The Swing Slot - by liuhongmei


									  slowinski at large                                                                                                       joe slowinski

    THE SWING                                                                                   SLOT
                How elite bowlers create
                 an excellent swing path

          n this month’s installment of         because the current physical game is      components that contribute to a great
          Slowinski at-large, I share with      more biomechanically efficient. The       swing. We also use these videos to
          readers the secrets of how the top    physical game has literally evolved       show our students how these physical
      bowlers in the world create a world-      due to more coaching and better           movements contribute to an improved
      class swing. By understanding the         role models. The same is happening        swing and physical game.
      most efficient biomechanical motions      in professional bowling as well. But,         These components include the
      of top players, you can identify areas    we need to look for these improved        stance position of the body, the move-
      needing improvement in your own           biomechanics to understand how to         ment of the feet and the use of the
      physical game, as well as areas in        adapt these motions to our own game       balance arm throughout the approach.
      which you are executing your swing        or those whom we coach.                   The difference between the best in the
      with solid proficiency.                      One of the benefits of working at      world and others is striking in these
          The physical execution of athletes    the Kegel Training Center is access to    areas. As you read this article, you
      in all sports has changed over time.      an extensive video library of both top    will begin to look for these in your
      Bowling, in my opinion, is lagging        PBA professionals and elite players       own game as well as the physical
      behind other sports, such as golf, that   from around the world who have vis-       game of others.
      have spent more focused time on           ited the Training Center. By reviewing        Specifically, by observing some
      instruction. If you review old video      video of these top players, we are able   of the top bowlers, you will begin to
      clips of professional golfers from 50     to determine a range of acceptable        see some common body positions that
      years ago, you would see far greater      physical motions that they all possess    promote a great swing. And with a
      physical execution variation in the top   independent of their perceived differ-    great swing comes improved ball mo-
      players. Yet, this extreme variation      ences in physical style. Accordingly,     tion and repeatability. This is likely
      is not present today. The top players     we evaluate and analyze the swing         to lead to an increase in ball speed,
      have more similar physical execution      of these players and the physical         a higher rev rate,

      Joe Slowinski, ABD, M.Ed. is a full-time coach at the Kegel Training Center. He is the former Director
      of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. This Portland, Maine
      native was named a Top 100 Coach for 2005, 2006, & 2007 by Bowlers Journal International. Slowinski
      can be reached at Visit his coaching site at

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                                                                                                               slowinski at large

      and improved ball motion. Most             best bowlers will keep the swing of      setup. Specifically, the angle of the
       importantly, you can practice these       the ball aligned near this slot from     shoulder dip is approximately 110 to
      elements throughout the summer             start to finish. And, they will follow   115 degrees, in the stance.
      months to be ready for next season.        through on the same slot line, ending       By dropping the shoulder in the
                                                      with their forearm through the      stance, the ball is in a position to
                                  PHOTO 1
      What is the                                     middle of their face on this slot   drop into the swing slot more easily.
      swing slot?                                     line (See photo 1).                 And, this initial position will promote
                                                                                          clearing the hip as the ball transitions
            One of the most                           Setting the stage                   from push into the swing.
      common errors I see                             in the stance                          Moreover, the ball-side eye will
      as a coach is a poor                                                                remain over the intended target line
      swing plane. Due to                                We still have bowlers who        from start to finish. This will allow a
      a sequence of less ef-                         think that dropping the shoulder     bowler to have their targeting eye over
      ficient body positions,                        is a physical game flaw. Yet, this   the intended line, from the start.
      amateur bowlers of-                            dropped shoulder is present in          When I teach, I use an easy-to-
       ten must self-correct                         every top player around the world.   remember verbal cue reference for
       their swing direction,                        If you review the stance position    bowlers to help them establish a
       producing     a   large                      of elite players, you will see a      stance position with the dropped ball-
       looping motion. Many amateurs                ball-side shoulder that is dipped     side shoulder. Simply think to your
      manipulate the ball around the waist,      down. So, the dropped shoulder is        self, “eye over the hand and chin over
      often leading to a swing that is too far   present from the first moment of the     the ball.” Then, dip your shoulder a
       behind the back. As a righthanded
       bowler, their push direction moves to
       the right, loops around the back to the
       left, and must be moved back to the
      right to clear the hip again. This often
       leads to the swing being to far outside
      of a solid position at the release. With
      a focus on the most efficient biome-
      chanical movements, these players
      can obtain a smaller and improved
      swing slot.
            I refer to the “swing slot” as the
       location of the bowling ball from start
       to finish in most elite bowlers. It is
      exemplified by a bowling ball that re-
      mains close the body, has a straighter
      and tighter swing…and leads to a
      release that is extremely close to the
      ankle, and released under the head.
      I call this a slot because there is very
       little side-to-side motion. In other
      words, any figure eight looping is
      extremely tight.
            From a front video view, you
      can see this “slot” by drawing a line
      straight down from the ball-side eye
       to the foul line and a line from the
      center of the chin to the foul line. The

