Every day we bowl, we see a different style or way of attacking the game of bowling. Today I am going to break down how sliding will help with your accuracy. "How much should I slide?" "Should I slide at all?" "How will sliding improve my game?" These will be some questions I'll answer for you.
"Should I become a Planter?" What is a Planter, you ask? This bowler has very little to no slide at all. These types of players are usually your power crankers. They are not really known for their accuracy but are definitely able to put revolutions on the ball. This type of player could develop knee problems. Some planters take out the approach in the game. Face it, we have all gone to those houses where we have sticking problems or even just the opposite and slide too much. So we plant at the line to take out that factor. When planting, it creates a small swing plane. The shorter the swing plane, the less room for error you have with accuracy. So, some of the positives to planting are Power, Revolutions, and the ability to take out the factor of sliding(Sticking or Slipping). The negatives to planting are possible knee problems and also impeding your accuracy.
"What if I want a long slide?" Marshall Holman always comes to mind when I see someone who has a lengthy slide. The longer your slide is, the longer your swing plane will be, which always helps with accuracy. This style will also help your knee, since you are not coming to a stop and then releasing, putting all your torque on your leg. You may have some issues generating power and revolutions due to a prolonged slide. Also, you are bringing more of the approach into play. By bringing more of the approach in play, it may cause sticking or slipping problems.https://youtu.be/fMvzA5SaVu8
"Which style works the best?" As you can see, there are positives and negatives to both styles of the game, so that is a tough question to solve. It really boils down to what feels comfortable for you. Also, practicing a lot will only benefit you. A particular style that would benefit everyone to try and imitate would be that of David Ozio. He doesn't have a very long slide but he also does not plant, so he gets to taste a bit of both worlds. Obviously more than just your slide comes into play when throwing a bowling ball. If you take a look at a lot of the top players in the game--Chris Barnes, Pete Weber, Norm Duke, I could go on and on with names--they all have a medium slide in their game. With that medium slide they are able to be accurate and also generate enough revs and speed to help with pin carry. Even Jason Belmonte, a two-handed bowler, has a decent slide in his game. Your slide will be a comfort thing, as in how much slide feels comfortable to you.
Next time you head out to bowl, take a look at your game and see if sliding more or less could benefit it. Again, there is more to this game than just the slide in order to throw strikes, the slide just happens to be one of the things that we overlook the most. Remember to enjoy the game of bowling and, as always, Practice Practice Practice.
Steve Lemke Bowling.com SFA NCAA Coach