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Bio-mechanical terms

This wiki segment is derived from the article "Defining the game through biomechanics" by Joe Slowinski December 2011

Joe's website is

References White, N. (2003). Measurement of Joint Motion: A Guide to Goniometry (4th edition) Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.

Forearm Supination/Pronation

The neutral position for the forearm is the thumbs up position. When the hand and forearm face the ceiling, the forearm is rotated to approximately 90 degrees of supination. Conversely, when the forearm faces down, it is in approximately 90 degrees of pronation. According to both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the normal range of motion (ROM)Underlined text for both forearm supination and pronation is 80 degrees.

Wrist Flexion/Extension

The neutral (0 degree) position of the wrist is the fingers straight and the hand aligned with the forearm. Flexion at the wrist involves movement of the palm of the hand toward the palm side of the forearm. In colloquial bowling speak, this has historically been referred to as cupping the ball. Wrist extension is moving the fingers and palm away from the palm side of the forearm. Extension is often referred to as breaking the wrist. The normal ROM for wrist flexion is 60 degrees (AMA) to 70 degrees (AAOS). According to the AMA, the normal ROM for extension is 60 degrees whereas the AAOS reports it as 70 degrees.

Wrist Ulnar Deviation/Radial Deviation

Ulnar deviation is moving the wrist medially, toward the body. It is named for the ulna bone, a long bone on the inside (when the forearm is supinated) of the forearm. This is also known informally in bowling circles as cocking. Both the AMA and the AAOS rate the normal ROM for ulnar deviation as 30 degrees. Radial deviation moves the wrist laterally, away from the body. The radius bone is located on the thumb side of the forearm and is also a long bone in the forearm. The normal ROM according to both the AMA and the AAOS is 20 degrees.

Elbow Flexion/Extension

Elbow flexion is moving the forearm toward the upper arm and body. Extension refers to the movement away from the upper arm and body. In the set up of most bowlers, the forearm is supinated and flexed at ninety degrees or higher of elbow flexion. The AAOS states that the normal ROM is 150 degrees with 140 for the AMA. The neutral or zero position is the arm fully extended.

Trunk Lateral Flexion

Lateral flexion is leaning or bending the trunk to the side. For bowling, in the modern game, in order to establish an improved line of sight and space for the swing slot, lateral flexion is a critical element of an efficient game. The neutral or zero position would be standing straight. The normal ROM for the lower (lumbar) and middle (thoracic) spine is 30 to 35 degrees. In the October 2010 Slowinski at-large, I discussed the body position in which trunk lateral flexion helps create space for the swing slot as well as enhancing torso rotation.

Shoulder Extension/Flexion

In bowling terms, shoulder flexion (forward) and extension (backswing) are an important component of the physical game. The neutral position of shoulder extension or flexion is at the side, adjacent to the leg. With the arm in front of the body, the shoulder is flexed slightly. Flexion is forward movement with a normal ROM of 150 (AMA) or 180 (AAOS). The normal ROM of extension is 50 (AMA) or 60 (AAOS) degrees. Pay special attention to the normal ROM in regard to shoulder extension. The height of the swing can only be achieved by trunk flexion.

Shoulder Adduction/Abduction

Abduction is to move the upper arm away from the body. Adduction is to move the upper arm toward your body.

Trunk Flexion

The normal ROM for the lower (lumbar) and middle (thoracic) spine is 80 (AAOS) and 60 (AMA) degrees.

Trunk Rotation Some bowlers rotate the torso which places the ball-side hip and shoulder behind the balance arm side hip and shoulder.

Knee Flexion

Bending at the knee is knee flexion. The normal ROM is 135 (AMA) or 150 (AAOS).

Tom Blasco's Expert Bowling Tips

As one of Bowler Journal's Top 100 Coaches 2005 through 2009, the owner and operator of Bowler's Corner in Satellite Beach, FL since 1975 and the member of bowling's leading organizations Tom hardly needs an introduction.

Tom offers expert tips primarily geared to other bowling coaches but are also useful to amateur bowlers.

Grip Test as illustrated by Don Johnson

This is something illustrated by Don Johnson on his first video "A Pro's Guide to Better Bowling Volume 1, it is a "test" to see if the thumb-hole is too loose or too snug.

