over the years, attested by his 24 titles. Yet, as he gets older, this chink in his armor has slowly but surely taken a toll on his game. The smooth stroker has been a picture-book bowler throughout his career. His textbook form is ...

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John Jowdy

About John Jowdy

John Jowdy has been a bowler, author, instructor, and speaker over the last 60 years. He was coach to some of the most successful bowlers on tour. John’s awards and accomplishments include: Bowling Coaches Hall of Fame, ABC and PBA Halls of Fame, International Bowling Coach of the Year. He was a contributing writer for Bowling This Month for 13 years. John Jowdy passed away in 2013 at age 93.