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Components of Fitness for Bowling

Just some of the important physiological and physical attributes of a successful bowler are exceptional hand/eye coordination and balance, good flexibility (upper and lower body), good strength (upper and lower body), good aerobic fitness and low body fat. Which of these or other fitness components are more important? Well we have looked at this several ways.

Strength was rated highest

To help in determining which components of fitness are important for bowling, many years ago I made a rating list which asked this website visitors to rate the different components of fitness on a scale of one (low) to five (high) on how important they thought each was to tenpin bowling. This poll is no longer online, but the results are presented below. The chart shows what you guys think is the relative importance of these physiological parameters in their contributions to making a champion bowler.

component rating
strength 3.9
power 3.8
flexibility 3.5
agility 3.3
aerobic fitness 3.2
speed 3.0
anaerobic fitness 3.0
body size and composition 2.8

The higher the rating, the more important people considered that component to achieving success in bowling. Strength and power were rated highest as expected. Surprisingly people did not consider aerobic fitness very important. This would be the case for individual bowling deliveries, however in a tournament situation where the bowlers must bowl for many hours, aerobic fitness will become a more important factor.

Balance and Coordination is most important

Mr BallIn a more recent poll, we ask what is the single most important fitness component for tenpin. Out of the options of Body Size and Composition, Muscle Strength, Muscular Endurance, Power, Speed / Quickness, Agility, Flexibility, Balance and Coordination, and Cardiovascular Endurance, the factor which is considered most important by the readers of this site is clearly Balance and Coordination. This was not even one of the choices in the first poll. You can add your vote too.

Another Poll

In a similar poll, we have asked people to rate the 12 factors of success for sports. Visitors to this site have rated each of these factors for the sport of tenpin Bowling, and the most important according to them are: Skill and Technique and Balance & Coordination. The two psychological factors of success Motivation & Self Confidence and Coping with Pressure Situations were also rated high. Not surprisingly, Body Size and Composition was ranked lowest! I would have thought that skill should probably be more highly ranked. I have found that asking all site visitors for their opinion, while it is interesting, does not always lead to accurate results. You can also add your ratings of Which Factors Make Successful Bowlers, and see the latest results.

Most Important Factors for Success in Order

  1. Skill and Technique, Balance & Coordination, Motivation & Self Confidence, Coping with Pressure Situations
  2. Analytic & Tactical Ability
  3. Aerobic Endurance, Reaction Time
  4. Strength & Power, Flexibility, Agility
  5. Speed / Quickness
  6. Body Size and Composition

Expert Advice

Coaches, bowlers and scientists who work with the sport will have a greater understanding of the physical and other demands of tenpin bowling. We are fortunate to have some feedback from South African bowler Maureen Swanepoel. She has given her ratings of importance for a range of fitness components for bowling. As confirmed in the polls above, skill is the most important attribute for a bowler, and the psychological factors of Coping with Pressure Situation and Motivation & Self Confidence are also seen as the most important factors for success in tenpin.

If you consider yourself an expert in tenpin bowling, you can add your opinion too.

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