Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Darkness Has Become Light --- A Bowling Article By Larry Ely

Darkness has become light!

I want you to put your hands in the air like you don’t care and say, “I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT”!!  Can I get a hallelujah?!!

Instead of telling you all of the things I did during my “Blackout”, let me just cut right to the chase and let you know that I have come to a certain understanding.

That understanding is that what I have actually been doing all year long by changing this and changing that is developing my “A Game”.  As you have been listening to all of this all of this time are a bunch of variations in timing, speed, body position and release, none of which could be called an “A Game”.  I can do a lot of things and make the ball react many, many ways, but I have not been able to do any of them consistently well.  In other words I have changed so much and so many times that I am always dealing with  “B to G Games”.  It is now time to perfect one of them that I can call my “A Game” and then go from there to develop maybe one other game that I call my “B Game”.  Otherwise I will continue to go round and round and round on the Merry-Go-Round.

Also, I have finally realized what I do to a bowling ball.  I did not think that I did as much as what I do, but now I realize that I basically “torque the livin’ s—t” out of the ball.  No wonder I cannot keep it on the lane!!  That is why my “A Game” will be a release that is in between ripping it and going dead straight up the back of the ball.  That particular release for me is the ball in the palm of my hand with my wrist slightly cocked in and just let it roll off from that position.  That way I do not get too much reaction, but enough reaction to hit the pocket on a good angle and hit hard.  This release is also one that is the most comfortable for me and the most consistent.  Now that the decision has been made I just need to perfect it.

The “B Game” that I will try to perfect later will be the straight shot up the back of the ball.  This is very difficult for me, because I am like the baseball pitcher that cannot throw anything straight.  In other words no matter what I do I make the ball hook to a certain extent.  However, I think that I need to teach myself this one, because there are times when I need to be able to throw the ball straight.

It does not do me any good to be a “Jack of All Trades” and not an expert at any of them.  If I can perfect an “A Game” and then a “B Game”, I think I will be much better off.

In order to accomplish this for next season I have decided not to bowl any leagues this summer and just practice, practice, practice in order to perfect these two versions.  There is a pass available to be able to bowl 3 games a day from May 21st to September 3rd at a few different houses that will help me to get this done.  Just go to bowlsummergames.com, put in your zip code and you should see two different prices to get two different deals.  One is for three games a week and the other is for three games a day and it shows you the various houses that are participating.

It only took a few years for me to get through to myself, but at least I finally did!!

Larry Ely

Friday, December 1, 2017

Bowling - The Process of Elimination


For quite some time now we have talked about working and living the “Process”.  Well part of the “Process” is, "The Process of Elimination.”

That is, of course, if you have anything to eliminate or change.  For instance, Don, it sounds like you are where you want to be, correct?

However, I am not where I want to be yet, so I am still going through “the process of elimination.”  This goes back to what I call, “Keepers”.

There are certain basics for timing and ball speed and release where you get to a point where you say to yourself, “That is a keeper”.

However, sometimes what you thought were “Keepers” end up just being band aids, so you end up eliminating them.

So, each one of us has certain items that fit nowadays and certain items that do not and you have to be honest with yourself on what those are.  (I have found myself kidding myself about what I think should work, but really doesn’t and shouldn’t be based on today’s “modern game.”

If you go back to the big article that we all shared some time ago where we were told that, “Old School no longer works,” it was definitely correct, but how do us older guys compensate?

Do we completely alter our games to convert to the new style? Can we even do that? If so, how long would it take?  Or do we just take a closer look at what we can do with our own games to make it the best that it can be?  I do not know about you, but I for one will not be converting to the “New Style” of bowling.

So, what can we do?  We can look around us and see what works and what doesn’t work.  We can look around us to see who is scoring and who is not and try to figure out why.

What I see is those that are scoring do not necessarily bowl “New Style”, but they have certain things in common:

1.       Good ball speed.
2.       Not too many revs, so the ball works the way it is designed.
3.       Bowl more straight up the lanes.
4.       Use new equipment that is very strong.

