Dealing with Drift

Dealing with Drift

Drift. Exactly what is it?

Ask 100 bowlers or coaches, and you’ll likely receive a different answer from each one. There is a misconception that drifting is when you do not slide on the same board that you started on.

Drift is inconsistency in a bowler’s footwork; this means the bowler does not repeat the same pattern continuously and ends up sliding in different places at the foul line every shot.

If the bowler can repeat their approach and slide within one to two boards the same direction every shot, we would say they do not have a drift problem.

If the bowler cannot repeat their approach and slide within two boards in either direction, then there is something within their approach that needs to be examined to find the cause.

So, do you have to slide on the same board that you start on?

No, you just need to know your starting board in the stance and the board you slide on at the finish; that is all that matters. Use the foot you slide on to line up and choose an area on your shoe as your guide, such as the edge of your shoe, your big toe or the center of your shoe. You should always post your shot at the foul line (that means to stay in your finish position until the ball hits the pins) then look down to see what board you finished on.



For your shots to be consistent, of course, you will need to know your laydown point, which is how far the ball is from your ankle. This will tell you where the ball was released and how far the ball traveled from your laydown point to the arrows and the breakpoint. So, if you are sliding in a different place every time, do you think your ball travels the same path every shot? Probably not.



How does your armswing affect drift? Typically, the feet follow the ball swing. We will use a four-step approach to explain.

A player’s first step will be in front of and in line with the other foot. This allows the push and ball drop into the swing without having to go around the bowler’s leg. Their second step will move slightly outside, allowing the bowler to walk around the swing, which helps keep the swing straight. The third step continues on the same path while the swing ends up in line with their head at the top of the backswing. The fourth, or slide, step will travel in as the bowler releases the ball. Every bowler is unique and you need to perfect your own personal style! So remember, it’s not how you get there but how you finish!