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#19862 - 03/17/05 02:28 PM My problems with the 4-step approach
Magpie Offline
League Bowler

Registered: 02/03/05
Posts: 91
A/S/L: Male / Rochford England
When I first learned to bowl I naturally gravitated to a simple 4-step approach and for many years it served me very well, then one day it started to go wrong. I found that some times I would start the ball moving and sometimes I would move my foot first.

Needless to say this played havoc with my bowling; I could never work out why I started to have the problem it just sort of appeared. The more I tried to cure it the worse it seemed to get until I got to the point where I would stand transfixed on the approach almost unable to move.

I sought help from a well known Swedish coach (Goran Bergendorf) and he told me that he was surprised that more bowlers do not have this problem; basically it is not easy to consistently carry out two simultaneous movements.

He offered two solutions.

If I wanted to stick with a 4-step approach I should start with the ball well out in front, step forward and then drop the ball into the swing. I found this to work quite well except that I am not built like “brick outhouse” so using a 16lb ball was very tiring and I also found it difficult to generate much pace.

or:

Use a 5-step approach, this I ultimately decided to do and have been using predominately a 5-step approach since. I find it so much easier initiating a movement from a movement so the 5-step approach seems very natural and being short it fits in with my natural swing.

I do however still practice the 4-step approach and use it on occasions where lack of pace is actually an advantage; in fact a few weeks ago I had a nightmare and shot a 132, for some reason everything was off kilter. I always tell my team mates that “when you’re in a hole stop digging” so I clearly had to chuck out the spade. I went to a 4-step approach for the first ball (sparing with a 5-step) and finished with a 600.

Not sure if there is a lesson here for anyone except that there are occasions where only an expert coach can help.

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Legend

Registered: Fri Aug 27 2004
Posts: 10100
A/S/L: Mountain View, CA
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#19863 - 03/17/05 03:35 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
I use a 4 step approach. One thing I saw on a video has stuck with me for some reason. When you pushaway, imagine a string between the ball and your starting foot. They should move at exactly the same time. If I find myself getting "fast feet" and loosing balance, I try to remember to go back to this visulization. Gets me back to moving the ball and my body at the right tempo. As a side note, on a 4 step approach, a lot of people take too big a first step. This sets up an inbalance which is hard to catch up to by the time you reach the foul line.

But 4 step or 5 step approach there are advocates for both. Whatever works best for you. There are no "bowling police" to tell you, you can't do it that way.

Erin

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#19864 - 03/17/05 04:36 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
cheetah Offline
Action Bowler

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 239
A/S/L: 29/M/Seattle, WA/Right-handed
I've tried the 4-step approach, but I feel like I can time the pushaway and step easier if I'm already in motion.

The other day I was trying to help a guy who was finishing his approach on the wrong foot by adding a step. He tried, but ended up adding 2, and so still finished on the wrong foot. Since I have no coaching abilities, I stopped giving him advice.

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#19865 - 03/17/05 11:06 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
strikesbeme Offline
League Bowler

Registered: 03/09/05
Posts: 96
A/S/L: 40/M/Cincinnati, OH
Don't worry if your 'student' didn't achieve your goal. Coaching is like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it. How did WD-40 get it's name? Because the inventor failed the first 39 times, no kidding!

Honestly, you should be commended for trying to help this guy and trying to be an ambassador of the bame. To me, that's what it's all about. I know that my best days of bowling are behind me. But what got me interested in bowling agani is that I have two nephews that started bowling recently, and asked for my advice. One thing led to another, now I'm back in a league and I'm going to start entering some tournaments again.

Coaching is weird. I can go through an incredible effort to demonstrate a point to a student and be innefective. But someone else can use a little different terminology with the same student and BAM (apologies to Emeril)! The student finally gets it. In this example, did I fail as a coach? No, I just didn't explain the point well enough so the student understood the point.

Just keep trying to help bowlers if you enjoy it. Personally, I get more satisfaction from my students' successes than I do my own.

Keep it up!

Marty
_________________________
"Don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom." - General George Patton

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#19866 - 03/18/05 06:55 AM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
Darrell Offline
High Roller

Registered: 01/25/05
Posts: 319
A/S/L: 46 Male Michigan
Hello Bowling Fans. "Cheetah", Marty is absolutely right. You're a great bowler and other bowler may think of you as a hero of sorts and gravitate to you. You can't let them down. [censored] Ritger( The Ritger System to Better Bowling) has Cadence drills that are perfect for this situation.
_________________________
Darrell "D Man"

--------------------
May all your corner pins fall

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#19867 - 03/18/05 01:39 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
cheetah Offline
Action Bowler

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 239
A/S/L: 29/M/Seattle, WA/Right-handed
I just don't want to be the guy that tries to pass on his bad habits as good advice. I have a novice bowler on my team, and everyone in the league tries to give him advice. He's been given so much bad advice, and most of it just makes his head spin.

