Tenpin Tutor: Bill Lish

by Gianmarc Manzione 1

By Thomas Madrecki

YOU CAN DO A LOT WITH TWO FINGERS. Show support at a rock concert. Signal victory. Bond with the fans of Texas Longhorns’ quarterback Colt McCoy. Earn the immediate disapproval of folks on the other side of the Red River. Call for world peace. Show the rest of the world what’s up.

"100 Top Coaches" member Bill Lish

But did you know you also could improve your bowling accuracy and, by extension, boost your scoring potential? According to William “Bill” Lish, you can — simply by reexamining how your gripping fingers are used throughout your approach.

“Everyone knows that you need a pre-shot routine,” Lish says. “However, what everyone needs to know is that you are setting up a shot out a target line, aiming with your two bowling fingers.”

Translated: Those two fingers are vital not only in terms of creating revolutions and axis rotation, but also in regard to where your shot travels. Becoming more aware of where your bowling fingers are during your approach will result in greater and accuracy, more easily achieved.

“The way to be accurate and hit your target line is to direct your two middle fingers to your first target point, and then across the other target points, producing targeting accuracy,” Lish says, adding that his technique reduces the need to “push” the ball toward a spot on the lane.

“Everything in life is right to left, right to left,” Lish says, providing the example of a child eating cereal. “You pick up the spoon and you move back and forth, from the bowl to your mouth. But in bowling, you’re trying to teach someone how to go straight back and straight forward.”

This difference between day-to-day life experience and the tenpin sport means that bowlers need to place special emphasis on understanding where their bodies are at all times, and also on understanding how even the smallest aspect — your finger tips, for instance — can have a dramatic impact on your overall level of play.

“Those two fingers are the driving force of your accuracy,” Lish says. “The last contact with the ball are those two fingers, and therefore they are your last chance to influence your shot.”

Your Assignment:

SOMETIMES, IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. Next time you practice, take a page out of Lish’s book and practice using your two bowling fingers to create accuracy and project your shot down your intended target line. The easiest way to practice this handy tip is to envision your fingers “rotating through” your target. From the moment you begin walking toward the foul line until you release the ball, stay aware of where your fingers are and how they function. Keeping them behind the ball and on track with the rest of your shot should improve your ability to hit your mark consistently... and score higher more often.

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