By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Tribune Newspapers
March 7, 2012
After one too many gutter balls, it's time to take a hard look at your bowling skills — or lack thereof. Bob Rea, lead instructor at Ithaca, N.Y.-based Dick Ritger Bowling Camps, which holds sessions nationwide, breaks down the basics of bowling technique. Note: The steps below are for right-handed bowlers; left-handed bowlers should reverse the directives.
Degree of difficulty: Medium
Tools you'll need: Bowling ball, bowling shoes
Pick the right ball: Generally, a ball should be 10 percent of body weight (up to 16 pounds). To ensure proper fit, insert your thumb and lay your middle and ring fingers flat over the ball. The crease of your mid-finger knuckles should be centered over their respective holes.
Find your starting position: Go up to the foul line, turn and take four and a half normal strides toward the seats. That's where to start. Stand on or near the center dot on the floor, also known as the approach. Then find the target: Rather than aim for the pins, focus on the lane arrows (the first set is about 12 feet up the alley); aim for the second arrow in from the right.
The stance: Stagger feet so left heel is even with right toe. Bend knees slightly, lean forward slightly at waist. Hold ball at waist level, in line with right shoulder; your left hand supports most of the ball's weight.
The approach: As you take your first short step with right foot, push the ball in front of you with both hands (like you're giving it to someone). Release your nonbowling hand, letting the ball swing back. At the end of the second step the ball should be just past the bottom of the swing; at the third step it should be at the top of the back swing. With the fourth step, the ball swings forward and your left foot slides to a smooth stop at the foul line.
Release: Imagine a clock face-up on the foul line, with 12 o'clock facing the pins. Your middle and ring fingers should be at 4 and 5 o'clock when the ball rolls off your fingers.
Nail the finish: Once the ball is gone, maintain the knee bend and slight forward lean at the waist, with your left arm outstretched to the side for balance. Your trailing leg should end crossed behind you, slightly left of your spine. Continue swinging your right arm forward, then scoop your hand back as though you're answering a phone, ending with your hand slightly above your head.
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