Bowling Stance: Where To Stand And Proper Body Positioning

If bowling is a favorite pastime and you enjoy the challenge the sport brings then you may wonder if you have your body positioning correct. Why is it important?

Bowling Stance: Where To Stand And Proper Body Positioning

Bowling is all about getting your body in position to release the ball at its highest point. You need to stand tall and keep your shoulders back.

Your feet should be shoulder width apart with your weight evenly distributed through them.

The knees should be slightly bent and you should be looking down the lane. Where is the ideal place to release the ball?

The Foul Line 

The goal of bowling is to throw the ball through the pins, knocking them down. Bowlers usually try to get the ball to travel at least ten feet before hitting the ground.

To achieve this, bowlers must aim at the center of the lane. If they miss, the ball may go out of bounds. 

Bowling lanes have lines drawn on the floor to guide bowlers. These lines are called “lines” because they help bowlers to keep track of their position within the lane.

The recommended starting point for an approach is two inches away from the line.

After taking five normal steps back from this line, the bowler should place his/her front foot directly behind the ball. From there, he/she should release the ball to begin the roll.

Positioning The Body 

The first thing you need to do when trying to throw a bowling ball properly is to get your hands right. You must place your fingers in the correct holes of the bowling ball using your dominant hand. 

Your index finger should go through hole number 1, the middle finger goes through 2, the ring finger goes through 3, and the pinky goes through 4.

These numbers refer to the numbering system of each hole. If you put your fingers in the wrong holes, you won’t be able to grip the ball correctly.

Once you’ve got your fingers in the correct spots, you’ll then need to support the bottom of the ball.

Hold the ball with your non-dominant hand, supporting the ball with your palm down. Your thumb should rest against the top of the ball.

You should keep the ball close to your body, with your elbow pointing toward the target line. Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed and your back straight.

Lastly, you’ll need to bend your knees slightly, keeping them slightly bent throughout the entire throwing motion.

When you’re done, you’ll want to release the ball by bringing your arm all the way back until your wrist is fully extended.

Bowling Stance: Where To Stand And Proper Body Positioning

Placing The Foot Correctly 

Placing the feet correctly is crucial and will affect where the ball ultimately ends up. You must step with your left foot first, then move your right foot behind your left.

Your front foot should be pointed toward the target line, and your back foot should be pointed away from the target line.

If you’re not sure about the correct foot placement, ask a professional or check out some YouTube videos.  Once you’ve got it figured out, keep practicing!

Get Your Approach Right

As a bowler, you must remember to keep your head level, shoulders back, and eyes focused straight ahead.

When approaching the foul line, you should aim to be in the same position as when you began your approach, with the non-bowling foot forward and the bowling arm ready to throw the bowling ball.

If comfortable, you may lean forward slightly, keeping your shoulders above the knee, allowing for stability and balanced posture. It is important to keep your body balanced when throwing the ball. 

When approaching the foul line with a ball in hand, the ball should not be thrown directly forward.

Instead, the ball should move toward the ground, then bounce back up. As you approach the foul line, your body should stay relatively still.

Your dominant foot should be placed slightly ahead of your non-dominant foot. You should also keep your arms and legs straight during all phases of the throw.

Incorrect Push Away 

The direction you push the bowling balls away from your body dictates how far it goes, and ultimately, down the lane.

If you have a bad backswing you will have trouble hitting your target at the arrows. Your inconsistency may lead to missed shots and poor scores.

You can hit your targets at the arrows and still miss at the breakpoints if you have a bad backswing.

Inconsistent Crossover Step 

A cross-over step is when you take your left foot back behind your right foot. This is done to help your footwork stay straighter during your approach. 

This can easily go wrong but there are ways to help improve your crossover. 

To help keep your footwork stay straight, you can use two pieces of painter‘s tape on the approach. Place them about a foot apart.

If you are trying to bowl a 5-step-over, then you should place the tape on the left side of your right foot.

If you are trying a 4-step-over, you should place the tape at the top of your right foot. Once you have placed the tape, place your foot on the tape.

Then, move your foot forward until you feel comfortable. This will help you perfect your crossover. 


With lots of practice, you can master the correct bowling stance for a fantastic and competitive game!

Drew Kaufner