Article Contents

  • 1. Spare shooting with parallel lines
  • 2. Physical alignment
  • 3. Selecting a target
  • 4. An alternate approach?
  • 5. Conclusion

During my many years spent coaching youth bowlers on the lanes, a common yet often misrepresented concept is that of parallel lines. It is my belief that this misconception is initiated by the visual perception created by the lane itself. As young bowlers begin to learn the game, and become aware of the lane structure, their eyes, and often their coaches as well, steer them toward using the foul line, the boards, and the arrows to line up and execute shots. With the lane being a perfect rectangle, it is logical and comfortable to take this vision and adopt it into your bowling perception.

Herein lies the problem. As the youth bowler improves and begins to prepare for competing at a higher level, they will inevitably begin to bowl on sport conditions. One of the most important aspects of bowling and eventually succeeding on sport conditions is the ability to make spares. The best way to make spares on sport conditions is to throw the ball straight at the pin, usually using a plastic ball. This will take ball reaction, as well as lane reaction, out of the equation and create a simpler repeatable process for success.

Here is where the visual perception becomes an issue. In order to properly teach the bowlers how to line up to make spares this way, the key to the process is lining up parallel to the target, which, in the case of spare shooting, means the pin. However, lining up in this way means breaking through the previously embedded visual perceptions created in their formative years and aligning the body such that it is not aimed parallel to the boards. When trying to teach the concept of parallel lines to these bowlers, they often find it not only uncomfortable, but downright foreign to adapt to this concept.

This perception may take some time for the youth bowler to move beyond as they struggle to overcome ...

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John York

About John York

John York is a USBC Silver-certified coach and five-time BJI Top 100 coach. He is currently the head coach of the Wilmington University NCAA bowling program.