Article Contents

  • 1. Visualizing shoulder abduction with EJ Tackett’s swing
  • 2. What is shoulder abduction?
  • 3. Achieving shoulder abduction – step by step
    • 3.1. Step one
    • 3.2. Step two
    • 3.3. Step three
  • 4. Shoulder abduction produces a better downswing into the body
  • 5. Shoulder abduction is present in two-handers by default
  • 6. Conclusion

I am surprised how often the “free” pendulum swing concept continues to be articulated today as a gold standard component of an outstanding physical game. In truth, when reviewing how the body works best, the concept of a pendulum swing is not consistent with good biomechanical movement.

Specifically, the range of motion of the shoulder joint associated with attempting a pendulum is a recipe for shoulder injuries due to the very limited movement in the backswing. It also reduces swing height, which lowers potential energy production.

From an anatomical and biomechanical perspective, an abducted upswing—one that moves to the side of your body—will be a catalyst for a freer swing, and it has the potential to lead to a significantly higher swing. With a higher swing, a bowler can increase the production of energy that can then be transferred to the ball. Moreover, a swing that moves to the side of your body will return toward the body and under the head naturally in the downswing, increasing directional accuracy. The bowler implementing an abducted upswing must align the shoulders at the top of the swing in order for the downswing to move into the body and be throw in the direction of the lane.

Visualizing shoulder abduction with EJ Tackett’s swing

Before we settle in with the instructional component of this article, I want you to take 30 seconds to watch a direct back view of EJ Tackett to see the true direction of his swing relative to his body. EJ Tackett was runner-up in ...

Already a premium member? Click here to log in.

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.