JULY 2008                                               BOWLING THIS MONTH                                                       PAGE 21
  slowinski at large
 PHOTO 2                                                                                          PHOTO 4
                        bit more. This will set           If you watch bowlers such as Chris                            bowlers have the
                        the stage of the ball          Barnes, Norm Duke and Jason Couch,                               balance arm lead
                        dropping into a bet-           they do this move with precise fluidity,                         forward       with
                        ter swing slot.                allowing the ball to pass close to the                           the thumb down
                             From      photo    2,     body. By stepping over, the leg and                              (See photo 4).
                         with the slot lines           hip move out of the way…opening up                                    To envision
                         drawn,       you      can     the swing slot for the ball to pass by                            this, think of
                         see how the hand              without impeding its intended direc-                              Chris      Barnes,
                          could drop the ball          tion, in the swing slot.                                          Jason Couch or
                          straight    into     the        When a bowler doesn’t step over                                Sean Rash and
                          swing if the leg             and complete the tightrope step                                    their use of the
                          moved out of the             sequence, they must clear the hip in                               balance     arm
                          way. This is the             other ways. This can include moving            throughout the approach, as soon
                            next key area in           the knee out of the way or swinging        as the ball leaves the balance hand
                            promoting a great          around the hip. Many amateurs have         through to the finish. The balance arm
                            swing.                     adapted by pushing the ball to the         is directly in front of them throughout
                                                       ball side, allowing the swing to loop      the approach. This position serves
      Walking the tightrope                            around the hip. Yet, this will lead to     to open the shoulders allowing the
                                                       the swing moving too far behind the        swing to slay in the swing slot from
          When the ball is dropped into the            back. A swing that goes behind the         the upswing through the downswing.
      swing, a bowler must clear the hip in            back must eventually come back the         Professionals have an angle that is
      order to keep the swing in the swing             same way. This extra movement will         between 150 to 180 degrees, as mea-
      slot. It is at this point that many ama-         impact the quality of the swing sig-       sured from the balance arm through
      teurs’ swings begin to go awry. You              nificantly. This increases the amount      to the swing, around the balance arm
      will watch them swing the ball around            of the loop and takes the swing off        side of the body.
      their hip as well as turn their hand to          of the swing slot in several locations.        This is another area in which ama-
      clear the leg and hip.                           Like a derailed train, this will derail    teurs differ significantly from profes-
          In order to promote the            PHOTO 3               your swing.                    sionals. As soon as the balance arm
      ball remaining in the swing                                                                 moves, toward the wall, the shoulders
      slot,   the    most      efficient                          The balance arm                 will begin to close promoting the ball-
      physical move is to step over                               becomes impor-                  side shoulder to come forward. This
      directly in front of the slide                              tant earlier than               will require the bowler to use muscle
      foot, allowing the swing slot                               you may think                   to maintain the swing line. Most often,
      to open up without having to                                                                the ball will not remain in the ideal
      move the ball around the hip                                    Most bowlers I talk         swing slot and will be swung outside
      by manipulating the swing                                   with only think about the       of this slot.
      direction or rotating the                                  balance arm at the end of            The balance arm position coming
      hand. Literally, you will step                             the approach. Specifically,      into the slide is best when it is closest
      over in front of the slide foot.                           as the name implies, they        to 180 degrees, measured from the
      For a 4-step approach, this                                think of the balance arm as      balance arm to the location of the ball
      will be the first step. For a                              an element of the slide and      through the opposite side of the ball.
      5-step delivery, this will be                              finish, only used for balance.   This angular measure starts when the
      the second step (See photo 3).                            Yet, the balance arm plays an     balance hand leaves the ball and con-
                                                                          important role as       tinues into the slide. With the ball at
                                                                          soon as the balance     the top of the swing, the balance arm
                                                                          hand leaves the ball    will move from the front to the side
                                                                          in   the   transition   to the back, on an arc, facilitating the
                                                                          into the swing from     rotation of the core of the body, chest
                                                                          the push. Most top      and abdomen. As the bowler slides,

