Approaching The Foul Line – To Slide Or Not To Slide, That Is The Question

Ever notice the “standard” approach to releasing your ball toward the pins? At the end of the approach is the slide. Special shoes – bowling shoes – are built to enable this slide. What if you can’t or don’t want to slide, especially can’t for some reason? Notice seniors. As age progresses the ability for the knees and ankles to withstand that force is naturally less and one can’t help but notice the number of seniors who don’t slide yet have decent to great game. There are a lot of bowlers who have injuries from other sports or accidents or just worn out knees who can’t slide. Don’t forget ankles and hips, which also cause the inability to slide. Many people have adjusted their approaches to fit these needs.

I already had a blown out knee when I began bowling and was unable to slide from day one. The line is approached flatfooted and the weight of the ball is carried by the shoulders and waist while taking pressure off the knees. This has begun to work for me and each individual has their own way of achieving the no slide approach. There is some practice involved.

Is sliding necessary? There are a lot of good bowlers out there who don’t or can’t slide.

Weigh in on this one. The comment section is waiting on your input.

2 Responses

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  • John S says:

    I have returned to league bowling after a 20 year hiatus and have found that I have forgotten how to slide. I can easily stop and release the ball without bouncing the ball down the lane but have noticed a lot of strain on my left quad when trying to hook the ball hard. There are a lot of older players in the league that stop without problem and they can average above 180. I think sliding is a choice for each individual but for essential ball performance the slide is the way to go.

    • admin says:

      Thank you.
      Sliding or not sliding is not a choice for many individuals. Some of us are not physically able to slide, especially seniors. In my case due to knee problems as well as aging, sliding is not an option.
      Please explain about “trying to hook the ball hard”. What is your method for controlling the amount of spin and how do you apply it.
      When not sliding one does not “stop” to release the ball. It’s the same smooth motion that sliders use. You can watch these older players as they approach and see that their arm motion is the same as sliders. It’s the last half second of the approach that really matters. Hooking the ball depends on several factors. If you are trying to “hook the ball hard” you might be causing loft.
      There are methods of release that can decrease the strain. Since you have been out for quite a while, now might be a good time to take on a new style. Here’s what: Take a slow approach. ‘Practice a smooth approach, not worrying pin fall, and especially, don’t think about hooking the ball. Modern balls are so balanced they will hook easily. Try to put the ball on the lane – Roll the ball. This takes measuring your arm and putting the ball on the floor itself. Difficult but needed!
      Start with this and post what you find. Each person is individual.

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