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 ...
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Image Credits: Bowler photos courtesy of PBA LLC.