PAGE 22                                                       BOWLING THIS MONTH                                                         JULY 2008
                                                                                                                              slowinski at large

         the core of the body rotates, allowing          textbooks state that the shoulders            •   Ball-side steps over directly in
         the ball to remain in the slot. With            should be square with the chin over               front of the slide shoe to clear the
         the core rotating, this is similar to a         the knee over the slide foot. In today’s          hip, opening the slot to the swing.
         slingshot. The core rotates with the            game, this can be far from the truth.         •   As the ball drops into the swing
         swing remaining in the slot and the             Today’s great swings require a shoul-             and the balance arm hand comes
         head remaining steady.                          der that is dropped significantly and a           off the ball, get the balance arm
                                                         swing that remains on the swing slot.             out in front of you, thumb down,
         Finish it off                                                                                     just below your chest. Keep this
                                                         Keys to promoting a                               position until the ball is at the top
              At the release, the ball is close          better swing slot                                 of the swing and you are entering
         to the ankle on the swing slot line.                                                              into the     PHOTO 5
         Accordingly, the bowler has dropped                     In closing, I want to summarize           slide.
         the shoulder significantly. The shoul-          the key physical components of pro-
         ders, at the release point, are now in          ducing a great swing. These will serve
         the 135- to 140-degree range. The               to help coaches evaluate players bet-
         shoulder has dropped significantly,             ter as well as readers reflect on their
         allowing the ball to remain on this             own games with an eye on identifying
         slot line (See photo 5).                        strengths and weaknesses.
              Dropping the shoulder is neces-           •        In the stance, to promote a
         sary to keep the ball on the swing slot                 pronounced dip in the ball-side
         through the release. In fact, it was                    shoulder, get your ball-side eye
         present in top bowlers from the past                    over your hand with the ball under
         as well. Yet, we have had coaches and                   your chin.

DigiTrax ball tracking software courtesy of Ebonite and Bowlers Connection, Inc.

BALL TRacking test results                                                            Each ball’s test paths are displayed on the pattern on which the
                                                                                      ball received the highest rating during BTM’s Ball Review tests.

                                    900 GLOBAL                                                                      AMF
                                    Break s75                                                                       NKryption code
                                    Full Review on page 30                                                          Full Review on Page 31

                                       OILY-42’                                                                         MEDIUM-40’




                                     Entry    6.2       7.2          6.95                                             Entry     8.3       8.4        7.25
                                    Angle                                                                             Angle
                                     BBC     11        11           14                                                BBC      13        12         13
                                     Hook     75        65.41       45.01                                             Hook      86.61     73.78     45.81
                                     Power                                                                            Power
                                     TBC     38         22          19                                                TBC      38         27        18
                                    Alpha    11.2       8.9          7.85                                             Alpha    12.5      10.6        8.05
                                    Angle                                                                             Angle

  JULY 2008                                                         BOWLING THIS MONTH                                                             PAGE 23

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