Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beyond Recreational Bowling

So your interest in the sport of bowling is now beyond the once-in-a-while, recreational past-time and are ready to take your game to the next level.

Your first step is to buy your own ball and shoes (and, of course, a bag to carry them in); secondly, find someone who is willing to coach you and give you lessons; and third, practice, practice, practice.

I recommend that your first ball be a used or low-end reactive ball drilled for minimum hook in what I call the "straight up drilling." Your local Pro Shop will be able to help you with ball selection and more detailed advice. (They will usually have some older model or used balls available for purchase at very economical prices.)

The reasons are not only to keep the cost down, but until you settle on the particular style - line bowling or cranking the ball - you'll be  comfortable with, it really makes no sense to spend $200 or more on a top model ball that you can't control. This will not be the only ball that you buy.

The shoes you rent from the bowling alley are generic and made for both right-handed and left-handed bowlers so both soles are leather.

This decreases the amount of leverage you will have as you release the ball. When you look at the shoes that are manufactured for personal sale, the sliding sole is leather and the other sole is rubbery.

The rubber is for grip to give you a better posture and stance as you enter into your slide and release the ball down the lane.

There are bowling shoes that allow you to replace the sole of your shoe based on how slippery or "sticky" the lane approaches happen to be.

Practice - there is no way around it.

If you want to get better, you must get into a routine of regular practice sessions, preferably with a coach.

Ask around at your favorite bowling center and you can generally find coaches who charge little or nothing to help you with your game.

Look at it this way, all PBA Tour bowlers have coaches and in fact, all professionals, including Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer of all time, has a coach who helps him with his game.

There are also many books, CD's, and DVD's available that provide excellent hints and tips; but, they won't replace the real-life bowling coach.

"Practice With Purpose" rather than just going out to get high scores, because when you get right down to it, your score in practice does not matter.

Most experienced bowlers will often throw an entire game focusing on only one aspect such as picking up the 10 pin, keeping their elbow tucked in to their sides, or shooting the ball off a different arrow in each frame.

What matters is fine tuning of your style, timing, methods, spares, and overall approach to the sport of bowling.

Earl Anthony, one of the greatest bowlers of the modern era, has been quoted as saying, "never throw any more ball than you have to."

If you watch videos of him bowling, you will see a very simple, yet highly effective style that managed to dominate the sport for many years in his heydey.

Walter Ray Williams, Jr.,  who just surpassed Mr. Anthony's PBA tour win record, also has a very simple, yet highly effective style. Nothing fancy, just excellent basic fundamentals, accuracy, and consistency.

In your approach to the sport of bowling, as with many things in life, the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple, Sir) should prevail.

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