Thursday, July 3, 2014

10 Pin Taps In Bowling

Nothing bothers and frustrates people more than to hit the solid 1-3 pocket and leave what is known as a "tap," "a ringing ten," or other various names, some of them not being repeatable in public.

(Please note that while my references are from a right-handed point of view, left-handers just need to think of the pin that is the exact opposite of what is being called out in this article.)

First, a brief reminder of what a "solid strike" is - the ball hits the pins in the 1-3 pocket, ideally entering on the 17 board with a 6-degree entry angle.

The ball itself will only hit the 1, 3, 5, and 9 pins as it makes its way through the pins. When your hits are leaving the 10 pin constantly, it means it is deflecting a tad more to the right than it should and the ball is hitting the 3 pin more than it should, which then pushes the 6 pin around the 10 pin instead of directly into it.

Although people think that the ball is pushing through the pocket very strongly, it really is not. The ball is deflecting more to the right than it should.

There are some minor adjustments that you can try rather than get frustrated and upset. The most common piece of advice given is to move your starting position either forward or backward on the approach..

The amount is generally not more than 2 - 3 inches; however, depending on a person's style and the lane conditions, it could be as much as 6 inches or more.

Moving forward on the approach will make you take shorter steps and help to slow the ball speed down to come into the pocket slightly higher.

Moving back on the approach has the opposite effect of longer steps, faster ball speed, and delaying the break into the pocket.

Along the same lines, with respect to ball speeds, is to hold the ball higher or lower when you get set for your approach.

The higher you hold the ball, the faster your ball speed because of more armswing, and vice-versa.

Changing your angle to the pocket while maintaining the same ball speed and mark can be done by moving your starting position.

Again, the move is very slight, as little as 1/2 a board to 2 to 3 boards. Moving left tends to push the ball longer down the lane and moving right tends to bring the ball flusher into the pocket.

A more advanced adjustment would be to change the pressure on your fingers to "take a little off the ball," or increasing the pressure to "put a little more on the ball."

This is in reference to trying to get more or less revolutions (or "revs") on the ball. Less revs will make the ball hook less and more revs, hook more.

When doing this, remember that you can do it with both, or one or the other of the fingers. The middle finger is the "roll finger" and the ring finger is the "spin finger."

Therefore, pressure on the middle finger tends to make the ball roll up sooner while pressure on the ring finger tends to make the ball go longer down the lane.

You shouldn't get frustrated when you're leaving 10 pin taps.

Realize that the ball is not hitting the pins in the correct manner and you should try some of the aforementioned tweaks in order to increase your chances of carrying the strikes.

During your practice sessions, try all these adjustments just to see what your ball does. That way, you'll be comfortable switching to them when you are in actual competition.

To paraphrase an old joke: "Insanity is leaving 10 pin taps constantly yet, continuing to throw your ball down the lane the same way hoping for a different result."

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