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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 Approach. The First Step Examined
by: Bob Strickland

The first step is called the KEY STEP because it contains the PUSHAWAY. (The key step in the five-step approach is the second step.) It begins with your feet alongside each other in your setup and ends when your SWINGSIDE HEEL -- the foot on the side of your bowling arm -- touches down on the approach. Your PUSHAWAY absolutely must be taken from a stable setup. Here are some essential tips.

BEGIN YOUR FIRST STEP WITH YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT. When your mind is quiet and after you have focused on your visual target, begin your first step with your swingside foot. On the AND after four of your cadence, step out with your swingside foot so that its heel makes contact on the count of "one."

BEGIN YOUR PUSHAWAY AS YOU TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP. As you lift your heel off of the approach, push your ball briskly forward into the pushaway. If your foot and your ball are properly timed, your pushaway will have good stability since your foot is almost directly under your ball.
USE BOTH HANDS TO PUSH YOUR BALL DIRECTLY IN LINE WITH YOUR SHOULDER AND YOUR TARGET. To do this, you will have to reach across your body with your balance arm. Support most of the weight of your ball your balance hand. Keep your forearms parallel with the floor; never push your ball downward.

Picture a table, approximately chest high, in front of you. Your pushaway is simply placing your ball onto this imaginary table.

KEEP YOUR BOWLING ARM RELAXED AT THE SHOULDER JOINT. Do not grip your ball tightly, or you will have unnecessary tension in your hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder joint. Use your balance arm to move the ball and help relax your bowling arm.

KEEP YOUR BACK UPRIGHT AND FIRM. You should counteract the tendency of your upper body to follow the ball. Keep your back muscles taught; picture "arching your back." Think "lead with my chest" and repeat it to yourself.

KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS BACK AND LEVEL. Hold them stable. Again, think of your shoulders and backbone forming a RIGID "T" on which you allow your bowling arm to swing freely.

KEEP YOUR KNEES STRAIGHT BUT NOT LOCKED. Use a normal heel-toe walking stride. Neither force your heels down (stomping) nor walk on your toes (shuffling).
END YOUR PUSHAWAY WHEN BOTH ELBOWS ARE LOCKED. Keep your balance hand touching your ball until both arms are fully extended (straight) at the final PUSHAWAY DESTINATION.

END YOUR FIRST STEP ON YOUR SWINGSIDE HEEL. Just as your elbows lock into position, the heel of your swingside foot makes contact with the approach. There is no need for the toe to touch down as yet.

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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