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 bowling forces is naturally less. One can’t help but notice the number of seniors who don’t slide yet have, a decent, to great, game. There are a lot of bowlers who have injuries from other sports, accidents, or just worn out joints who can’t slide. Don’t forget ankles and hips, which also cause the inability to slide. Bowled with one fellow who has had to have several Achilles tendon operations, the last of which left him with the inability to turn his foot in the direction of the slide. He is re-learning to bowl due to his condition and averages well over 200. Many people have adjusted their approaches to fit these needs. People who do not slide are sometimes called “Planters”. We plant our feet instead of sliding.
I already had blown out knees when I began bowling and was unable to slide from day one. I had to figure out my own way to mitigate the pain and lack of knee flex in order to bowl at all. My path of least pain was where the line is approached flatfooted and the weight of the ball is carried by the shoulders and waist, while taking as much pressure as possible off the knees. To avoid pain and further injury, both feet must be on the floor on release. This has worked for me. Each individual has their own way of achieving a no slide approach. There is some practice involved.
Is sliding necessary? There are a lot of good bowlers out there who don’t want to, or can’t, slide. There are schools of thought for each.
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