Balance is one of the most essential aspects of sport. It is the prime ingredient for athletic excellence in practically all sports. It is absolute necessary in bowling; that is, if an individual seeks to attain real success.

Balance, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is described thus: “poise, steadiness, consistency, confidence, common sense, and presence of mind;” all ideal words to portray such bowling superstars as Chris Barnes, Parker Bohn, Norm Duke, Tommy Jones, Brian Voss, Pete Weber, and Danny Wiseman, all of whom possess flowing armswings and impeccable balance.

Despite the fact that Walter Ray Williams has annexed the most titles in PBA history, his uncanny method of execution defies the mold of textbook performance. Although his approach is flawless, his herky-jerky follow through cannot be compared to those of the above-mentioned. Walter Ray’s forte is an end-over-end roll. Consequently, his bent elbow, behind the ear follow through, is his method of applying greater speed to prevent his ball from rolling out. Nonetheless, he maintains great balance. Most importantly, however, Williams undoubtedly possesses the greatest hand-eye coordination of any player on the PBA tour.

What are the principle ingredients for proper balance? What are the quick fixes for hitting the line stiff-legged, falling off the shot, and other errors that impair proper balance?

First, let’s address a very common error; that is, approaching the foul line stiff-legged. This is particularly common among elderly bowlers and the not so elderly bowlers who are beset by troublesome knees.

Before proceeding further, this is not to say that bowlers who fail to bend their knees are incapable of achieving stardom. For example, one of the top performers on the PBA tour, Ryan Shafer, applies NO knee bend whatsoever, yet unleashes one of the most powerful strike balls on the tour. Perhaps Shafer’s success is due to the fact that Ryan is short of stature and releases the ball from a lower position than the average PBA player.

Bowlers who are not hampered by advanced ages or serious physical problems can greatly improve knee bends by shortening the knee bend step (the step before ...

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.