In other words, they are matching speed, revs, line and ball to match the lane conditions today. They are giving themselves margin of error and, thus, better carry.

Now, I have to look at my own game; and, by analyzing what works today, and understanding how I can get close enough to what works, in order to start scoring again.

1.       Ball Speed:  The only way that I have found for me to get enough ball speed to go straight up the lane is to “suitcase” the ball (Fingers on the side with a broken wrist).
2.       Less Revs:    Currently I throw way too many revs and not enough ball speed to go with it, so one of the ways that I can get less revs, but enough rev up at the pocket to carry is by going to the “suitcase” shot.
3.       Straighter up the lanes:  Again, the only way that I can consistently go straight up the lanes is by using the “suitcase” shot.  I have tried going flat up the back, but I am very inconsistent doing that.
4.       New equipment:  The only way that I could use a new, strong ball is by “suit casing” the shot, because otherwise I will hook the entire lane with these new balls.  However, I could go to urethane, but I think the real solution is good ball speed, less revs and a strong ball.

So now you see where my process of elimination has brought me.  Again, this is just me analyzing my own game……. we are all different and do not all have the same problems.

Do you fall short in any of the areas that I listed and, if so, what is the solution for you?  Also, do you feel that anything I have listed should or should not be on the list and/or do you have more to add for thought?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Changing My Bowling Game, Part 4

During the Friday Night league practice, I felt way out of synch. As we used to say when I was in the Air Force, “I felt as coordinated as an elephant trying to tip-toe across thin ice.”

It was tough to pinpoint the problem because I would sometimes drop the ball, sometimes hang up in the ball, but, one thing was certain – I wasn’t posting my shots at all.

Another thing for certain, if I didn’t figure out what I was doing wrong, it was going to be a frustrating night. Of course, the first thing I thought about was my rhythm and timing because of the recent change(s) in my bowling game.

Hold the ball high, hold the ball low, move forward on the approach, move back on the approach, concentrate on taking deliberate steps, nothing was working.

I even changed bowling balls though I knew it wasn’t the ball. (A note here is that my bowling ball arsenal sucks right now – a “dead” Total NV that tends to leave 8-10, 4-5, 4-5-7, 5-7, and 5-10 splits plus a “vintage” Absolute Inferno that for some reason, loves to leave 4-9 and 4-7-9 splits.

People tell me it’s not the ball, but why doesn’t my Roto Hy-Wire or my Storm Hy-Road leave those splits as often as those balls do?

Which is another theory I have – each bowler will have a particular manufacturer that will somehow match their style and method of bowling – however, that is for another time and article, if I decide to write about it.

So back to Friday night bowling. We start the first game and I still feel like the elephant and I “pound the pocket,” blow two 10-pins and end up with a 170. I believe I had one double.

The second game is not any better as I remember blowing two 10-pins, but there must have been a three-bagger (turkey) in there somewhere because I ended up with a 190. I’m still not feeling right throwing the ball, more like a pregnant elephant at this point in time.

Don’t ask me how, and don’t ask me why, but in the third game and after three 10-pins to start the game (I converted them; but, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I suddenly felt as though my right arm was “floating” on those spare shots.)

“Floating” on those spare shots. My mind now remembers about the unforced, pendulum armswing – don’t ask me how, and don’t ask me why – I just happened to do it and I absolutely felt it when I threw the 10-pin spares. Those shots felt good!

“Light bulb time.” Coming up to the 4th frame, I focus my efforts on keeping my armswing loose and pendulum-like and the ball reacts accordingly because it rips the pins to shreds (or so it seemed). I strung three more “rippers” for a 4-bagger, then dropped the ball and left an absolutely weak “bucket-with-the-man-in-motion,” (2-4-5-7-8). I knew that I had “muscled” the shot.

(Just as an aside, a couple of years ago, I heard one of the bowling announcers, Lucas Wiseman I believe, refer to that leave as a “dinner bucket with a side salad.”)

I recover with two “ripper” strikes in the 9th and 10th frame, then a solid 10-pin for a clean game 220. One of the best games I’ve thrown in league in recent times – posted every shot except for the weak bucket and picked up all my 10-pins.