So, how do you help someone who's leading and finishing on the wrong foot?

Also, didn't Mark Roth have a 6 or 7 step approach?

Erin, when you say to imagine you have a string tied to your foot from your ball, is that to imagine that your pushaway lifts your right foot as if it's a puppet? And do you think this applies to a 5-step approach too?

Tim (cheetah because I'm skinny and fast)

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#19868 - 03/18/05 02:01 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
Not really lifts, but definately has to move at the same time. I suppose it would work with a 5 step, you'd only have to start that visulization on your second step.

As for your person that ends on the wrong foot. I'd start them at the foul line with a 1 step drill or 2 step drill, then work your way back to the approach as the comfort level gets ingrained.

Erin

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#19869 - 03/18/05 03:52 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
Coachrich Offline
Regional Pro Contender

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 569
A/S/L: Chesterland, Ohio
Erin,

You are sooo good! Allow me to add some detail...

Start him out at the line, ball hanging down to his side. Have him bend his left knee (he is right-handed? Right?) and swing his right foot to his left side and extend his left arm directly to the left. A good finish pose.

Now have hims swing the ball...hard swings. He will then fall off balance to his right. Straighten him up and have him try again until he can swing the ball and feel completely solid. Now have him stand up and reset himself (fingers out of the ball, shake his right arm loose, restore his dignity, etc.)

Put him back into that finish pose and have him do the free-armswing drill. That would be swinging his arm freely six times, but releasing the ball on the fourth swing. His fourth armswing should be like the third or fifth. It won't. He will rear up and sling it, then fall off balance.

Shake your head digustingly. :rolleyes:

Tell him to try it again, this time keep his right arm relaxed. He will, but watch yourself. He will also relax his hand and here comes the ball...somewhere. Usually in the ditch.

Now tell him to relax his arm, but release the ball instead of dropping the ball.

When he has that down, stand him a step and a half from the foul line. Tell him to swing the ball forward and back. At the top of the backswing, slide into the position he was previously practicing. He will again sling the ball and fall over.

Shake your head disgustingly. :rolleyes:

Don't laugh...he's frustrated...he may attack. mad

When he can do the one-step drill with a free armswing, he should feel really good about his balance and delivery. He may want to talk PBA qualifier, but keep him focused on the lesson.

I go straight from the one-step to the four step, but for safety's sake...without a ball.

We practice the four step with armswing motion...one step at a time. He WILL have his arm fully into the backswing at the end of the second step (they always do). Grab his arm and pull it down to his side while holding the second step. Third step is top of the backswing, then into that professional pose at the foul line.

Do it several times.

Now he will tell you he can't do this.

Tell him to shut up and push the ball into his chest.

For the start, have him push and step like Erin said...a string is tied between the big toe and the ring finger and the goal is to keep the string taught for the first step (which is a short step).

He will try to stop on each step with the ball in front, down at his side and at the top of the backswing, then swing and release on the third step. (Like he has been bowling...on the wrong foot.)

Now you can laugh. rotfl (He's at the foul line, you're behind the approach...you've got at least three steps on him to the door.)

Depending upon your patience, you can stand clear and have him try it again and again.

Sooner than later he will get it.

But no more talk of the qualifier.


I hope this helps,

rotfl
_________________________
Rich
http://www.muscle-memory.com/

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#19870 - 03/18/05 03:57 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
Coachrich Offline
Regional Pro Contender

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 569
A/S/L: Chesterland, Ohio
Wow...sorry for the long post!
_________________________
Rich
http://www.muscle-memory.com/

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#19871 - 03/18/05 04:25 PM Re: My problems with the 4-step approach
Magpie Offline
League Bowler

Registered: 02/03/05
Posts: 91
A/S/L: Male / Rochford England
I do something similar with Junior League newcomers (except for the shake of the head, I prefer the quizzical look). confused

From the one step balance / free swing drill I also usually go for broke and try them with 4-steps although sometimes you get someone who naturally gravitates to 5-steps.

When they have managed to get some semblance of an approach and swing (this can take some time and the quizzical look usually gets a good workout) I may bring them back to the foul line and try a 2-step drill to get used to sliding and posting the shot.

Maybe it is something about Essex children but now matter how small they are they all want to take a giant first step so perhaps I could use the string to tie their feet together.

Not done this exercise with an adult for some time, kids are usually more trusting and less likely to throw the ball at you. seeingstars

I do tell them that this is probably the most difficult part of learning the basics of bowling, I tactfully decline to mention the lifetime of toil, blood, sweat and tears should they get serious about our wonderful sport.

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