Article Contents

  • 1. Preventing early swings
  • 2. Preventing late swings
  • 3. Release
  • 4. Staying under the ball
  • 5. Experimenting with different releases
  • 6. Cup and collapse release
  • 7. Follow through
  • 8. Delivering the ball into the lane

Although a great release is the envy of every bowler not blessed with this talent, it becomes ineffective, actually worthless, if it is not executed at the proper point. What is the proper point and why is it important?

An ideal release point allows a bowler to launch the ball into the lane from his strongest leverage area. This is one of the most important elements for consistent scoring but, unfortunately, one of the most difficult flaws to detect. A faulty release point feels natural and doesn’t affect balance, yet the ball is ineffective. It is usually the result of an early swing, i.e. the release point is beyond the leverage area.

Here is a perfect analogy for determining an ideal release point: Envision a double ball bag in line with the shoulder-ankle line. Lifting weight at this position places little or no stress on the strongest leverage area, yet maintains proper balance. Place this same weight slightly behind the shoulder-ankle area. This also affords easy projection on the lane yet retains proper balance. Conversely, if you set the identical load beyond the ankle-shoulder area, the weight of the ball will force the body forward, adversely affecting leverage and disrupting proper balance.

Preventing early swings

There are two strategies for executing proper release points and preventing early swings:

  • In a four-step delivery, you can initiate the first step a fraction ahead of the pushaway. In a five-step approach, begin the second step a tad ahead of the pushaway.
  • You can speed up your approach.

Preventing late swings

If the swing is late, it indicates a late pushaway and possibly a rushed approach. A late swing will inadvertently result in a forced forward swing (pull), if the armswing isn’t loose. Prompting the pushaway or slowing the approach can alter a late swing just as it alters an early swing. Because slowing down the approach is detrimental to good rhythm and timing, I strongly suggest an earlier pushaway to overcome a late swing.

The objective is to place the release point in its strongest position. Bowlers come in all sizes, so you must take into account the length of your arms and legs to reach a positive point of release. If a release point is beyond the leverage area, this is a sign of an early swing. Early swings can be attributed to two things: a premature pushaway or a slow approach. Therefore, you must take measures to either delay the pushaway or speed up the approach. You can accomplish this through a process of elimination. Try both methods until you determine the objective in the most comfortable manner.


Hundreds of PBA players, as well as countless high-ranking amateurs, are blessed with great releases. Unfortunately, a great release does not ensure success. Contrary to popular belief, revolutions are not necessarily the key to great strike percentage. Average revs, accurately delivered, are far ...

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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.