Aligning Your Swing

Aligning Your Swing

When setting up on the approach, it’s best to line up using whatever works and that’s not always just your toes. Start by choosing a specific part of your shoe as a reference point to line up with the boards or dots on the approach. 

As a bowler looking to line up toward a target area you’re simply looking to align the ball's swing path with a target or series of targets along the lane. Placing your big toe on the big dot doesn’t mean you’ll always throw the ball over the second arrow. In your stance, take note of the alignment of the shoe from the front to the back or from toes to heels. Align them in the direction of the intended ball path and remember to pivot the heels left or right to adjust for your launch angle.

For launch angles that are straighter down the lane, keep the toes and heels on the same boards. For launch angles that are more to the right or to the left, place the toes and heels on different boards in the stance. (Right handed bowler example: Your intended ball path is the 20 board (your lay down point) to the 16 board (at the arrows) and finally to the nine board (at 42 ft.). The stance for this arm swing direction could be the 25 board with the toes and the 26 board with the heel of the same foot.)

In the USBC Bowling Academy video below, Chris Barnes walks us through the setup and bowling stance:



As you walk toward your intended target, keep the arm swing on path and use multiple targets (if necessary) to complete the picture of where the ball is going to go.

What’s most important is that you’re able to repeat the same start position and finish position to align your swing plane. Remember to take note of where your feet land at the foul line and be aware of where your slide foot stops. Make sure it’s consistent from shot to shot. To get back to the same finish position and create the same projection, reference the board locations close to the foul line after you've released the ball.


 The laydown board for the ball will be a few boards to the right (for right handed bowlers) or left (for left handed bowlers) of the bowler’s last step.


Keep your arm swing as straight as possible. The more it moves left to right, the less accurate you will tend to be. Give your arm swing a chance by having your footwork lead the way.