Bowling Footwork

Footwork adds power to your swing. You need to match your footwork to the timing of your swing. A tall bowler with long arms will need slower footwork than a short bowler with short arms. Remember, as the ball swings in a pendulum motion, you walk along side it. If you think of railroad tracks, your swing side foot is on one track, and the ball is over the other track. Footwork is one part of bowling that you can practice away from the bowling center. Practice walking and swinging either an imaginary or real bowling ball.

There are 6 parts of footwork:

  1. Direction - The path you take
  2. Speed - how quickly you walk
  3. Number of Steps - the number of steps you take to the foul line
  4. Stride Length - how long each step is
  5. Rhythm - the tempo of your steps
  6. Contact Angle - The angle your heel is at when it makes at contact with the ground

 

Direction & Speed

Bowlers should walk in a straight line toward the target at a speed that is appropriate for their swing.

Number of Steps

Most bowlers use either a 4-step or 5-step approach. To determine which approach to take, stand up and take 1 step forward. If you swing-side foot steps out first, you are a 4-step bowler. If your slide-side foot steps out first, you are a 5-step bowler. Remember, you slide on the opposite foot from the hand that holds the bowling ball... righties slide on their left foot, while lefties slide on their right foot. No matter how many steps you take, your feet should stay under your body. Think of walking on the outsides of a wide line, your heels brush together as they pass. The slide foot ends up right on the line.

Stride Length

Rhythm

Contact Angle

 

4-Step Approach

Step Number
Description
Stride Length
What's Happening with the Swing
1
  • Swing-side leg moves first in a short step
  • Entire body moves forward
  • This step is no longer than the extension of your push-away
Short
Push-away
(Out)
2
  • Second step is similar to a walking step
  • Knees are slightly flexed
Long
Ball is at bottom of backswing, next to your swing-side leg
(Down)
3
  • Third step is the next-to-last step
  • Short step - keeping your foot under your body
  • Knee flexed to about 45 degrees
  • As body weight passes over ball of foot, you push directly forward
Short
Ball is at the height of the backswing
(Back)
4
  • This is the last step
  • The toe touches first and you slide
  • To help with the slide, keep the slide foot in contact with the floor
  • The slide foot slides to the center of your body to help you balance
Slide
Follow-through
(Through)

5-Step Approach

Step Number
Description
Stride Length
What's Happening with the Swing
1
  • Slide-side leg moves first in a short step
  • Entire body moves forward
  • This step is no longer than the extension of your push-away
Short
Carry the ball
(Carry)
2
  • Swing-side leg takes a short step
Short
Push-away
(Out)
3
  • Third step is similar to a walking step
  • Knees are slightly flexed
Long
Ball is at bottom of backswing, next to your swing-side leg
(Down)
4
  • Fourth step is the next-to-last step
  • Short step - keeping your foot under your body
  • Knee flexed to about 45 degrees
  • As body weight passes over ball of foot, you push directly forward
Short
Ball is at the height of the backswing
(Back)
5
  • This is the last step
  • The toe touches first and you slide
  • To help with the slide, keep the slide foot in contact with the floor
  • The slide foot slides to the center of your body to help you balance
Slide
Follow-through
(Through)

 

 

 

 

"Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears."
Rudyard Kipling