Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bowling The Sun City Open With Larry

653 Doubles - 801 Singles - 761 Team. That's what my buddy "Larry" shot this past weekend (5/6 and 5/7, 2017) in a local tournament. These scores are really amazing since he's been in a slump all last season plus, enduring a two month layoff to have his knee replaced.

The tournament was held in two separate bowling centers in Sun City, AZ, The Bell Recreation Center and Lakeview Lanes. "Larry" has had averages in the 220+ but, all the pain caught up with him albeit, slowly over the past three to four years. It's been pretty tough for him; but, he never let things get him down too much and he persevered, always keeping a positive mindset that things would get better.
When he reported his scores to me on 5/6/2017, after shooting the Doubles and Singles, he added the comment, "I shot pretty good ... if only for a day." I immediately texted him back that those kinds of statements didn't sound right coming from him at this time. When he texted back on 5/7/2017 that he shot a 761, he agreed that I was correct.

Anyway, I asked him to write his thoughts and actions down and send it to me in an email. I present that email, with his permission, here. I have edited for clarity and some minor grammar and punctuation; however, these are basically his own words.


When I talk to anyone about things I am doing to help my game, I am very careful in understanding what changes I made, because it helps me, in particular, and maybe not someone else. There have been too many times that I have mentioned something that I was doing to (my best friend) and he ends up trying it, but it doesn't work, because he doesn't do what I do. I feel that it does no good to tell somebody about something that is just a correction that I'm making because it's a mistake I am making. When you think about it, perhaps I should not be making that kind of correction anyway(?) because I'm not trying to put a band aid on it, I'm trying to fix it -- right now!!!

Where I have come to now is, I have incorporated those things into my game that I believe can help anybody with today’s game. It is all based on “Old Style” compared to “New Style.”

In the "Old Style," we were taught to lift upward and swing upward, because that is what helped the balls we were using to roll and hook on the lane conditions at that time. But none of that works today!! I even thought that if I broke my wrist back, that would solve the problem, but it did not, because I still lifted upward and swung upward. In those days I was told to picture a nail in the ceiling and then try to hammer the heck out of that nail with my thumb.

These days that just makes the ball overreact with total inconsistency all night long. It also uses up all of the energy in the ball very early so that it has nothing left when it gets to the pins. It looks good, but you cannot carry the corner pins. All the complaints we have heard over this past year that you cannot carry at Bell Lanes? Well, there were a bunch of guys that bowled this last weekend at Bell Lanes that did not have any problem, including me, and the lane conditions were still the same. So, why? How were they able to score?

I believe that it's because these certain players were able to help the ball hold line, come in on a good entry angle and save energy at the pins. These were four man teams and (an old-time, former PBA player's) team shot 975 the first game, 995 the second game and 938 the last game. They carried just fine. Also, we bowled with some guys from Tucson that were very good and they had virtually no problem with carry. However, I saw some of our "local" guys that were still having the same old carry problems. Again, why?!!

Here are four things for bowlers in the modern sport of bowling to consider:

Number 1) They all push/roll the ball down the lane and not drag/roll the ball down the lane. What I mean by that is that their hand and fingers are behind the ball in a position to push the ball down the lane rather than just rolling the ball down the lane.

If your fingers are well above the equator**, then you are just dragging the ball through and dropping it off along the way. The ball floats on the lane, uses up all of its energy before it gets to the pins and then leaves the dreaded corner pin on what looks to be a good hit.

**Note: Equator of a bowling ball = A Line around the ball, perpendicular to the vertical axis and the mid-line covering the entire circumference of the ball.

So, the fingers and hand have to be low enough on the ball that you can use them to push the ball forward down the lane. This is what I finally did to stop from lifting up on the ball. When you push/roll the ball down the lane your swing also goes towards the pins and not snap up towards the ceiling. This is why it is so easy for the kids that throw with no thumb. They are already in the push/roll position.

I suggest to take some video to see where you are really at, because, if you are not truly behind the ball, then you cannot push/roll the ball.

Number 2) It is absolutely imperative that you clear your thumb as quickly as possible, again no problem for the no-thumbers. The reason I say this is because that is the only way you can keep the ball on your target line and also not over turn the ball. If you go to the Slow Motion Videos of the Pros, you will notice that their thumb flies out of the ball. A quick, clean release is essential!! Good line, good roll, later break to the pocket with good energy. I have made the changes necessary to clear my thumb much, much quicker.

Number 3) Focus on a target line. Use either 3 targets, 2 targets or just draw a line, but in any case use a line instead of just a single spot to target with. If you do not use a line, I guarantee that you will sometimes pull the ball and sometimes flare the ball. It is also much easier to use a target line when you push/roll the ball down the lane, because you are pushing right down the line you have decided on.

Number 4) I am holding the ball absolutely "dead loose." My wrist is firm in order to stay behind the ball, but, I am not gripping at all. I am so loose I should drop the ball. This helps me get a very clean release with no grab at the bottom of the arm-swing and at the release point.

Now, all of what I have said here would be easier if I am able to completely change to the new style with my swing under my head, my body more forward and my release like a Yo Yo, but my body just won’t take all of that, so I do what I can.

In any case, by just doing what I have mentioned here I have increased my power and energy at the pocket and, therefore, better carry.


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