During the Friday Night league practice, I felt way out of synch. As we used to say when I was in the Air Force, “I felt as coordinated as an elephant trying to tip-toe across thin ice.”
It was tough to pinpoint the problem because I would sometimes drop the ball, sometimes hang up in the ball, but, one thing was certain – I wasn’t posting my shots at all.
Another thing for certain, if I didn’t figure out what I was doing wrong, it was going to be a frustrating night. Of course, the first thing I thought about was my rhythm and timing because of the recent change(s) in my bowling game.
Hold the ball high, hold the ball low, move forward on the approach, move back on the approach, concentrate on taking deliberate steps, nothing was working.
I even changed bowling balls though I knew it wasn’t the ball. (A note here is that my bowling ball arsenal sucks right now – a “dead” Total NV that tends to leave 8-10, 4-5, 4-5-7, 5-7, and 5-10 splits plus a “vintage” Absolute Inferno that for some reason, loves to leave 4-9 and 4-7-9 splits.
People tell me it’s not the ball, but why doesn’t my Roto Hy-Wire or my Storm Hy-Road leave those splits as often as those balls do?
Which is another theory I have – each bowler will have a particular manufacturer that will somehow match their style and method of bowling – however, that is for another time and article, if I decide to write about it.
So back to Friday night bowling. We start the first game and I still feel like the elephant and I “pound the pocket,” blow two 10-pins and end up with a 170. I believe I had one double.
The second game is not any better as I remember blowing two 10-pins, but there must have been a three-bagger (turkey) in there somewhere because I ended up with a 190. I’m still not feeling right throwing the ball, more like a pregnant elephant at this point in time.
Don’t ask me how, and don’t ask me why, but in the third game and after three 10-pins to start the game (I converted them; but, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I suddenly felt as though my right arm was “floating” on those spare shots.)
“Floating” on those spare shots. My mind now remembers about the unforced, pendulum armswing – don’t ask me how, and don’t ask me why – I just happened to do it and I absolutely felt it when I threw the 10-pin spares. Those shots felt good!
“Light bulb time.” Coming up to the 4th frame, I focus my efforts on keeping my armswing loose and pendulum-like and the ball reacts accordingly because it rips the pins to shreds (or so it seemed). I strung three more “rippers” for a 4-bagger, then dropped the ball and left an absolutely weak “bucket-with-the-man-in-
motion,” (2-4-5-7-8). I knew that I had “muscled” the shot.
(Just as an aside, a couple of years ago, I heard one of the bowling announcers, Lucas Wiseman I believe, refer to that leave as a “dinner bucket with a side salad.”)
I recover with two “ripper” strikes in the 9th and 10th frame, then a solid 10-pin for a clean game 220. One of the best games I’ve thrown in league in recent times – posted every shot except for the weak bucket and picked up all my 10-pins.
The take away here is that, by accident and unexplainable (by me), I may have found my overall problem – “muscling the ball” rather than a relaxed, pendulum armswing. It sure felt good in the 3rd game; and now, I have to re-create and repeat that feeling in the arm as I'm going forward with my game change(s)..
It’s always a work in progress. By the way, I got the elephant off my back in the 3rd game.