Requirements: the ball, some bowlers tape, a tool to add or remove tape. Caveat: the objective of this test is for the ball to drop off the thumb following an action an assistant will perform. A bowler could do this solo. The bowler can be standing up or kneeling down so the ball does not fall far!

Before performing the test, the bowler should check the ball to see if the ball is obviously too tight or too loose. Adjust the fit if needed.

Once the bowler thinks it fits well, the bowler should insert their fingers and thumb in the ball as per norm.

Next, the bowler should hold the ball down by their bowling side in a collapsed wrist position. Definition: Collapsed wrist in this context is like you would position palm to push yourself away from the table or on the floor to do pushups. The bowlers palm should be facing towards the floor and the ball should stay on because you've already checked to see if it was too loose. If it does slip off, add tape. If it stays on, the assistant should position their hand on the back of the bowlers bowling hand (the flip side of the palm). Now press down and straighten out the bowlers wrist. If the ball stays on, the thumb is too tight ( adjust the thumb hole tape ) If the ball easily drops off, the fit is good, this is what we are looking for.

Bowling Books, Periodicals, and Videos


Mental Game Toolbox


Analysis of Elite Bowlers by Bill Spigner

Bill has been writing the “The Pro Approach” for Bowlers Journal since May, 2008. Prior to writing for the Bowlers Journal Bill wrote “Bill Spigner's Pro's Corner” for the Chicago Bowler from 1985-1990, “Bill Spigner's Bowling Clinic” for Bowling Digest from 1983-2004. CLICK HERE to go to the Bowling Digest page to read Bill's articles. Bill's “The Pro Approach” articles will be added monthly, but they'll always be three months after they have been published in the Bowlers Journal. If you would like to read Bill's articles sooner CLICK HERE to go to the Bowlers Journal website to subscribe.

Ron Clifton's Bowl4fun

Ron has worked with PBA national title holders, top professional men and women in the PBA and PWBA regional programs, collegiate bowlers and World Team Challenge champions but the majority of bowlers Ron has had the pleasure to help are average bowlers who are determined to improve their game.

Ron began writing bowling tips for a local bowling newspaper at the turn of the millennium and began posting them on this website, The tips gained in popularity and evolved into full-blown articles; eventually some became multi-part series. Later, Ron became a contributor for Bowling This Month magazine, the foremost bowling instructional magazine in the country. You can find his articles in the magazine under the title "Top Techniques".

Richard Shockley's Virtual Bowling Channel

Now a coach for over thirty years, Richard is a member of an elite group of top coaches in the world as a USBC Certified Gold Coach. His passion for teaching players has only increased over the years and as the game has changed, Richard has kept current with all the latest teaching techniques and drills that he uses with top players in the US and throughout the world.

Above 180 Joey Cerar and Tim Burg

Bowling enthusiasts Joey Cerar and Tim Burg have unveiled this website contains: bowling news, views, tips and tricks. is a hub for bowlers–both amateur and professional–to find tools to improve their game; including podcasts, videos, articles and tournament news.

Bill Spigner

Bill has had much success on and off the lanes in the bowling industry. 3 National PBA Titles; 9 Regional PBA Titles, including 1980 Eastern Region Tournament of Champions. Bill has written for Bowling Digest and currently writes for Bowler's Journal International. Bill has an extensive list of accomplishments and credentials, he is both a USBC Gold Level Coach, 2000 and a member of the Gold Level Coach Review Committee since 2001.

Bowling Trainer / German

Thomas is a great contributor to this site. Thomas (known as nsane on

The International Art of Bowling

The International Art of Bowling is a unique bowling experience focusing on the expertise of USBC Gold Level Coach, Ron Hoppe, and USBC Silver Level Coaches, Jason Belmonte and Diandra Asbaty. Not only will the IAB offer superior coaching and instruction, but will also give bowlers a chance to be a part of something revolutionary and new. IAB efforts will be focused globally as well as domestically.

The services we offer range from personal appearances, to Bowling Bootcamp Clinics. The IAB artists, Ron Hoppe, Jason Belmonte, and Diandra Asbaty all specialize in different areas and will customize each event to suit their customer. A menu of choices will be presented to each interested party to assure a complete and well-developed Bowling Bootcamp for their customer.