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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:  
Four Step Delivery Overview
by: Bob Strickland

The FOUR-STEP DELIVERY is the SIMPLEST and the easiest to TROUBLESHOOT. The reason is that the ball is pushed out right along with the first step. The ball is neither carried for a step as in the five-step delivery, nor moved before the first step, as in the three-step delivery. During the four-step delivery, there is something for the upper body to do in coordination with each step taken.

SETUP - Take your setup with your feet three to four inches apart and neither foot leading. Point your feet in the direction of your target. Do not lean forward; be generally upright, with your legs straight, your knees not bent, but not locked either. To help you relax your bowling hand and arm, hold the major portion of your ball's weight in your BALANCE HAND -- the hand opposite your bowling hand.

FIRST STEP - Move your ball at the same instant as you pick up your foot on the same side as your bowling arm--i.e. your SWINGSIDE FOOT. Push your ball straight ahead -- never down! Think of it as placing your ball on an imaginary table the same height as the ball was held in the setup. As your ball reaches the limit of your reach with both arms, your SWINGSIDE HEEL should just be making contact with the approach.

SECOND STEP - Let your ball simply FALL from the arms-extended into a PENDULUM SWING. Continue to keep your body upright; do not allow your head to follow your ball down into the swing! To help keep your shoulders level and squared with your swing, let your BALANCE ARM move to a position out, down, and back -- approximately 90 degrees to the plane of the swing -- at the same speed as your downswing. Your SLIDING HEEL should make contact with the approach as your ball is at the lowest point in the backswing.

THIRD STEP - Let your ball move up to the top of your backswing by its own force. Get gravity to work for you; do not use the muscles of your upper arm and back to hoist it any higher. If you do hoist your ball, your body will twist, your bowling shoulder will be pulled back, and your ball will become late relative to your footwork. As your ball reaches the top of your backswing, Your SWINGSIDE HEEL should make contact with the approach.

FOURTH STEP - Take your last step very slowly on your SLIDING SOLE, bending your swingside knee very deeply. This will give you a long slide and ample time to achieve a superior body position for your release. Keep your upper body upright and your balance arm in the position it attained during your second step. You will enjoy better leverage, less fatigue, and more consistently placed shots.

Remember a helpful little poem by bowling scholar Bill Taylor, with my own parenthetic explanations:

"Push the ball             (place your ball on the imaginary table)
Let it fall                     (let gravity take the ball down)
Point to the wall         (extend your balance arm out, down, and back)
Walk tall"                   (keep your back straight and stable)

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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