Article Contents

  • 1. Analysis points
    • 1.1. Early upper body space creation
    • 1.2. Space at the top of the swing
    • 1.3. Shoulder abduction at the top of the swing
    • 1.4. Ball-side shoulder movement in the downswing
    • 1.5. Torso position at release
    • 1.6. Release to follow through direction
  • 2. Physical game review
    • 2.1. Early upper body space creation (70 percent)
    • 2.2. Space at the top of the swing (100 percent)
    • 2.3. Shoulder abduction at the top of the swing (100 percent)
    • 2.4. Ball-side shoulder movement in the downswing (100 percent)
    • 2.5. Torso position at release (50 percent)
    • 2.6. Release to follow through direction (80 percent)
  • 3. Comparison index
  • 4. Concluding remarks

At the top levels of elite sports, athletes’ physical movements efficiently produce kinetic energy, leading to maximum energy transfer. Put simply, top athletes use their bodies to produce and transfer energy to move, throw, or strike an object or person with maximum effectiveness. Bowling is no different. Most of the world’s best bowlers have key similarities in their biomechanical approaches. But what are these comparable movements, and how many of them does each world-class kegler possess?

To find out, this article sets out to review the physical game similarities and differences of the top 10 bowlers on the 2021 PBA points list:

  1. Kyle Troup
  2. Chris Via
  3. Tom Daugherty
  4. Jakob Butturff
  5. Francois Lavoie
  6. Anthony Simonsen
  7. EJ Tackett
  8. Kristopher Prather
  9. Sam Cooley
  10. Jesper Svensson

At first glance, you may not immediately see similarities between some of the bowlers on this list. From a macro level, we have the unusual stylings of Tom Daugherty and Jakob Butturff, we have four two-handers, two lefties, and one bowler with a rev rate at or below 400 RPM. How much can they possibly have in common?

My goal is to share high-impact analysis points so you will potentially begin to see the physical game through a new lens. As a caveat, this is not an exhaustive list of analysis points. For example, I have not included high-frequency characteristics such as a bent elbow in the downswing and wrist flexion into the release. Both of these lower the fingers below the equator of the ball and produce the potential for a higher rev rate. This is already well-documented.

I also did not include a review of a longer elbow extension, which is present with most bowlers at the elite level. In addition, I didn’t review downswing angle, as the majority of elite professionals have a downswing that moves into the body from the top of the swing. If this topic is unfamiliar to you, please read my ...

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Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is a freelance bowling coach who works with bowlers around the globe. He is currently on assignment with the Philippines. Slowinski is the former Director of Bowling at Lincoln Memorial University, where he served as Program Administrator and Head USBC Collegiate Men’s and NCAA Women’s Coach. The Portland, Maine native has served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is also the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. He has coached international teams at the World Championships, Pan American Games, South American Games, and European Championships, helping Belgium win a Gold medal at the 2022 EBF Championship of Champions and coaching Brazil to Gold medals at the 2015 Pam American Games and the 2014 South American Games. He was the 2018 NTCA DII/III Coach of the Year and the 2010 NCBCA Men’s College Coach of the Year.