View Full Version : Correcting a faulty backswing

greyhound rick
10-04-2009, 12:02 PM
Hello everyone!

I wanted to share a problem ive been having with my bowling and see what you think about my trying to rememdy it! Thanks in advance for reading this and offering your expertise :)

Im 55 years old and have been bowling off and on for a while but am really starting to get back into it now. Im trying to bowl 3 nights per week to practice and then will join a league again after the Holidays.

I average around 170, throw the ball fairly slow, get moderate revolutions and have a tendency to have a very low track on my ball.

One thing ive noticed about my swing/release is that i tend to open my hand on my backswing, take it back short and spin the ball during release. In order to try to correct this i am going to hold the ball higher, try to increase my backswing naturally by not forcing it and "muscling up" and by trying to feel like im actually rotating my hand counter clockwise on my backswing as to eliminate the "opening" or "fanning" of my hand during the backswing.

I have experimented with this a bit and have noticed that my track is coming up better towards the finger and thumb holes and im getting more late roll and my ball is not turning so early as it was before. Does this sound like a good approach to my problem?

Also, my ball speed is very slow which i think is causing me to hook early and kind of end up with a "dead ball" at the pins as all of the energy has been used up. I think raising the track and trying to roll it more and spin it less will help with that problem.

Any suggestions as to how i can avoid this faulty move on my backswing would be greatly appreciated. Again, in watching videos of myself and listening to others that watch me bowl, i am wrapping my arm around my body on my backswing which is causing me to come into the shot with a "round house" arc rather than straight back and straight thru. I guess its kind of like a "flat" golf swing where the plane is jerked inside and around rather than straight back. Also, to use another golf term......i am "pronating" my hand in the backswing which opens everything up quite a bit.

Thanks for listening and hope to hear from you soon!

10-04-2009, 08:53 PM
Hi Rick, sounds like you're having trouble staying behind the ball at your release which is something I also struggle with. I found that I can keep my hand from rotating if I keep my armswing & elbow in close to my ribcage. You might want to check out Joe Slowinski's website. He's got some great articles he wrote for BTM magazine that discusses armswing and how to improve your rev rate. Basically, the article on increasing rev rate demonstrates how to keep your hand position behind the ball which is what some folks call playing the inside of the ball. The other articles I fold helpful were his discussion of developing your swing slot and the other one about using your balance arm. Joe's website is www.bowlingknowledge.info. Good luck & let me know if that helps.

greyhound rick
10-05-2009, 09:41 AM
Thanks so much Yeehayashi! I really appreciate your input and will definitely check out the link! Thanks again!!

I went to practice last night and had a rough night. I think getting back into bowling is gonna be a bit more difficult than i thought!

I rolled 11 games and had fun, as always, but really struggled on the dry lanes. I had many shots on the Brooklyn side and also noticed that i was "pulling" a lot of shots. I mean i was missing my mark to the left by 5-7 boards! I couldnt believe it. Finally, to compensate, i started to literally aim 5-7 boards to the right of my actual target and FINALLY started hitting my mark!

I think this is just a band aid approach! Its like aiming way left in golf to compensate for a slice. It may help but it just exaggerates the problem in the long run!

Any thoughts as to some of the main reasons that can cause "pulling" shots? Im thinking that my armswing is too far from my body in the hitting zone, but tried adjusting that to no avail. I still think that the culprit is my backswing.......taking the ball too far inside on the way back and wrapping it around my body. I think this is causing the reverse reaction on the downswing as my armswing is flinging out and causing all kinds of problems!

Any input as to some causes for pulling shots and tips to help get my backswing straight back and straight thru vs. "inside and out" would be greatly appreciated!

Sorry to ramble on so much but i certainly enjoy hearing your expertise and again, appreciate it very much!

my best,


greyhound rick
10-05-2009, 10:52 AM
One thing i would like to add to the above is that ive noticed my problems seem to be greater during practice sessions in which i practice alone.

Im thinking one of the reasons for this is because when i practice alone i have a tendency to bowl EXTREMELY fast! I mean i cant wait to throw another ball and sometimes even pick up my other ball just to throw another shot sooner!!

I feel like when i do this that im rushed, have less rhythm and am much more stressed while bowling. Its almost like im trying to see how many balls i can roll in the shortest period of time vs. taking my time, relaxing, concentrating and slowing down.

Just some observations.......also, when i used to bowl leagues, i noticed some of my best shots would be when i had to wait the longest to throw a ball. Maybe i just get too wound up when i have the opportunity to roll a lot of balls and cant slow down!

thanks for listening and hope to hear from you soon!

my best,


10-05-2009, 11:24 AM
Hey Rick, pulling the ball can be the result of lots of little things. Do you consider yourself to be a stroker or are you more of a cranker. I'd take a good look at your timing starting with the pushaway. Do you use a 4-step or 5-step approach? You may be getting to the line too soon so that your armswing & release are trying to catch up with your footwork. Or it could be that your backswing may not be going straight back; also do you know if your backswing wraps behind your back? Might be best to have someone videotape you and then post it here so folks here in the forum could see what is happening to cause your pulled shots.

10-05-2009, 11:47 AM
Slowness, keeping arm close to rib cage and pendulum swinging the arm, no forcing at all. This is very common, I go through it at times, but ATF is what I work on, Accuracy (my mark) Timing (bending knee at line) and Follow Through - swing up through the shot without forcing.

10-08-2009, 01:19 PM
Hello rick i recently (this year ) got back to bowling after a 15 year break,and when i first came back my timing was way out of wack.pulling alot and what i was told and found out on my own was that i was muscling my release.it really hit home when a buddy of mine said after your shot look at your shoulders and feet,they were turned left(im a righty) .he said that by forcing the release and bottom of backswing was the cuase.if he were any prettier i would have kissed him :) (not really). but you maybe trying to hard i just concentrate on my push off (keeping it smooth and strait).my release(i think of answering the phone),and my mark (5-10) board depending on the shot conditions.

also i catch myself "overthinking" rather im bowling good or bad,when things are going bad for me i stop, go back to what i call "Square one" .(the spot i always start my night at) and breath/relax,after all it is a game.and games are supposed to be FUN!! good luck and if problems continue try a usbc certified coach out,becuase if you keep doing bad things they will stick and it gets rougher to fix after awhile.

keep us posted!! and goodluck to you :)