The take away here is that, by accident and unexplainable (by me), I may have found my overall problem – “muscling the ball” rather than a relaxed, pendulum armswing. It sure felt good in the 3rd game; and now, I have to re-create and repeat that feeling in the arm as I'm going forward with my game change(s)..

It’s always a work in progress. By the way, I got the elephant off my back in the 3rd game.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Changing My Bowling Game, Part 3

Continuing with my game changing, I move into Wednesday night league with things feeling good. During practice, I hit the pocket consistently and struck each time (many guys don’t like that because they say it portends a bad start once the score keepers come on for the actual game).

I shoot a clean 1st game for a 228, then shoot a 222 with one blown 10-pin. Not being able to pick up that pin consistently is probably the biggest cause of my averaging dropping.

Not making those spares works on my mind and I start pushing myself to catch up because of needing to string strikes to make up for the missed spares. (The “compounding effect,” where mistakes build upon mistakes and you very rarely catch up.)

In the 3rd game, the dreaded transition gets me frustrated and I make some bad changes (not being patient, really) and end up with zero doubles, only a couple of strikes, and four open frames for a 156. I go stone-7 (blow it), 10-pin, fast-8, then I change balls to my Total NV.

The NV goes strike, then a 4-5-7 split. I had suspected this ball of being “dead” because whenever I brought it back into my arsenal, I left a lot of 8-10 splits with it. I then switch to a Brunswick Absolute Inferno and leave a solid 4-7-9 split. Another bad choice as this ball has never performed good for me. Somehow Brunswick cover stocks and weight blocks don’t agree with me.

(Also, note that the NV and Inferno are really old bowling balls that I brought out of retirement “just to try” since I’ve been bowling so badly.)

I go back to my Roto Hy-Wire and finish out the series with a 170+ for a dismal 770+ after a 450 two game start.

Looking back at the 3rd and 4th games, I surmise that with the reduced ball speed, the lane changes will affect my bowling ball much more than with my previous style. Although there doesn’t seem to be that much less ball speed, the oil changes will require me to make larger changes – 5 and 3, rather than 2 and 1. It may even require a Zone Change.

Still, Whenever I execute properly, pins are flying so I’ll continue working on this latest change in my game.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Changing My Bowling Game, Part 2

With "Changing My Bowling Game" in mind, I woke myself up on Monday morning (the 4th) and went to Bell Lanes to throw a few lines with my new purpose in mind.

What I had in mind was slower footwork and "bellying the ball" out to the 8-board at the outer marker. (That is the marker sitting on the 10-board at the 41 to 43 foot mark on Brunswick Anvilanes).

It took about a game-and-a-half to slow my feet down as I had to be more like "walking normal steps" instead of what I think I was used to.

(I apologize but I can't describe what I've been doing up to this point because my game has become so messed up. Suffice it to say that it was erratic quick steps and forced me to be out-of-balance consistently at the line.)

I bowled four games and by the middle of the 2nd game, I was feeling better because I felt myself posting my shots at the foul line. I should have tried to video myself; but, if someone were to b watching me, they would have seen me posed at the foul line, right leg trailing off to the left, and me not stumbling at all.

I finished out the 3rd and 4th games posting every single shot! Something I haven't done for at least a couple of years.

This new change has a lot of promise and may be what I've been looking for!

(Note that I don't remember what my scores were - it was practice with a purpose.)

Tuesday night Bell Toppers, it's a 5-man team league. I start of feeling really good, as I strike every ball in practice. Then, of course the score keeping starts and although I falter several times not posting (meaning that my timing and rhythm were off) I managed a 213 first game.

2nd game starts off with two 10-pins, then a stone 9 pin. The lanes are transitioning for me. After a 4-pin in the 4th frame, I decide it's time to start making some changes (impatience?). No doubles, a blown 10-pin, a couple of buckets (2-4-5-8) and score of 179.

