Article Contents

  • 1. Elements of the swing
    • 1.1. Swing time
    • 1.2. Swing height
    • 1.3. Swing shape
    • 1.4. Swing direction
  • 2. Tension-free versus muscle-free
    • 2.1. Elastic tension
    • 2.2. Muscle tension
  • 3. How high should the swing be?
    • 3.1. Dangers of a high backswing
  • 4. Starting the swing
  • 5. Types of bad swings
  • 6. Keys to an effective swing
    • 6.1. The “non-bowling” arm

As mentioned in my previous article, the modern bowling game centers around the swing. Because of this, it is both the most important and the first element of the game we should consider.

For this article, I’ll touch on the fundamental elements of the swing, discuss the two kinds of tension we can see in swings, and dig into the relationships between your swing and your stance, ball start, timing, and personal attributes. Finally, I’ll summarize the keys to an effective swing based on everything presented.

You’ll certainly be able to think of professional bowlers whose games do not reflect some of what I’m about to say. Remember that these bowlers are exceptions, and just because they are professionals doesn’t mean that their swings are the most efficient they can possibly be.

Let’s begin.

Elements of the swing

The modern swing can be said to have four quarters: the swing start, the backswing, the downswing, and the follow through. This article focuses on the first three pieces of the swing. Along with this way of dividing the swing into parts, we need to examine the fundamental characteristics of any swing. We’ll see that the first quarter of the swing—the swing start—has a big impact on these characteristics.

Swing time

Swing time is the length of time it takes to complete the swing. The longer the arm you have, the bigger the radius of your swing, which results in both a longer swing time and more ball speed. Because your swing time must match your approach time, you tend to see taller bowlers walking slower in order to stay in time with their swing.

All things considered, taller bowlers, such as Wes Malott, can walk slower and have a lower backswing while still generating the same speed as shorter bowlers, such as EJ Tackett, who has a higher swing and practically runs to the line.

Swing height

One of the most important principles to remember is that the swing should reach its apex using its own momentum. Generating more speed in the swing start by starting the movement effectively will result in a naturally higher swing, so part of our discussion will focus on the swing start in the modern game. We always want the ball to reach its ...

Juha Maja

About Juha Maja

Juha Maja is a professional bowling coach with over 20 years of experience. He has a professional coaching degree from the Kuortane Olympic Training Center, where he was also the former Director and Head Coach of their Bowling Training Center. In addition to being the former national team coach for Finland, Romania, and the Czech Republic, Juha is the author and Head Instructor of the Finnish Bowling Federation and European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF) Level 1-2-3 coaching programs.