Briggs Consulting

Briggs Consulting

A consulting firm specializing in:

  • Bowling Education
  • Training & Research
  • Development
  • ... and much more

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Have a question for Dr. Jeff? Here is your chance to ask the #1 fitness expert in the sport of bowling. Contact him at

Q. I have a problem with late timing, what can be done to correct this?

A. Timing
The very nature of the word suggests two or more things working together or opposite of the other. Timing in bowling is a word often used, misused, discussed, misunderstood, and ill-taught with many self-proclaimed “coaches”. Professional Instructor Mike Nyitray and I often discuss the nature of meaning of timing, and more importantly it’s value to the bowling approach.

Timing refers to the nature of the armswing in relation to the steps. Here at Briggs Consulting we have biomechanically reduced the 4-step approach to understand the various segments (body parts), their movements, direction, forces, stresses, stressors, and impact on other dynamic components (other moving body parts). No one else in the sport has, to date, truly studied the nature of the approach using today’s sport science technologies and advances. At least none that we are aware of as the leading sport science firm to the industry. Anyway, cinematography reveals the forces of the armswing and the forces of the steps (cadence, gait, direction, and rhythm) impact each other to the degree that one can either work with the other, against the other, or independent of the other. Wow, that’s a mouthful. In layman’s terms, we have determined the things you want to know about timing and how to apply and understand them for your game.

You have a problem with late timing, which means what exactly? Late timing according to Mike Nyitray, a fellow coach and BEC clinician, can be a very good thing or skill to develop as a bowler. My opinion of late timing varies only slightly. Late timing can make it difficult for a bowler to swing the ball underneath the throwing shoulder, next to the slide leg, creating abnormal forces and muscular use of the upper body, in order to move the late swing to the intended release point. Hence, the bowler uses upper body strength and motions to get “through” the shot and to release the ball. Late timing, without using the sweeping nature of the balance arm (only if your game is designed to do so), can be a difficulty to maneuver the ball to the point of release at the appropriate time.

What I usually see is the common “chicken wing” “early turn” and re-direction of the follow through across the body. Simultaneously, with these rotational forces, the lower body reacts in an equal and opposite direction by often falling off the shot, hopping, or twisting the opposite direction.

How to fix it, that’s not easy. Determine where during your approach you become late, and then understand why. Attack the problem, not the symptoms. When and where you become late is where you should start looking. I recommend a qualified professional instructor like Mike Nyitray or myself to work with you. Doing so over the net is very very difficult. So, if you can further describe the nature and resemblance of your late timing, then I can deduce it further.

Q. How important is ball speed - if you have a low ball speed should you try to improve it? How can you increase ball speed without sacrificing accuracy?

A. Ball speed is relative to the individual. Each bowler has a different benchmark ball speed. He at our training institute, we train bowlers to develop the skill to vary their ball speeds (consistently and confidently) on command. We also teach bowlers the proper rationale for adjusting ball speeds (lane play). I would say there is no ideal ball speed or optimal ball speed, since it's really contingent on the player, style, their personality, and relative to the lane conditions they bowl. Obviously, one common adjustment is to increase ball speed when lanes appear to be stronger (hooking more than normal), or to reduce ball speed when lanes appear weaker (tighter) than normal. But, to be able to adjust your ball speed on command comfortable, confidently, and to then be consistent at it for a period of time (games), that takes work, training, practice, patience, and skill development.

Adjusting ball speed is accomplished in a couple manners. A great deal of developing ball speed variations is contingent on your style, and is nearly impossibly to teach over the net. But, some simple guidelines follow. If you have a free armswing (fairly close) and you employ a relaxed game and approach cadence, then you can attempt to raise the ball to shoulder height in the stance, and then generate a larger than normal pushaway (upward and outward), at least it will feel upward and outward. But do not let these feelings deceive you, for they will not necessarily be matched up to reality. By generated a larger pushaway from a higher height, your armswing should ideally swing faster and further into your backswing, and then maintain a similar swing speed and cadence on the downswing on through the release. Your footwork might speed up, or increase its cadence simultaneously, it really depends if you are a swing-dominant style of player or an approach-dominant style of players. Either way, allow your body to adapt its cadence to your increased armswing speed and length. These are things you can practice under the watchful eye of a professional instructor who can help you develop these skills appropriately. Remember, quality instruction and training enable you to reinforce your practice, or correct the flaws in them since you cannot see yourself bowl, and you do not necessarily see and know the way (path to perfection).

So, my suggest would be to practice varying your ball's speed if you want to develop it as an adjustment variable.

Q. I would like to know a good drilling for medium to medium heavy oil situations for a "tweener" with ball speed (about 20 feet from the pins) of 15.5 mph as measured by the lane monitor, axis rotation of about 45 degrees, with axis coordinates of 5-1/2 over and 3/4 up.

A. Let's see here. Your PAP reveals a fairly high track, but I cannot determine the exact amount of axis rotation from the data, although you alluded to roughly 45 degrees. 15.5 MPH ball speed at the 40 foot mark could reveal some amount of friction already occurring (assumption), so the initial ball speed off your hand is higher. No revolution count was provided, and we really don’t know much about the lane condition at the backends.

