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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 Fourth Step Examined
by: Bob Strickland

The fourth step is called the FINISH. Your step begins as your ball begins its movement from the top of your backswing. It ends wihen your slide comes to a stop.

During the slide, you release your ball with your thumb first, and then lift with your fingers. The finish is on the "equals side of the equation", with all four steps being the equation which results in the delivery of the ball. (INSERT FIGURE NUMBER C10F1.PCX HERE ) LET GRAVITY TAKE YOUR BALL DOWN INTO THE FORWARD SWING. Use no additional acceleration to increase the speed of your ball in the forward swing. As strange as it may seem, you will achieve plenty of ball speed if you will simply allow your ball to come forward uninhibited. The faster you accelerate the ball in the forward swing, the more you will have to squeeze the grip to hold onto the ball. Such will amplify problems with timing and ball fit.
CONTINUE HOLDING YOUR BALANCE ARM OUT, DOWN, AND BACK. The more your balance arm is extended, the more lift you can give to your ball.

MAINTAIN AN UPRIGHT POSTURE. Try to avoid leaning forward any more than 20 degrees from the vertical. Still, no twisting is allowed. Good posture will help your project your ball further down the lane.

KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS AND HIPS MOVING FORWARD AS A UNIT. Thinking, "lead with my chest" will help keep you from leaning forward. As your knees bend during your fourth step, your shoulders and hips move downward as a unit.

BEND YOUR SWINGSIDE KNEE DEEPLY AS YOU STEP AND SLIDE. Begin your swingside knee bend as soon as you start to take your fourth step. This will force your sliding foot to take a position directly under your center of gravity, giving you the good balance you need for leverage at the release.

Without a deep swingside knee bend, your sliding foot will step to the outside, with a loss of balance and leverage. If your legs tend to straighten as you slide, see a skilled shop professional and have your ball fit checked.
USE YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT AS AN ANCHOR TO PUSH YOUR SLIDING FOOT TOWARD THE FOUL LINE. A slide is not a leap and a skid to a stop; it is a systematic push. Slowly extend your swingside leg behind you; this determines the speed of your slide. Leave your swingside foot in the same position as it was when it touched down in your third step. Lead with your chest, allowing your shoulders and hips to move forward as a unit. Picture your fourth step as being taken on a "tightrope", with your sliding foot in front and your swingside foot in the back.

The swingside leg straightens at a rate which determines the speed of the slide. Finally, enough cannot be said about the role of the balance arm! It has been demonstrated that, if the ball is in time with the slide at the release, the greater the extension of the balance arm, the greater the lift imparted by the fingers. Not only does the balance arm keep the ball following the trajectory of the target line, it plays a role in maximizing leverage!

If you have taken your first three steps correctly, you could take your last step (the FINISH) with your eyes closed and achieve a good shot! During the finish, your upper body is still upright, and your balance arm remains in the position it reached during the second step. Take your fourth step very slowly, bending your swingside knee very deeply.
RELEASE YOUR BALL WITH THE THUMB FIRST, THEN THE FINGERS. Your thumb should clear the thumbhole before your fingers, then your fingers should impart rotation to the ball.

LET YOUR BOWLING ARM FOLLOW THROUGH IN LINE WITH YOUR SWING. Your followthrough is simply a continuation of the swing. Do not pull it in toward the center of your body.

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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