What is leverage and what does it have to do with bowling?
Leverage is defined as the exertion of force by means of a lever or an object used in the manner of a lever. In bowling, the lower body creates leverage in combination with upper body posture. In order to have good leverage at the point of release, the bowling ball needs to be as close to your slide foot’s ankle as possible for every shot.
Slide Foot’s Ankle and the Release
If you are having trouble controlling your launch angles (The plane that the swing travels through during the approach creates the angle that the ball will travel on at the release point down lane.) the bowling ball may be too far away from your center of gravity at the point of release, or the leverage position at the point of the release.
In a nutshell, launch angles determine where the bowling ball will travel down lane.
From top down, the bowling ball will be located underneath your dominant eye, your core and as close to your slide foot’s ankle at the point of release.
Too Much Distance
Imagine yourself carrying two buckets of water. Is it easier to carry them closer or farther away from your body? Carrying them closer to your body is easier because you are leveraging the weight while walking.
In this example, the distance between the ankle and bowling ball is too far, not utilizing good leverage positioning.
Check out the side-by-side comparison between these shots.
It doesn’t look like a big difference next to the ankle but the result down lane was undeniably different.
Lane Play Confusion
Is it the lane or is it me? Every bowler faces these questions while getting lined up and when the lanes transition.
Over/Under occurs on wet/dry lane conditions. What does this mean?
Well, the bowling ball will skid through wet or high volume of oil easily and when it reaches the dry or friction at the end of the oil pattern the bowling ball will take a drastic turn.
Sometimes, when the bowling ball gets away from your ankle at the point of the release, the bowling ball’s motion can present as over/under when in actuality your weak leverage position caused your hand to come over the ball creating more of a spinning motion than a skid, hook and roll motion.
Before you make an adjustment, make sure you know if it’s the lane or it’s you.
The best way to break down good leverage position is with drills that isolate the area.
Check out the videos below to better help your leverage position in bowling:
- Bowling’s One-Step Drill
- One-Step and Slide Drill
- Bowling Release Drill: Foul Line/No-Step with a House Ball
- Bowling Release Practice for Upper and Lower Body Alignment
- Bowling Timing Drills
- 5 Basic Bowling Drills
- Balance Drills for Proper Bowling Release
- Perfecting The Finish Position
- Bowling Tips to Achieve a Solid Finish Position
Good leverage comes from the lower body in bowling. Below are a few lower body exercises that will help improve your leverage position.
- Lower Body Rolling Exercise
- Hip Circles
- Rotating Lunge with a Medicine Ball
- Slider Exercises: Finish Position Training
- Adding a Side Bend to the Lunge Workout
- Leg Lifts with a Physioball
- Dead Bug Exercise
It’s important to remember that the arm swing needs to be free. Leverage comes from the lower body not the arm. The more you muscle your shot, the less the bowling ball will hook.