A Complete Guide On Bowling Approaches - How To Improve Your Steps

A Complete Guide On Bowling Approaches – How To Improve Your Steps

What do you mean by approach in bowling? It refers to your movement toward the foul line in a specific number of steps. It is not as easy as walking in the street, but requires practice, focus, and skills.

There are mainly three types of approaches, the three, four, and five steps approaches. All these differ in various aspects and demand distinct and effective strategies.

As long as I’m concerned I’d been a junior of Earl Anthony and I’m a fan of his outstanding and magical five steps reach.

Your approach affects and defines your professionalism and also decides your performance in the game. With the correct steps, you can get a strike easily.

So, read the most thoroughly to learn all essentials about approach and clear your concept regarding the topic. In addition, I’ll provide you with tips and techniques to improve your bowling approach.

How Long Are Bowling Approaches?

Approach in bowling is measured from the starting point, just in front of the seating area, to the foul line, from where the lane starts.

The length can differ depending on the bowling center and the type of lane conditions used for the game.

In professional bowling, the approach length is generally around 15 feet, while in recreational bowling, the approach length ranges from 12 to 22 feet.

The distance of the approach may also depend on the skill level of the bowler, as some players may prefer a shorter or longer one.

4-Step Bowling Approach

Here’s a step by step instructions on four step bowling approach.

Step 1: The Stance

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing the bowling lane. Hold the ball with both hands, keeping it close to your body. Take a deep breath and relax your muscles.

Step 2: Positioning The Ball

Take a small step forward with your non-dominant foot (left foot if you are right-handed, right foot if you are left-handed).

At the same time, push the ball forward with your dominant hand. Your arm should be fully extended and the ball should be at waist height.

Step 3: Swing And Release

Take two larger steps forward with your dominant foot, stepping past your non-dominant foot. As you take these steps, swing the ball back behind you and then forward again.

The ball should be released when your arm is fully extended in front of your body.

Step 4: The Follow-Through

After releasing the ball, continue your forward momentum with your dominant foot. Swing your non-dominant arm up and out to the side for balance.

Keep your eyes on your target (the pins) until the ball reaches them.

5-Step Bowling Approach

Five step bowling approach is similar to the 4 steps with a single exception of the starting position. Here is are the step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Power and Momentum

Start by positioning yourself and taking a smaller step to generate momentum and power. In this step, you have to initiate swing with the first step.

Step 2: Push away

When take your second step, bring the ball in front of you, holding it with both of your hands. The dominant hand must be below, while the other hand should be above the ball.

Step 3: Swing Downwards

With the third step, the ball should be brought to the position of your foot,slightly above the ground.

In this stage your elbow is straight and your body is bowed maximum. From this position, you’re ready to bring the ball to your back.

Step 4: Swing Backwards

Until you take your fourth step, the ball will swing to the back. In this position try to bring turn your arm as maximum as you can to the backside to generate maximum power.

If you do it the right way, your arm and bowling foot will come at the same ane of 90 degrees. This angle is where the maximum power can be developed.

Step 5: Sliding The Ball

When you are ready to release the ball, you take the final step. The ball follows the same path as it comes downwards from the above position following a forward swing from the back.

The timing of release matters a lot as it will affect the hook you produce and the aim you target.

I suggest you release the at the middle point of it’s arc. It is the position where the ball is about to touch the ground.

3-Step Bowling Approach

Three step bowling approach is not that common because most professionals don’t prefer it. I myself don’t like this method as it reduces your stability and precision.

But still, if you want to try it here’s how you can do it:

First Step

After facing towards the pins, the first step should be started with as usual push away, but here the arms should be stretched more towards the front as you have not additional steps to generate much power for the backswing.

Second Step

The second step is the most important here. You have to relax your hand having ball and pull it with force towers your back, producing an arc.

One thing to keep in mind is, you must take longer steps in order to develop more power and maximize the swing of the ball.

Third Step

This is the final step where you have to make the ball slide through lane. I’ll suggest you the same rule of thumb to set free the ball when it reaches down, competing half of the turn.

How To Improve Your Approach In Bowling (Tips)

No matter what method you adopt for your game with friends or competing in tournaments, the basic thing to consider is improving yourself.

Here are some tips to help you in this regard.

Find a Perfect Distance

When it comes to choosing the right place, the question is where to stand when bowling?

Everyone has a unique physique and length of steps. It is better to measure and find a suitable spot for yourself.

You should start walking from the foul line to the starting point to estimate and adjust your approach.

Train Your Footwork

A consistent and smooth footwork is essential for a good approach. Start by practicing your steps off the approach to build muscle memory.

When you feel comfortable with your steps, try integrating them into the approach. Focus on keeping your steps balanced and aligned.

Sync Your Arms With Your Foot

Your arms play a critical role in your approach. Keep them straight and relaxed as you swing the ball back, and then use your momentum to bring the ball forward.

Ensure that your arm swing is in sync with your footwork.

Maintain Your Posture

Keep your head level and your spine straight as you walk to the foul line. This will help you maintain your balance and make it easier to release the ball cleanly.

Practice Your Timing

Your timing is crucial for a consistent approach. Experiment with different rhythms to find what works best for you.

Consult Professionals

It is essential to get feedback on your approach from an experienced bowler or coach. They can help you identify areas of improvement and provide guidance on how to refine your technique.

How To Clean Bowling Approaches?

One of the most important factor in bowling is maintaining the approach and lane. You can do it by simply cleaning them regularly.

As we know most approaches are wooden, so you can’t wash them with water. Moreover, they are not prone to stains as they are composed of a stained or sealed material.

You can simply use a dust mop or a vacuum cleaner to get rid of dust or debris. However, if you notice any stubborn stain, you may go for alcohol or acetone cleaners.


What is the most common approach in bowling?

The most common approach in bowling is four step approach. It can be done by holding the ball accurately, then wobbling it around a pivot and then releasing it at the the right timing.

What is the basic approach in bowling?

The basic approach in bowling is when you take four steps towards the foul line and produce a maximum momentum to roll the ball. In some cases, one additional step can be added to help you with your stability.

How to fix sticky approaches?

There are multiple ways to fix sticky approaches in bowling but the most effective I’ve tried include spreading sawdust or talcum powder over the sticky area. However, these substances may not work in many cases.

What is the best bowling approach?

Well, the best approach depends on your requirements, abilities and playing style. According to a survey most world champions use four step approach.

Final Thoughts

While the approach can play a crucial role in your gameplay, the talent, practice and capabilities can’t be ignored. So keep making better both the things.

That was all from my side and tried to deliver everything about bowling approaches. But still if you’re confused or have something in your mind in the form of a query, please comment below.

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