What is shoulder angle/rotation and why do you need to know how it works to be a successful bowler? Coach Erik Vermilyea with Track defines shoulder/angle rotation as simply the angle of your shoulders as you’re throwing the bowling ball down lane. Sometimes your shoulders are square to the lane and sometimes they are open to the lane depending on how you are playing the lanes.
Squaring your shoulders to your target is how you play the lanes straighter. This is sometimes referred to as playing down and in.
To play this line, your swing needs to be in line with your target, and for that to happen your shoulders need to be square. During your approach, keep your non-bowling hand to your side with your thumb pointed down towards the approach until you slide, release, and post your shot.
If you want to play a deeper inside line, you will need to have your shoulders open towards your target.
If your shoulders are square when attempting to play this line, your launch angle towards your target down lane will be incorrect. This leads to bowlers overcompensating in their finish position, attempting to redirect the release away from where your shoulders are pointed. This is why your shoulders need to open up to match the launch angle you are attempting.
During your approach, keep your non-bowling hand in front of your body with your thumb pointed down towards the approach until you slide, release, and post your shot. Winning the race to the foul line with your non-bowling arm will free up your swing, allowing you to hook the lane naturally.
Check out Coach Vermilyea’s shoulders when they are closed (down and in line) vs. open (curving the lane).
For more great bowling instruction from National Bowling Academy’s expert coaching contributors check out “Proper Bowling Setup for Bowling Stance” and “How to do a Shoulder Elastic Band Row.”