Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why Bowl For Score When Practicing?

I get a lot of bowlers who make comments like, "I practiced on Tuesday and bowled terrific; but, in tonight's league, I'm doing terrible" or "I shot a 268 in practice on Wednesday and now I can't hit the pocket to save my soul."

I try to explain to them that those comparisons are the same as "apples-to-oranges" because it's a different day, different lane condition, and different environment.

Still, they continue to practice bowling worrying about their score rather than working on their game.

You can't practice in league or any other form of competition. You should practice during your practice sessions so that you'll be ready for competition.

We all have to practice to become better bowlers.

Are you the type that only cares about how high your practice scores are or are you the type that ignores the score and works on improving the fundamentals of your game?

If you are the latter, than this article will be of interest to you.

There are, no doubt, many different practice routines out there.

Over the years, I have picked up a few that I will use at various times when I practice.

The first and foremost thing you have to get in your mind is to never, ever worry about your score when you are practicing.

Here are five of the routines I generally use:

(Note: While I'm now a multiple ball user, I used these same, slightly modified routines when I only had my one Manhattan Rubber bowling ball - for example, instead of a spare ball, use a house ball of the rack.)

1) Bowl using only your spare ball, if you have one. This will force you to try a different line or angle to the pocket. It will also make you throw a tighter line than you are probably used to. Moreover, what happens if you get into a competitive situation where you only have your spare ball to bowl with?

2) Bowl using a different target (mark) in each frame. I do this exercise as follows: 1st frame, 1st arrow (five board); 2nd frame, 2nd arrow (10 board); 3rd frame, 3rd arrow (15 board); 4th frame, 4th arrow (20 board); 5th frame, 5th arrow (25 board).

From the 6th frame on, reverse the steps starting with the 25 board. This will force you to think about how your ball normally breaks and how you have to adjust your shot to the pocket in order to accommodate for the different angles.

3) If you have multiple balls, use a different ball for each throw. I set my four balls on the ball rack in no particular order. Always picking up the last ball in line, I just keep going until the 10 frames are completed or until I choose to stop. This gives you a pretty good workout because you are continuously in motion and you will feel yourself perspiring a little.

4) Bowl to practice the 10 pin spare. Here are two methods - a) shoot every shot only at the 10 pin until you can pick it off cleanly, on a consistent basis, without hitting any other pins in the rack; and, b) aim at the 10 pin on your first ball and pick up what's left with your second ball.

5) Bowl games using only one target or mark. (Use only the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th arrows for this routine.) If you pick the 2nd arrow, then all strike balls and spare balls must use only that target or mark.

As I said earlier, there are many variations and/or different methods.

Whether you've heard of these five methods or not, I hope you take the overall attitude that in practice, scores do not matter; rather, improving and sharpening your bowling skills are what's important.

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