Settle on the number of steps that you feel most comfortable with.
Experiment with the different steps and see which will be most advantageous and easy for you.
After finding your starting distance for the number of steps that will be taken, go through the motions for each one (“shadow bowling) until you decide.
Regardless of the first step in the approach, the greater majority of right-handers will finish their approach on their left foot (sliding foot). Left-handers will end up on their right foot.
The approaches with an EVEN number of steps (4 or 6) for right-handers will have them starting off with the right foot.
The ODD numbered (3 or 5) steps will have them starting off with the left foot. (For left-handers, the opposite will apply.)
The 4-step delivery is considered the standard and all explanation of a bowler’s delivery centers on this style. There should be a smooth coordination between the hand holding the bowling ball and the motion of the feet.
As you take your first step, push your ball forward and away from your body about the same distance as that step. Begin to let your left hand fall away from holding the bowling ball.
As the right hand naturally drops alongside the right leg, the left foot is taking the second step of the delivery.
With the weight of the ball carrying the arm behind your body in a straight arc to the top of the backswing, the third step (right foot) is taken.
Still maintaining an unforced and relaxed swing, the motion and weight of the bowling ball will carry your arm forward as you take the fourth step (left foot) and enter into a short slide that carries you to within inches of the foul line and you drop the bowling ball off your hand onto the lane.
With the basics of the 4-step approach understood, any deviations (such as the 1-step to the 6-step or beyond) is done from that foundation.
Visualization and mental imagery will play a key role as you vary your steps.
For example, if you have to take only three steps to deliver the ball, get your appropriate starting point, stand and visualize that you are going through the motions of the standard approach and allow your arm to swing as if the four steps were actually being taken.
That is, start pushing the ball forward and away from your body in a straight line while still standing in your starting position.
As you drop your left hand and the ball begins its downward arc, take your first step with your left foot.
When your arm swing reaches the top of the back swing, take your second step with your right foot.
On the forward and downward swing, take your third step with the brief slide and release the ball on the lane.
Another example is if you use the 5-step delivery and approach.
Start your first step with your left foot, but delay your push away until you begin to take your second step, which from that point on is basically the 4-step approach.
While there are basic foundations and fundamentals upon which your bowling game is built, it doesn't mean that you must follow them rigidly with no variations.
In the final analysis of your style and manner of bowling, you have to do what is best and most comfortable for you.
Without feeling natural and at ease with your bowling, it'll be difficult for you to achieve scores that are higher than the average bowler.
For the more advanced bowlers, it's a good idea to practice the different deliveries and approaches in case there's a time when your situation demands that you have to bowl with the different approach.