What is Follow through in bowling and How do It Works?

Follow Through In Bowling

Any sports that involve major arm movement, follow-through is one of the most important detail that should not be neglected at all costs. Players who are into sports like tennis, golf, or bowling know how necessary it is to focus on follow-through while executing a shot. A perfect swing is not that hard to achieve. But without a perfect follow-through, the entire shot can get out of the track. If you don’t know what am I talking about yet and thinking about what is meant by follow-through in bowling anyway, hang in there. I’m about to brighten up your day!

What is meant by follow-through in bowling?

In bowling, the follow-through is a part of your arm swing where the continuation of your arm going forward and then naturally going upward takes place. Right after your release the bowling ball from your grip, this fully extended forward swing occurs. During the follow-through, your bowling arm cannot stop moving at soon as you let go of the ball and the arc of the swing continues until your elbow is leveled with your shoulder to the least.

But why follow-through is so important? The objective of follow-through in bowling is to ensure accuracy and good pace of the bowling ball during the delivery toward the target. A consistent and flawless follow-through actually lets you have some control over the speed of the ball and its pocket-hitting accuracy. Moreover, when you maintain this natural swing and keep it up through the end of the arc boosts your chances of striking your aim in a more precise manner.

Without having the knack of this final key element, a perfect arm swing is impossible. Plus, did you know that there can be serious physical repercussions? So, this follow-through basically makes the arm swing whole to achieve the best scores. Without follow-through, the bowling arm swing cannot be a complete unit.

Note it down, “Do not overdo the follow-through”. If you think over-swing will impart more force on your ball, you are wrong! Then again, if you pull the ball across and away right after you release it, you will do more damage than good. If you don’t complete your arm swing with the follow-through and reduce the speed at the end, you will make your dominant hand move in a line and yes, away from the target. You don’t want that, do you? This will jeopardize your entire shot and your ball might even go into the gutter.

How To Complete The Bowling Swing Follow Through?

Do you know what is the most necessary thing to do to complete a bowling swing follow-through? Firstly, it’s your hand position followed by body position and secondly, it is doing the right thing at the right time. It takes about 3-5 seconds to approach the lane and release the ball. A lot of things happen within these few seconds. So to understand what I’m about to say, picture the entire approach, arm swing, and ball release in slow motion.

Okay, remember what I’ve said earlier? You have to fix your target while standing in the approach area. Once you select your target arrow or board on the lane, remember that your bowling ball has to roll over the targeted area and then into the pocket. Therefore, it makes so much sense when you let your bowling hand continue its natural motion while completing the arm swing process in the targeted direction. When you restrict your hand from going forward, you don’t actually complete the swing cycle. When your bowling ball is about to get out of your hand, meaning, it is very close to the bottom of the swing arc and a bit forward for the upswing, then the smartest thing to do is to apply the rule of thumb. And what is that good rule of thumb is? You have to ease your hand muscle and let your hand swing upward with the swing arc and of course, in the direction of the target (not to the left or right).

You have to put more attention to detail. During the follow-through of bowling arm swing, you should complete the swing arc and continue until the elbow of your bowling arm is leveled with your shoulder to the least, and possibly higher. If it goes higher, make sure your arm is fully extended on every ball delivery. Never attempt to stop your bowling arm and hand near the knee level of your bowling slide leg (for righty- right leg, and for lefty- left leg).

So completing the follow-through is so important? Simply put, the ball will have a noticeable slower speed, meaning, it will lack the force as well. By restricting the free-flowing swing of the follow-through, you miss the point of a perfect bowling ball throw. Nothing can be more useless than a very slow bowling ball on the lane. Plus, it won’t even roll over the target line. On top of that, slowing your swing speed in mid-arm-swing will enable an early hand rotation and as a result, the most ineffective delivery. Your forward arm swing and follow-through motions should have a gradual acceleration on each and every delivery, no exception to that.

My advice to you will be— if you’re not completing your follow-through properly, it’s time you do. Practice until it is naturalized. For now, bowl while keeping this mandatory element in your mind, and later it will get natural. In golf, there are some shots that need less than full swing arcs. It is a different scenario in bowling. You have to do that every time you throw your bowling ball using maximum power so you can maintain a good balance. Once you get used to that tempo and repeat it several times your delivery motion will start to smooth up. A good follow-through will dramatically enhance your bowling accuracy which will eventually lead to good scores and averages.


So there you go! That is pretty much all you need to know about bowling follow-through. Are you clear with the entire concept? Although it seems like a very minor thing, it holds much significance in your game. If you have any further questions, do let me know and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Good luck!


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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