Saturday, July 12, 2014

When Bowling, You Should Always Be Able To Find The Pocket

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're correct." -Henry Ford-

Have you ever gone into competition and, after the warm-up period is over, thought to yourself, "I didn't find the shot so I'm gonna have a tough time tonight?"

Do you realize that you may have just given the game away to your opponents before the first frame is even thrown?

(Your mental game just took a punch to the gut.)

I guarantee that if you uttered that comment out loud, you'll have boosted up the other team's momentum and confidence.

Wouldn't you feel good if you heard your competitor say that to you? Every bowler in a match wants to hear negative thinking like that.

After all, when we bowl in league, aren't we looking for any advantage possible to win the points?

Regardless of the lane conditions, the winning edge has tilted over to the opponent's side when they hear their foe say, "I haven't found the line."

Two things every good bowler should strive for:

1) Always find a way to get to the pocket.

2) Never broadcast where you're currently at to your opponent(s).
(NOTE: Body Language and outward displays of frustration are also, "broadcasting."

Number 2), above, is pretty easy to accomplish because all it takes is a little self-discipline on your part.

For 1), above, it will take practice and the ability to look at your game with a broader view.

When I talk about "arsenal," I'm not only talking about the different bowling balls you may have; I also mean your arsenal of hand releases, ability to vary ball speeds, and the different angles you're able to lay the ball down on the lanes with.

Bowling balls, hand releases, and speeds are subjects that I find many bowlers are familiar with primarily because they're common topics of conversation around a bowling center.

Being able to play different angles, however, is a different story, because the "playing the angles," I'm speaking about are NOT "standing 20, aiming 12," or "standing 23, aiming 15," or "standing 35, aiming 25."

"Playing the angles" comes from the "old rubber ball days," and are commonly spoken of as, "Down-and-In," "Up the boards," and playing an "Away" shot.

Very briefly, "Down-and-In," means the ball stays on the board (line) you lay it on until it hits the the pocket.

"Up the boards," means the ball never moves to the right of the board (line) you lay it on, rolls 2 to 4 boards to the left (sometimes), and dives for the pocket.

An "Away" shot, means the ball moves to the right of the board (line) you lay it on and somewhere down the lane, hits the breakpoint and makes its dive for the pocket. (1 board or 20 boards to the right, it's still "away.")

A suggestion of how to practice these shots is, the next time you practice, have a purpose of hitting the pocket from (say) the 2nd Arrow using a "Down-and-In," an "Up the boards," and an "Away shot."

Think of it this way, if you have 3 reactive bowling balls, 2 different hand releases, can vary your speed 2 ways, now you add in 3 different methods for "playing the angles," how much has it increased your "arsenal" and ability to hit the pocket under differing conditions?

Your "arsenal of shots" will not be complete until you practice being able to play these "old rubber ball days" angles.

Here's a final thought: I know a local bowler who generally only uses one bowling ball, can vary his speed appropriately for the volume of oil on the lane, and usually plays either a "Down-and-In" or "Up the boards" shot. He averages between 225 and 235 regardless of the bowling center and oiling pattern.

He can find a way to hit the pocket from anywhere.

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