Correct posture is the key to preventing injury in sports that involve repetitive motions like tenpin bowling.
It has always been said that practice makes perfect. This is certainly true in tenpin bowling where being able to accurately repeat a strike shot can lead to doubles, triples and more. But, besides putting in the time and effort, there are also other ways to quickly improve your score. One of them is to video yourself bowling and identify areas that need correcting. When your stance and your timing is consistent, results are consistent. Visual aids allow you to imagine yourself going through the whole motion and then you can practice it mentally when you are away from the bowling alley.
How To Properly Position The Camera
Start by shooting yourself from the side and then the back. When filming yourself from the side, you need to make sure that your whole body in relation to the approach can be seen. The camera should be positioned on a tripod a few lanes away from you or better still to have someone that can pan the whole shot. The video should start before you actually pick up your ball and perform your stance position. It should end a couple of seconds after release of the ball so that you can fully visualise the whole swing and follow-through. A right-handed bowler should be videotaped on an even-numbered lane so that the camera can get a shot without having the feet obscured. As I have mentioned in the the previous parts of this article series, footwork and placement are vitally important. Conversely, a left-handed bowler should be filmed on an odd-numbered lane. When filming from the back, you need to make sure that, again, head to toe can be seen.
The camera should be positioned so that your whole body can be seen.
What To Look For When Playing Back The Film
Some key pointers to look for when reviewing back the video include your starting foot placement, ball position and body posture. How you perform your stance position will dictate whether the rest of your motion will be smooth. In fact, if you can get a view from the front, then this will also be useful for reviewing the stance position.
Feet should be placed square pointing towards your target. You may place both feet evenly or one slightly behind the other depending on how you are comfortable. Your weight should be neutrally balanced. Your knees should also be square facing your target. They should be slightly flexed to provide some support for your lower back.Hips should be facing the target.
Your spine should be very slightly leaning to the side where you hold the ball. This will be automatic normally. Your spine will lean slightly forwards as you start to walk. This will enable your top half to remain still as you approach your back swing. Shoulders should start square to the target and the shoulder on the weight-bearing side will naturally be slightly lower. Your arm should be near to your body as the ball goes through the forward and back swing.
Keep your eyes to the target and your chin level. If your chin drops, your shoulder will tend to follow and this will create a weaker unstable posture.
The height of the ball position at the beginning varies from person to person. I have seen people holding it as high as their chest. Some prefer it to their thighs. Personally, I hold it at about waist level. You can try a variety of positions to see which works best for you. Whichever height you choose, the ball should be in line with the shoulder. Holding the ball too outwards or too inwards will cause your arm to swing outwards as well leading to a chicken wing appearance a wastage of energy on the back swing. Your hand should be directly underneath the ball in a neutral position. This reduces the tension on your wrist.
Pushing The Ball Away At The Forward Swing
The moment chosen to push the ball away from your body depends on whether you like to take a 4-step or 5-step approach. If you are a right-handed bowler, when your right foot moves, your left hand should normally already be away from the ball and moving forward. You will need to practice your timing over and over again. It is not something that can be taught. It has to be done enough times so that it feels natural to you.
When I first started bowling, I was much more focused on my scores than on correct technique. Carrying a 14 pound ball for a few hours everyday and for many years has certainly put a strain on my body. I only had proper coaching when I joined the national tenpin bowling team. But, by then, I already had an aching back, a creaking knee and swollen finger joints. My right thumb was twice the size of my left, I kid you not. In my case, I hope that by emphasising the importance of correct posture early on, you will not have to go through the same ordeal. For those of you who do not have a coach available in your area or do not want one, filming yourself is a great tool to use for self-evaluation. There is only so much help that reading articles like this can provide. But seeing yourself on film will give you a much better understanding of what needs to be corrected.
Disclaimer: I am not a tenpin bowling coach. I became a tenpin bowling national athlete who played using a 14.2 pound ball after mastering the hook technique. I know the dedication, physical strength training and physics required to succeed in the sport and I have many tips to share. Bowling has been popularised as a great place to socialise and release stress with friends. Because of its relatively small pool of professional athletes, few people know that it is actually also a sport worth millions of dollars. The great thing about tenpin bowling is that there is no one way to roll a ball. There is no one way to hold the ball. There is no one way to walk down the lane. It’s all about what is best for you and your body type. In addition, there is no age limit to be great at it, unlike other sports. I hope this article series will showcase the science behind tenpin bowling so you can take your game to the next level.
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of May 20, 2016)