In bowling, and as in any sport, to perform your best and have good stamina, it’s important to be in good physical condition.Bowling itself is a great exercise because you can burn about 250 calories in an hour using an 8-16 pound ball and you can actually build some muscles in your biceps by holding the heavy ball and the quad muscles get stronger walking along the approach and holding your form after the ball is released. The exercises I have listed below help keep my fingers, arms, wrists, and legs in good shape, which in turn helps me to achieve higher scores.
1. Finger Pulling: Clasp the fingers of both hands together and try pulling them apart holding them for about 10-15 seconds
2. Tricep Stretches: Touch your back with your right hand. Then grab the back part of the elbow and pull gently for a nice stretch. Hold for about 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side. I usually do this at the lanes just before I bowl to help get my muscles loosened up and release any tension.
3. Palm Stretch: Hold your palms together and press down with your right hand and push up at the same time with the left hand. Hold for the count of 15 or 20 seconds.
4. Aerobics: Bowling is an "anaerobic" exercise meaning that you don't really sweat much while doing it so I feel it is important to get some aerobic exercises in during the week. They are a great and fun way to stay in shape and I try to do them at least 3 times a week for at least 20-30 minutes which allows me to get a good cardio workout. I used to get tired by the end of the 2nd game but now I have more stamina and energy for that 3rd game, and my score is much higher. Walking is also a great way to get exercise and easy on the joints if you're not walking really fast.
5.Ball Squeezing: Hold a small rubber ball in your right hand and squeeze it with your fingers 10 times. Then hold the last squeeze for at least 10-15 seconds. Repeat with the other hand. This gets your fingers stronger to help hold onto the ball, especially if you use a finger tip ball or plan to get one in the near future.
6. Bicep Curls: Buy a pair of 5-10 pound dumbells or some resistant bands. Lift with each hand to the count of 10 to start, then work your way up to 20 or more. You can also do some push-ups if you like. Do weight lifting every other day, because it’s important to let your muscles rest a day in between. You can do weight lifting every day if you are working different muscle groups each day.
7. Deep Knee Bends: Put your arms out in front of you and lower your body into a deep squatting position (as if you were going to sit down in a chair). Don’t let your knees go past your toes or you could injure your knees. Repeat this squat 10 times and work your way up to 20-30 repetitions. When you get good, you can hold weights in your hands and do them. This will help the quadrisep muscles to get stronger, to help you have a deep knee bend when releasing the ball onto the lane.
Try getting yourself into a good exercise routing so it becomes part of your day like brushing your hair and washing your face. You can also do some stretching, deep knee bends, and arm circles at the lanes before you begin league practice to loosen up a get some of the muscle tension out from a long day and it also helps to prevent any injuries. I know exercising will help your scores improve like they did for me. Reading my blog shows me that you are a bowler that really wants to improve, so why not get into better physical shape as well. I believe that in the long run, looking better and feeling better will also help your bowling scores to get better!
Join me next week when I will be discussing an important topic that some bowlers have no clue about, even people on leagues that should, “Bowling Etiiquette”.
Good luck and high scoring!
Now that you have practiced your timing (the walking and arm movements together) and you feel comfortable on where to stand for your strike ball, it is time to discuss the “BALL RELEASE”.
Remember to insert the fingers into the ball first and the thumb last and you can put your opposite hand under the ball to help support its weight, or rest your elbow on you hip to help support the balls weight. As you walk on the approach, remember on the slide to try to get low with a deep knee bend and have the body upright and shoulders square to the target you want to use (use the 2nd arrow as a starting point).
To RELEASE the ball, release it smoothly onto the lane as you get to the end of the slide and on the DOWNSWING when your hand is down by your left ankle. Pretend you are landing a plane and loft out onto the lane, NOT into it, as the ball will lose power if it hits the lane too hard. The THUMB comes out first, and then you can LIFT with the fingers that come out last. Remember to place the trailing foot out behind you or just slightly out to the left, and the left arm should go to the side to assist with your balance (opposite for left-handed bowlers).
The idea is to try these different hand positions on the release to see what works best for you during your practice sessions.
When lanes change from oily to dry after a game or two, you may want to use the straight hand position if the ball starts hooking too much, so you’ll have more control and more accuracy.
Take notes in your notebook during your practice sessions to help you recall what you did just before you start bowling on league nights. There’s lots to remember and easier to just review your notes from time to time.
Join me next week in discussing some exercises to help improve your stamina and strength ultimately improving your scores. Good Luck!
1. Rubber Balls They don't really make these anymore because lanes are no longer made of wood. They came in a hard or soft shell.You could probably get one at a yard sale, but most bowlers want to keep up with technology changes which helps them score higher, so today they prefer polyester or urethane bowling balls.
2. Polyester Balls-These balls have varying degrees of Hardness. Softer balls will start hooking sooner on the lane, and the harder surfaced balls will travel a bit farther down the lane before they start to hook.
3. Urethane Balls- As time passed, the makers of these bowling balls realized that it made more sense to make a ball out of the same material that the lanes were made from. This material is much stronger and the balls hit the pocket with more power, but at the same time can be more difficult to control.
There are basically three parts of a bowling ball:
2. CORE: The core of a bowling ball is a liquid polymer resin blend which is poured in and around the weight block in this second mold. The molds are all the same size, but the concentration of the materials in this liquid is what allows the weights of the bowling balls to vary. This core takes several days to completely dry. Look at your bowling ball if you have one and find the little dot which is the PIN. It shows you where the top of the core is. Then the ball is taken out of this mold and put into a third mold.
3. SHELL: The shell of the ball is made of a liquid urethane which is pumped into this third mold. This liquid can come in a variety of colors and some even add scents like lemon, and blueberry! The liquid only takes about 5 minutes to harden and then the ball is removed from the mold and ground smooth with a lathe machine. A hole is then drilled to mark the position of the weight block (Where the PIN is), and this area is filled in with a colored resin (usually yellow or white). It is also put on a machine that finds the “Center of Gravity” and indented slightly with a “punch” tool. After 24 hours, the ball is completely dried and hardened enough to have the company logo engraved which is filled in with a colored paste.
Lastly, the ball goes through spinners with hot, soapy water and polishing rollers. The completed ball is placed in a plastic bag, boxed up, and shipped out to bowling center pro shops all over the country. Some of these companies can make 5,000 balls each day!
They have a video online if you are interested in seeing what these molds and weight blocks look like.
Most bowling balls have three holes that are drilled at the pro shop for a custom fit when you purchase a ball. There was also a fourth hole drilled for balance. But as of August 1, 202 this fourth hole was declared illegal in US competition by the USBC-United States Bowling Congress. Check with your league president about this. You might need to get this weight hole filled in with a resin material at the pro shop.
Join me next week when I’ll be discussing “The Ball release”.
Good Luck and High Scoring!