Article Contents

  • 1. Differences in timing
    • 1.1. The pushaway
    • 1.2. Using muscle versus gravity
  • 2. Swing paths
    • 2.1. In-out-in loop
    • 2.2. Out-in-out loop
    • 2.3. The “tuck”
  • 3. Improving the swing
    • 3.1. The crossover step
    • 3.2. The good ol’ one-step drill
    • 3.3. The practice swing drill
    • 3.4. Take video
  • 4. Conclusion

From one-handed swings to two-handed swings, from short, compact, muscly swings to long, loopy, effortless swings, and from the textbook to the unorthodox and everything in between, there are almost as many armswings out there as there are bowlers.

That said, the ultimate question is this: what is effective? I have been told many, many times that you don’t get style points in the game of bowling. It is entirely about the number of pins you knock down. If this is true, then swings can be different but still effective at helping you knock over pins. So, what is an effective swing?

In my opinion, an effective swing is one that is repeatable and functions within your approach to create the right trajectory for the intended ball path.

With this in mind, we’ll be diving into the swing—and my own history of swing changes—to look at timing and the effects of the pushaway, swing direction and whether or not it really needs to be straight, and—of course—some drills and advice for how to improve your swing.

Differences in timing

The first item to examine is the timing of the swing and, more specifically, the effect of the pushaway or ball start.

Timing is complicated, thanks to all the moving parts, so I’ll stick to my own experiences. I personally have what would be referred to as slightly late timing, or leverage timing. Technically speaking, late timing occurs when the player gets to the line and finishes sliding before the ball is released. Optimal timing is when the slide comes to a stop and the ball is released at the exact same time.

As you can imagine, there are varying degrees of late timing, as well as optimal and earlier timing, that can all be effective. So without advocating for one specific release timing over another, let’s look at two of the key components of the swing in relation to timing and tempo: the pushaway and the free ...

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Valerie Bercier

About Valerie Bercier

Valerie is originally from Brampton, Ontario, Canada and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2008 through 2012. She then attended the University of Rhode Island to finish up school and become a Registered Dietitian. Valerie is now a health coach and co-owner of Berberry Health & Wellness, LLC, as well as a PWBA Tour player. She took home the 2019 PWBA Rookie of the Year honors. Valerie is also a 10-time member of Team Canada.