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Robert (Bob) Strickland, a bowler since 1958, and PBA member since 1978. In addition to coaching, Bob is the author of Perceptive Bowling and Bowling Steps to Success. Join us weekly as Bob shares his favorite bowling tips to improve your game.

This week's tip:  
Drills for Beneficial Movements
by: Bob Strickland

Drills are marvelous training aids because they save you time. They are effective because they force you to focus your attention on THE FEEL of one or a set of specific movements, rather than on the general feeling of the entire delivery! If you use the following drills regularly as part of your practice routine, you will reach your goals much quicker.

This drill may be done on the lanes or at home. If you use this drill at home, try to do it in front of a full-length mirror so you can keep an eye on the level of your shoulders, and the position of your arms during the swing. Be careful any time you swing a ball; check around you to see that your swinging ball will not hit anything!

Objective: to feel your ball swinging freely from your shoulder and to train your balance arm in a proper takeaway.

Directions: (Facing the mirror), take a stable setup, just as you would during your normal delivery. Without taking any steps, push your ball out into the fully extended pushaway position until both elbows lock. Then, let your ball fall into the swing by pendulum action only. Release your ball with your balance hand and let your balance balance arm move to a position out, down, and slighly back, away from your body. Let the ball fall at the same rate as the downswing. Keep your back upright and do NOT assist or retard the ball in any way. Just let it fall.

Keeping your elbows locked, let your ball swing forward from the top of the backswing. Do not "yank the ball down" from the top of the backswing! Meet the ball with your balance hand, and hold your ball at the extended pushaway destination for a second. Then, return the ball with both hands to your original setup position. Repeat this drill several times.

During regular practice, if you round off (point down) or otherwise misdirect your pushaway in any way, do this drill a couple of times, followed immediately with a full delivery.

This drill may be done on the lanes or at home. If you use this drill at home, do it in on a smooth surface, being careful not to scratch your floor when you slide.
Objective: to train in slow, flowing heel-toe steps to a well-balanced finish, with an upright posture.

Directions: Take a stable setup, but hold your ball firmly at your midline; do not put your fingers or thumb in the holes. You will keep the ball in this position during the entire drill. Begin counting a cadence in the following manner, "one AND two AND three AND four AND one etc. You will take four steps.

On the AND after four, step out with your swingside foot so that its heel makes contact on the count of "one." Take normal heel-toe walking steps, concentrating on the feeling of your weight being transferred from the heel, through the arch, to the toe as you walk forward. Do not place one foot in front of the other or step from side-to-side. Do not shuffle and do not hesitate between steps. Your HEELS should touch down precisely on each count of your cadence.

Take your first three heel-toe steps without bending your knees. Then, take your fourth step on the toe of your sliding foot, bend your swingside knee, keep your back upright and SIT TALL. Push your sliding foot forward, using your swingside foot as an anchor.

Focus your attention on the feeling of your push and its effect on your hips and bowling shoulder. Feel the superior body balance resulting from both feet remaining on the approach. Repeat this drill many times, attempting to stay motionless at the end of the slide.

During regular practice, if your footwork on a previous delivery was not as it should be, do this drill a couple of times, followed immediately with a full delivery

This drill is called the ONE-STEP DELIVERY and should be done on the lanes, since you actually roll the ball. This drill is also a good way to warm up before beginning any bowling at game speed.

Objective: to refine the finish by eliminating all previous steps; to troubleshoot the delivery from any problems with the finish.

Directions: Take a normal, stable setup with your feet together. Do everything above your waist that you do in a normal delivery. But, take no steps until your ball reaches the top of your backswing.

When your ball is motionless at the top of the swing, begin to step forward with your sliding foot, bending your swingside knee very deeply, and sliding at the same time. Maintain an upright posture and lower your hips.
Keep your swingside foot on the approach. Use it as an anchor to push your sliding foot toward the foul line. Keep your balance arm out, down, and back. Repeat this exercise as many times as you desire; pay particular attention to the feel of your the shoulders, hips, and back in lending stability.

During regular practice, if your finish is not stable -- especially if you step to the side after delivering a ball, do this drill a couple of times, followed immediately with a full delivery.

More Strickland Tips:
  Four-Step delivery overview
  Four-Step delivery overview - The First step
  Four-Step delivery overview - The Second step
  Four-Step delivery overview - The Third step
  Four-Step delivery overview - The Fourth step
  House balls and house shoes
  Targeting Aids: The dots and arrows
  Know where you are on the approach
  Starting off Right
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This week's tip brought to you by: Robert "Bob" Strickland

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