To Slide Or Not To Slide, That Is The Question

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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.

Weigh in on this one. The comment section is waiting on your input.

Sliding

8 Responses

  1. Albert Stewart

    Some people can’t slide because they don’t know how to use there power leg right and they get off that leg to fast so that all the weight is on there slide foot or how to use the toe or balls of there feet right
    Two pro bowlers that plant they let their heel hit the floor first than toe look at Shannon Pulhowsky and the other man that does it I can’t think of his name at the moment

  2. Leta Faye Thomas

    I’m bowling again after a 20 year break. I slide fine at a house with wood approaches but have stuck and fallen 3 times at a house with synthetic approaches. If I “plant” I find aches and pains in my non bowling shoulder and hip. Am I just to old to bowl anymore? Easy slide helps but I just can’t get past the sticking problem.

    • admin

      I gave up sliding years ago due to knee problems. Haven’t looked back. I plant every step and much of the action is in my waist and shoulders. Having strong muscles at both points is important. I am on both feet when I release the ball instead of putting all the weight and force on one leg, in this case an already injured left knee. You might need to do some specific exercises to strengthen these parts. See your doctor. Throw out the easy slide.
      Like any change, not sliding takes some practice but once you get started it becomes easier.
      An advantage to not sliding is its surface independent.
      As for the question of age, I just saw an article about a 90 year old recently who bowled several 300 games in a tournament. The crew I bowl with are 70-93 in years. So, No you are not too old.
      Feel free to post here any stories and issues you find.

    • Jeremy

      Toss the easy slide and get a slide shoe cover. They cost about 10 to 15 bucks they last about 100 games and they are amazing on stick approaches. I loaned my old one to my son in-law the other night and he was able to slide like a pro in rented shoes. It is like putting felt on your shoe sole . Thee slide on and stretch over the toe and sole of the shoe, a elastic strap on the heel holds it in place.

      • admin

        The issue is sliding itself, not how its done. In my case I had to relieve the stress caused by sliding. The fact that all the weight and force caused by sliding is on one leg, ie, one knee, which has an injury already, is the problem. A slide shoe cover does not eliminate this.

        Sliding itself is not necessary, especially when there are other problems.

        • Jeremy

          That was more in response to the person saying that they are having a hard time even with easy slide. If I replied to you instead I apologize.
          I have been told both ways. One person says sliding puts less stress on the leg and joints and the next says planting does. I think a lot depends on the bowler and approach speed and style. I know this much tho if you hit the approach expecting to slide and you don’t because you stick because some drunk bowler spilled their beer it can really hurt you and your game.

          I have bowling since the 90’s. Sadly I have AV necrosis in both hips and it is getting far to painful to bowl either way. I am seeing the doctor tomorrow to talk replacement. I was told to stop bowling months ago. But if you are a real bowler you under stand the addiction.

          That said the slide cover comment was meant for Lete Fay Thomas. I told the rest so you could see I understand joint pain. It has ruined my game I cant really bend the knee and get down because it stress the hip. Then sometimes I have to step over to the right before I can get the ball off my hand good.

          • admin

            Good news is that hip replacements work for a lot of people. And ask your doctor specifically about bowling.

            Keep us posted on your journey.

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