With this information in hand, with a high track player, it is suggested to place the pin above the line from PAP to ring finger so the bowler does not track over the fingers. If the lane condition is more on the Medium/Heavy side, I suggest a ball that reads the lane a little earlier, and since the bowler tracks fairly high on the ball, more ball surface will come in contact with the lane with each revolution, enhancing the reaction.

I would start with a lighter-load particle ball, Medium/Low RG, slightly shined, but not too much (subjective to the individual). Drill the ball with a pin distance of 4” to 4-½”, and the CG kicked out (shifted) towards the PAP, but not enough to warrant a weight hole (estimation), as one could be added later to assist the ball with even earlier roll. The 10:30 drilling (CG right of Pin) will help the ball roll earlier, and the pin distance will cut down on some of the flare supporting it on a “medium” lane condition. The slightly polished cover will also help, but can be dulled if the ball’s motion tends to skid too far before it starts up (into a roll). You can even try a balance hole for a little more after that.

In conclusion, look for a manufacturer who produces a lighter-load particle ball, lower RG statistics but not too low, a 4” to 4-½” pin distance, CG swung toward the pap 3” 3-½” from PAP, but only shift it off center enough not to warrant a weight hole to start, slight polish on the ball and review the reaction before manipulating it further. If the bowler is on a heavier oiled lane condition, the cover can be dulled if needed, and then a balance hole could be added later. If the bowler is on a more “medium” lane condition, the cover can be polished. Remember, determining lane conditions in terms of heavy oiled, medium, or light are relative to the individual.

Q. What can a participant of a one-day BEC Clinic expect to learn or be taught?

A. A BEC Overview
The Bowlers Educational Clinic, herein referred to as the BEC, is a group of nationally and internationally recognized and talented trainers who conduct 1, 2 and 3-day seminars and clinics throughout the United States. Founded the summer of 1996, the BEC has conducted over 40 clinics in the past 6 years in ? number of states. BEC clinics are focused on helping bowlers of any skill and ability to improve and refine their athletic performance in the sport of bowling. In-depth presentations conducted by subject matter experts using state-of the-art presentation software and personalized on-lane instruction make the Bowlers Educational Clinic the best traveling training organization for the sport of bowling available to the public.

The instructors of this workshop are some of the top coaches and most highly educated trainers throughout the bowling industry. With backgrounds in sports science, adult education, sports psychology, physical education and physics, this talented team provides a unique perspective in all aspects of bowling performance.In addition, all of the BEC trainers have obtained USA Bowling, Young American Bowling Alliance and/or International Bowling Pro Shop & Instructors Association certification. In fact, some of the BEC staff members have contributed to the development of the education programs used by the YABA, USAB and IBPSIA certification organizations. Several of the BEC staff members have traveled around the country developing high school and college programs and athletes.Others travel with the professional tours and touring players as coaches, ball fit advisors and competitors. BEC staff have even traveled abroad to coach internationally for the FIQ level of player with a high degree of success in developing award-winning teams.

With the time constraints of a 1-day clinic, a BEC attendee can expect 3-4 hours of solid educational classroom instruction on such topics as Lane Conditions, The Physical Game, Sport Science, Sport Medicine, The Olympic Bowler-Athlete, Ball Motion and Player Types, The Mental Game, Mental Preparation for Competition, Stress Management, Equipment, Targeting & Spare Shooting, and much more. Each classroom presentation is offered using PowerPoint presentation technology, in-class exercises, and provides each attendee with a professionally prepared workbook covering all presentation. The BEC attendee can also expect 3-4 hour of on-lane coaching and instruction, evaluation of current physical game, gait, ball motion, pre-shot routine, mental imagery, visualization, target lines, and skill drills. As time permits, each BEC attendee will have the opportunity to work with several instructors including a grip and fit check, and digital video review with our Video Analyst.

Q. If a bowler has limited time for practice (say 1 hour per week), what is the best way to utilize that practice time?

A. If a bowler only has only 1 day to practice, and only 60 minutes on that single day to practice, I suggest segmenting that practice session into three (3) 20-minute focus points, working on a single item during each segment. Break the segments down as follows:

1) Targeting - work on keeping the head steady while rolling balls in an attempt to develop confidence in a targeting strategy, while simultaneously developing a psychological aspect, confidence.

2) Steps - work on a smooth fluid approach to the foul line, not running, not lackadaisically walking, but employing a natural walking gait.

3) Spare Shooting, - spent the last 20-minute segment rolling at some spares. Pick the spares considered most difficult, corner pins, etc, and even practice varying the angle to the spare.

Remember, no scoring while you practice, focus on your focal points outlined and practice perfectly.

Q. What one thing would you say is the largest benefit of training and fitness for bowling?

A. This really depends on the frequency, mode, duration, and intensity of training. This is actually a loaded question that has no real one single answer, but I will offer something up. If I were to generalize and pinpoint one specific overwhelming benefit to sport-specific training and bowling, I would say that a better-conditioned athlete functions better. Therefore, the better conditioned bowler-athlete will function better. That's a generalized "largest" as you requested benefit.

Copyright 2006 Briggs Consulting

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