I make a move to the left four boards, take my eyes to the 12-board at the arrows, and keep my "bellying the ball" to the 8-board at the outer marker. A couple of solid 10-pins and at least a 3-bagger which gave me a 210 for a 602 series.

(Please note: I use a three-point targeting system in that I look at the 6-pin, then the 8-board at the outer marker, then, bring my eyes to the target board at the arrows.)

This new change is still promising because when I execute properly, the pins go flying. There were shots in there that would (should) not have been strikes and moans and groans from the opponents solidify that statement.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Changing My Bowling Game

The 2017 season for me started Friday, Sept. 1. With great timing, posting, follow-through, relaxed armswing, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, I left about 4 to 5 10-pins per game and shot 560-something.

Sooo, after thinking about it for a couple of days, I’m going to throw another speculative theory out there and try it next Tuesday in the Bell Toppers league.


I have tried for two years to speed the ball up to no avail because the ball reaction (frankly) sucks. I have tried to slow the ball down; but, can’t get it slow enough to have consistent area like the “FHE”.

HOWEVER, all of the things I’ve tried have been based on attempting to keep the ball on a straighter line to the pocket. The different hand positions, the different ball speeds, the different whatever, have always been with the “down-and-in” frame of mind.

What I have never tried is to throw what I refer to as a, “Round house,” or “Bellying the ball” creating a rounder arc to the pocket. That is, moving a little bit further to the left on the approach (say 25 to 30-board) and “bellying the ball” out to the 8-board at the outer marker. Using that as a base and, keeping the same arcing ball motion, make my adjustments from there – be it hand position, ball speed, and whatever.

This change in my game will naturally entail a slower approach and a softer ball release, which of course, will result in slower ball speed. Theoretically, I should end up with a banana shaped arc instead of a hockey stick arc. Also theoretically, the slower initial ball speed should not matter too much to the reactive resin bowling ball because its energy will be saved for when it hits the dry, where it should pick up speed on its own.

I’ve tried pretty much everything else. My problem is not hitting the pocket, my problem is not being able to carry the 10-pin. We shall see.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Checking The Bowling Lane Approaches

One of the most common things that can occur on a bowling lane is someone sticking on the approach. In some of the cases, the person will fall and possibly suffer an injury.

More often than not,
the affected bowler is "snake-bit" and their game is thrown off because they are now tentative on the approach and will lose their rhythm. They either don't recover from the sticking incident and end up bowling a lousy series, or it takes them at least half-a-game or so to get over it. It has happened to me so I know the feeling.

Some sticking injuries I have personally seen are broken ankle, broken arm, broken rib, and numerous bruises on various parts of the body.
When a bowler falls on the lane, there is no predicting what part will hit first.

Even though I'm fully aware and try to be as cautious as I can before my full approach, I have stuck during my bowling sessions. In other words, no matter how cautious one is, sticking on the approaches can happen at any time. 

I see so many bowlers who don't bother to check the approach. I guess they believe that the floors and carpeting in bowling centers are kept clean all the time so they don't have to worry about it. The really serious accidents happen only a small percentage of the time so people, more than likely, don't pay too much attention to it. 

While water, spilt drinks, and food/snacks are the major causes of sticking on the approaches, there are instances when someone perspires and their sweat drips off their body onto the approach.

Anytime I get ready to bowl
, my pre-start routine includes testing the approaches to make sure I can slide properly. Here it is by-the-numbers:

1) Scan the settee and spectator sitting areas for any tell-tale signs of water, popcorn, discarded tape, and powder so that I can clean it up or at least be aware to stay away from the affected area.

2) Make sure both my soles are free of any debris
- water, tape, gunk, etcetera. 

3) Check that my sliding foot, at the foul line, in the area of the middle (large dot) and far-right and far-left portions of the lane approach do not stick.

4) If I walk away from the immediate area of my assigned lanes,
I always check at least the sole of my sliding shoe and, take a quick practice slide on the approach before I take my next shot.

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior? Paranoia? I prefer to think of it as a safety measure that is necessary to prevent an
y chance of injury to myself. I don't think reminding people to check the approaches can be over-emphasized.