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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:  
Targeting Aids: The dots and arrows
by: Bob Strickland

The bowling lane and approach contain DOTS (dowels) and ARROWS which are visual aids to proper alignment for strikes and spares. These aids are positioned on numbered boards.

There are three sets of seven dots on the approach. The first set located approximately 15 feet from the foul line; the second set is 12 feet away; and the third set is approximately 3 inches away. In some centers, the outermost dots are missing at the 12- and 15-foot levels. The center dot in each set is larger than the rest. You use the first two sets to help you choose where to stand on the approach for strikes and spares -- your SETUP LOCATION. The third set will help you or an observer determine exactly where your ball touches down on the lane -- the TOUCHDOWN POINT.

The numbers of the boards upon which the dots are placed are indicated in figure 1. In order for all bowlers to communicate correctly, right-handed bowlers need to count from right to left, while left-handed bowlers need to count from left to right. For purposes of explaining strike targeting below, we will limit the number of playable boards at 20. Therefore, the sequence is 5, 10, 15, 20, 15, 10, and 5. We will change our illustration when we talk about spare shooting.

There is a set of SEVEN ARROWS located approximately 15 feet from the foul line and a set of TEN DOTS located approximately six feet from the foul line. These are parts of the RANGEFINDER targeting system innovated by Brunswick during the second world war. The board numbers are indicated in figure 1. Note that the approach dots and the lane arrows are in line with the pins, while the lane dots are not.

You may use either the arrows or the dots as your VISUAL TARGET -- the point where you fix your gaze. The following method uses BOTH -- the way the Rangefinder system was originally intended to be used. The sequence is shown in figure 2.

1. First, choose your intended target line starting from the approach dots at the foul line and ending with the arrows at 15 feet; your target line is approximately 15 feet long. Let's pick a 12-to-8 target line; your ball touches down on board 12 and crosses board 8 at the arrows. walk toward your target.

2. Next, extend this path in your mind's eye all the way back to your setup position on the approach. It crosses board 16 at the level of your setup. walk toward your target.

3. Position your bowling shoulder and your ball directly over this extended target line. in this case, both would be over board 16, with your forearm in line with your target. walk toward your target.

4. Square your shoulders so that they are 90 degrees to your forearm. walk toward your target.

5. Square your feet perpendicular to your shoulders and parallel with your target line to ensure that you will walk parallel with your swing. walk toward your target.

6. Since the lane dots at six feet are closer and easier to see, drop your gaze back to these and use them as your visual target during your delivery. Since these dots are closer to each other, you can more effectively "fine tune" where you place your ball along your target line. walk toward your target.

7. When you start to move, make sure to push your ball toward your target and walk toward your target.

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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