Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bowler, Learn To Make Adjustments!

In the final frame of the title match of a televised PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) tournament, Pete Weber muttered, as he was losing,  "Oh, man, stupid, try to play the lanes the way I played all week instead of what was out there now."

The words may not be exact, but, I think you get the point.

How many times have people come to you and said things like, "I practiced here last week and shot 250;" or "During the practice, I was throwing nothing but strikes;" or "The last time I bowled here, I really scored well."

Actually, how may times have you felt that way?

It's not to say that there may be times when you'll be able to play the same lines and targets day-after-day or week-after-week. (Experience will tell us this is extremely rare in our sport.)

The odds are, however, that you will have to make some adjustments - be it changing balls, hand positions, or your line/target - to keep hitting the 1-3 pocket consistently so your scores don't look like a roller coaster ride when graphed.

One time, I subbed on the Monday night league and shot 257-236-213 for 706; but, I tried to maintain the same ball and same target throughout.

In the second and third games, I was hitting the pocket but kept hanging corner pins (mostly the ten pin), but the carry wasn't the same as in the first game.

"Oh, man, stupid, try to play the lanes the same as the First game instead of playing what was out there in the Second, and then the Third games."

Three days later, subbing in the Thursday night league (using the same theory of trying to play the lanes the same all three games), I shot 175-189-224 for 588.

"Oh, man, stupid, try to play (the lanes) the way I played Monday night instead of what was out there Thursday."

Would I have shot better had I made some changes?

Perhaps, but, I wouldn't have done any worse, I don't think.

We'll never know because I didn't make the adjustment(s) that were needed to get the ball to the pocket stronger and and more consistently.

The point is, the lanes will change and you cannot expect that every time you come to bowl, the conditions will be the same.

The variables are too numerous to mention here; but, they range from the types of balls being used by the other bowlers on the lanes, to the temperature inside the bowling center from one side of the house to the other.

Remember the old saying, "the only thing that doesn't change is change?"

Well, change will surely take place as you bowl so get used to it.

One thing to keep in mind though, is that the amount of adjustment that must be made is not an exact science.

In other words, no one can throw a few balls and be able say exactly how many boards, which of their bowling balls, or what position their wrist must be in to throw strikes more effectively.

It's all a guessing game.

I tell all my students that there's two types of guesses that we, as bowlers, can make as we compete: (1) "WAG," and (2) "SWAG."

A "WAG" is a "Wild-Ass-Guess," when a person has little or no technical knowledge of what they're doing. (No knowledge equals less options to try.)

A "SWAG" is a "Systematic-Wild-Ass-Guess," when a person has practiced and studied the technical aspects of their game through practice and experience. (More knowledge equals more options to try.)

I believe this is why no one is  truly dominating the sport of bowling in the USA or Internationally.

With all the different factors that can affect the lanes, adjustments are constantly needed to keep carrying strikes.

The higher scoring bowlers are the ones who made the best guess for that particular day and that particular condition.

That's also why, although you have your high average bowlers where you bowl, they do not bowl the highest scores day-after-day and week-after-week.

Sometimes the "SWAG" is correct and sometimes the "SWAG" is not.

Just keep in mind that one of the keys to raising your average is to become flexible in making adjustments when the lane conditions seem different to you.

For example, if you don't like the fact that your ball is breaking earlier on the lane than you would prefer it to - ADJUST!

You've gotta play the current conditions the way they are and not the way it was the last time you bowled on them.

When in doubt, refer to the phrase in paragraph 1.

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