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 Post subject: Walking away from the ball return
 Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:38 am Post Number: #1 Post
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I am coaching kids on Saturday mornings and I also coach the travel team on Sundays. I have a young man who tends to walk away from the ball returns. That is, he either is straight to the foul line or slightly left on the left lane. (right handed bowler) He walks right on the right hand lane. This causes very different lay down points.
I have made him aware of this and he has attempted to walk straighter to no avail. Does anyone know of a coaching technique to help him walk straight as opposed to away from the ball return.
Any insight is welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Walking away from the ball return
 Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:24 pm Post Number: #2 Post
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Interesting!!!! First make sure this young bowler isn't chewing gum while bowling.....A bad attempt at a poor joke, sorry.

Have him just walk for you, no ball, on the concourse, watch his stride and foot position with a normal gate. What do you see? Is he bow legged, does he point his toes outward or inward or straight? is he very stiff at the knees? Exaggerate foot positions and lack of knee bend will cause uneven stride patterns and a weaving wobbling gate.Keep in mind some bowlers, because of their natural walking motion, can't walk in a perfectly straight line so some band aids might be needed in order to adjust the approach and finsh with good posture and on line

Generally to get a straight approach we want to see a bit of a cross over step the first time the ball side foot moves. This helps the swing/ball clear the ball side leg, creating a straighter swing and and setting up more balance and leverage. The next step should go straighter and as long as the ball side foot doesn't stray off line (right or left) the rest of the approach should finish much straighter.

Head position is important. If the bowlers head is moving left or right the tendency is to move the feet in the same direction to stay balanced. It also changes the visualization of the intended target line. Steady head is stead vision and balance.

Some other thoughts are ball weight, if it's to heavy the bowler will be pulled off course and or tighten up the arm swim which will exaggerate the direction of the approach.

Starting the ball can be an issue as well. If the start of the ball isn't directly in front of the ball side shoulder the bowler will wander in that direction. I have seen many players start one shot to the right and the next to the left.

Mastering a consistent stride pattern is very important. Each step should be longer than the prior step....short, longer, longest and slide. Builds momentum to the line allows the swing to catch up with the feet to enhance balance, timing and leverage.

Now to give you some help with creating a straighter approach. Place a bowling towel at the foul line and have the bowler practice staying just left of the towel when the slide is finished. Don't put a ball in his hand until you are sure he won't step on or slide over it.
It is better is you can use tape instead of the towel but be sure the center has no issues with it. The towel could be a bit unsafe. I give a couple of extra boards (2)to the right of where we want the slide to finish just in case.

Practice the cross over step and stride pattern. I send young bowlers home with this exercise as homework! I always pass this information on to the parents/guardians so they understand what we are trying to accomplish.

Hope this helps...If nothing else it will give you some things to watch for and correcting those areas which may be of concern or are liabilities. Good luck

paulv


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 Post subject: Re: Walking away from the ball return
 Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:42 pm Post Number: #3 Post
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Check his body position at set up on each lane. Is it the same or is he subconsciously orienting away from the ball return on the right hand lane? -- JohnP


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 Post subject: Re: Walking away from the ball return
 Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:17 pm Post Number: #4 Post
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Revkiller wrote:
I am coaching kids on Saturday mornings and I also coach the travel team on Sundays. I have a young man who tends to walk away from the ball returns. That is, he either is straight to the foul line or slightly left on the left lane. (right handed bowler) He walks right on the right hand lane. This causes very different lay down points.
I have made him aware of this and he has attempted to walk straighter to no avail. Does anyone know of a coaching technique to help him walk straight as opposed to away from the ball return.
Any insight is welcome.


This is definitely focus related. Kids develop at different rates and learn to focus at different times in their lives. You almost can't accelerate that process. As their focus develops, this will go away. To help him, tell him to concentrate on keeping his knees together during his first two steps. You must walk slightly sideways to walk away from the ball return. After the first two steps, he should be past the ball return and it shouldn't influence him anymore.


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