Article Contents

  • 1. The stance
  • 2. The pushaway (first step of four)
  • 3. The downswing (second step)
  • 4. The backswing (third step)
  • 5. The forward swing (fourth step/slide)
  • 6. The entire approach
  • 7. The two-handed delivery
  • 8. Closing thoughts

I always make a big deal about The Rule of Fours. That’s the coordination of a basic four-step approach with four basic upper-body motions: out, down, back, and forward, bowling ball in-hand.

But in my most recent article, I also made the point that The Rule of Fours really isn’t a rule at all. Rather, it’s just a place to start—let’s call it a template—and you should feel free to develop your own style within the framework of The Rule. In that article, I said “…once you’ve established (your) comfort zone, experiment. Some suggestions: add an extra step to your approach, work on a different type of pushaway, or try a higher backswing. Maybe move your starting position closer to or farther from the foul line, or flex your knees a little more or a little less.”

The fact is, very few top bowlers do things exactly “by the book,” and it’s debatable whether or not there’s even such a thing anymore; everyone has their own style. So, in this article, we’re going to look at some folks who made it to the top by doing things their way.

I’m not suggesting you hurry down to the bowling center and try to copy the way someone else bowls. On the contrary, I’m suggesting the opposite: be yourself. But again, your goal should be to figure out what works for you, and a good place to start doing that is by watching other successful bowlers.

(Numerous videos of all the bowlers I mention here can be found through various online services, such as YouTube.)

The stance

The so-called “open stance” has been the standard since the first coach taught his first lesson to his first student. Virtually every article, instructional book, and video says a bowler should stand upright, with a slight forward tilt of the spine. The feet are slightly apart, hips and shoulders “open”—that is, facing approximately toward 1:30 (righthanders) or 10:30 (lefthanders)—with the ball held somewhere around waist-high. But don’t tell this to Liz Johnson, who has rightfully taken her place as one of the ...

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Phil Regan

About Phil Regan

Phil Regan, a USBC-certified Silver coach, has been teaching bowling since 1964. Retired from corporate life, he coaches bowlers of all levels in the northern California area and competes on the PBA50 and PBA Regional tours. Phil can be found online at