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.
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