The Kinetic Chain

How to transfer your energy to the ball

The Kinetic Chain

In this month’s Slowinski At Large, I discuss force generation and energy transfer from the body to the bowling ball. To maximize performance, coaches and players should begin to conceptualize the physical game in terms of force generation and energy transfer. With an energy transfer analysis, we can more accurately determine which movements aid in maximizing performance with efficient energy transfer while identifying those which create inefficiencies leading to unnecessary energy depletion.

The concept of the kinetic chain has been at the core of tennis, golf, baseball, and cricket instruction but has received little to no attention in the bowling community. Simply stated, the kinetic chain concept posits that forces are generated from the ground up and are transferred through segments of the body. For example, a normal kinetic chain involves links from the ground to the legs to the trunk to the arm.

In the normal kinetic chain of throwing, the ground, legs, and trunk act as the force generators; the shoulder acts as a funnel and force regulator; and the arm acts as the force delivery mechanism.
-Hoeven & Kibler, 2006

In throwing an object, the athlete starts with a force from the ground which is linked to the legs, then the trunk, into the shoulder, and finally through the arm. With the large amount of force generated and transferred in elite sport, a small inefficiency can cause energy to be depleted and interrupt a fluid force chain link from one part of the body to another, reducing performance at the end of the chain. Worst case, these inefficiencies can cause injuries due to a player physically compensating along the kinetic chain.

The mechanism of transferring energy from the body to the bowling ball is fundamental in becoming better in our sport. Accordingly, this requires a more ...

Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is a freelance bowling coach who works with bowlers around the globe. He is currently on assignment with the Philippines. Slowinski is the former Director of Bowling at Lincoln Memorial University, where he served as Program Administrator and Head USBC Collegiate Men’s and NCAA Women’s Coach. The Portland, Maine native has served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is also the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. He has coached international teams at the World Championships, Pan American Games, South American Games, and European Championships, helping Belgium win a Gold medal at the 2022 EBF Championship of Champions and coaching Brazil to Gold medals at the 2015 Pam American Games and the 2014 South American Games. He was the 2018 NTCA DII/III Coach of the Year and the 2010 NCBCA Men’s College Coach of the Year.