Should I Fix My Drift on the Approach?

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Bowling’s modern game requires modern thinking. Drift has a negative connotation amongst many bowlers. In this premium video, Coach Erik Vermilyea with Track explains what drift is and when it is considered a problem.

Know your Normal

Everyone’s body type, makeup, and how they bowl are unique unto themselves. The oil pattern you are playing requires you to sometimes throw the bowling ball with straighter angles and other oil patterns require your angles to be open.

Start by getting in your stance and taking a mental note of the board you are standing on. After you push the bowling ball away, your body has to get out of the way of the bowling ball as you begin your swing, otherwise, it will hit your leg.

Crossing over your slide foot in the beginning of the approach will enable you to get the ball into a straight swing path. Next keep your arm swing straight throughout the approach from the top of the swing to the bottom. When you slide towards the foul line make sure you are sliding in front of your push-off step. This is where a lot of bowlers run into problems.

Fix My Drift 1

As you post your shot, look down and record which board you slid on. Likely it is not the same board you started on when you were in your stance, this is drifting. It’s alright for these two numbers to be different as long as they are consistently (the same number of boards “drifted”) different.

Fix My Drift 2

Errant Shots

Have you ever hit your target down lane expecting a strike and you couldn’t have been more wrong? If you are sliding away from your push-off step or if you slide across your push-off step you will lose leverage and likely fall off balance.

You can still hit your target but without the proper leverage in the finish position, the bowling ball will not get into all three phases of ball motion and your chances of striking will decrease. Below is an example where Erik hit his target at the arrows, didn’t strike because he “drifted” outside his normal drift. The blue line represents where he should have slid.

(Compare this video with the video directly above)

Fix My Drift 3

So here are the key takeaways regarding drift:

  • – Know your drift.
  • – The crossover step allows you to get out of the way of the bowling ball.
  • – Slide in front of your push-off step.
  • – Post your shot.
  • – Always look down to see where your slide foot ended up.

For more instruction on the approach, check out “Quick Tip: Test the Bowling Approach Before Practice” and “The Push Away and its Effect on Timing” from National Bowling Academy’s contributors.