4 Step Approach Bowling – Difference Between 4 And 5 Steps

The aim of perfect delivery is every bowler’s goal in their learning days but did you really know how to achieve it? You have probably heard about the 4 step approach to bowling but didn’t know how to do it in the proper and appropriate way. 

The 4-step approach is a basic way of bowling. It’s like a dance where you take four steps before letting go of the ball. This helps you throw the ball accurately and with power. As you walk toward the line, you take four steps and then roll the ball smoothly down the lane. This way, you can make the ball go where you want it to go and knock down the pins better.

This guide is all about how to use a 4 step approach from beginning to end to deliver a smooth delivery. 

Let’s jump into the detailed section.

What is 4 Step Approach Bowling

bowling approach

The approach used in bowling is not like taking steps on the streets, it starts from the proper hand and foot position on the spot ultimately considered an appropriate approach for a smoother delivery.

To start a bowling approach, you need to take a step on the foot the same as a bowling ball in the hand. 

On position 0, your body should be relaxed in place but ready. Bent the position of the knee 15 degrees and almost the same for the spine which should be inclined to 15 degrees.

If we talk about the position or height of bowling it is rough but it should be somewhere between the waist and chest on the right side of the body(for right-hand bowlers).

Take the first step with their right foot, and the left-hand bowler starts their 4-step bowling approach with their left foot(right-handed bowler)

The approach starts with right then left, right, and left(right-hand bowler) and the best is to finish it with the foot that is opposite the hand you hold the bowling ball.

At the end of finishing the approach, start throwing/swinging the bowling ball in a pendulum way toward the pins.

What Is The Perfect Distance For 4 Step Approach Bowling

To start an approach, it’s obvious to know your starting position from where you need to take a step toward the foul line.

To find the right spot for the 4-step bowling approach, move toward the foul line and turn your back to the pins and start counting 4 and 1 and a half steps right after from 2 inches of foul lines. Now, this is the point from where you’re going to start your approach.

You should stand in the center of the bowling lane which is about the 20th board and aim at the bowling pins.

Master The Bowling Approach – 4 Step Approach Bowling 

To implement the 4 step bowling approach appropriately, giving proper position and angle to the hand is also important as you take steps.

The following is mentioned step by step on how you can do it by following both hand and foot positions.

4 step approach bowling
Source: bryanbowls.files.wordpress.com

Step 1: Point You Shoes Towards Bowling Pins, Extend Your Arm, And Keep the Elbow Straight With Push away

In the first step of the approach, maintain your body balance and keep the right foot ready for the target direction. 

During taking the first step, one foot will be behind the body and one forward and at the same time, the right arm will start pushing the ball. 

Take the right foot (right-handed bowler) toward the defined direction where the left foot starts supporting the right foot. At the same time, extend your right arm toward the lane and make sure the elbow keeps straight whereas the left arm continuously supports the bowling ball.

For the left-hand bowler, the process will be the opposite where you will take your left foot forward and the right foot will support it and the same as the right hand support the bowling ball during the approach.

Step 2: Bring The Ball Down While The Foot Touches The Ground, and Prepare Your Arm For Down Swing When the Ball Is On Same Level As Ankle

The second step is called the downswing. In this stage of the approach, put your hand behind your knee and give an arm swing to the ball which is about half a circle.

Keep the bowling ball to the ankle level where your arm should go up and your left foot moves forward as your ball is down. During the second step, the supporting hand leaves the ball as you take a step.

Keep the scenario opposite for a left-handed bowler.

Step 3: Move The Bowling Ball Back To Highest Position

The third step is where you give force to the ball to get more swing and knock the pins down the lane.

During the third step, your right foot moves forward and your hand moves back in a pendulum way to the highest position to give a strong delivery. The height of the arm should be about shoulder height.

Step 4: Slide And Release The Bowling Ball

The fourth or final step of success depends on how you go through your previous steps of the approach. The speed of the other steps should not be too slow or fast before reaching the final step.

On the fourth step, the right foot slides back and the left foot moves forward by bending your hip to 15 degrees to get a perfect height for delivery.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While the 4-step bowling approach offers a path to success, there are pitfalls to sidestep. Let’s look at three common mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Rushing the Approach

During the game’s excitement, it’s simple to hurry through your approach. But keep in mind, being precise is best when you’re steady. Keep a steady pace, so each step goes smoothly into the next one. Going slower could actually help you get to your goals faster.

2. Incorrect Hand Placement

A good throw depends on holding the ball right. Don’t hold it too tight or too loose. Try to hold it comfortably but firmly. Doing this helps you release the ball in a controlled way, so it goes where you want it to on the lane.

3. Overlooking Balance

Balance is really important when you’re using the 4-step approach. If you don’t pay attention to your balance, your shots might go in the wrong direction. While you take steps and throw the ball, make sure your body is lined up correctly. Keep your posture steady and make sure both arms help you stay balanced.

5 Step Bowling Approach

In bowling, most of the bowlers also use the 5-step bowling approach where you take a few short and slow steps in the beginning to build momentum and the rest is identical to the 4-step approach.

The 5 step approach in bowling starts with a short step where your left foot moves forward without affecting the direction just keep it straight. 

Over the second and third steps, your next step is just after the previous one, and your hip should straight not open up which will break your momentum. The next step after these two, you’re going to take a powerful step where your left foot goes under the right one. Lastly, the final step is also called the part of slide and release. In that phase, you’re ready to throw the bowling ball toward the lane.

What Is More Powerful: A 5-Step Or 4-Step Approach In Bowling?

In bowling, Both bowling approaches work differently and our suggestion is that you should try both of them. 

If I can say 4-step or 5 steps, the 4-step approach is based on push away whereas the 5-step approach gives you more momentum. 

In 4 steps, it eliminates the first step and keeps focus on the foot and arm push away simultaneously, whereas 5 step approaches start with a relaxed step or move back one step to get momentum on their way.

Lastly, we highly recommend you try both of these bowling approaches and pinpoint which works for you perfectly.


Overall, the approach in bowling helps you to deliver smooth and perfect delivery. Every beginner who wants to improve their aim in bowling should try a 5 or 4 step approach bowling.

Related Questions

In bowling, either you follow a 4 or 5-step approach as you take steps it should be straight toward the bowling line and not give much movement to your head. In 4 steps for the right-hand bowler, take left then right, and end on the left foot. 

The third step is called the power step where you move your arm back to the highest position that should not be high from your shoulder height.

The main difference between the 4 and 5-step bowling approach is that you take small and slow steps at the beginning to build momentum whereas the 4-step approach focuses on hand position and foot movement at the same time. 

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