"Pressure" is one of the topics I never hear people talking about at the lanes. Maybe it's a sign of weakness to some, but I feel it's an important topic that needs discussion. There will be times when you feel the pressure of having to get a needed strike or spare to win the game, for the team in the league or in a big tournament. Knowing all eyes are on you, can make you feel quite nervous, especially if you're not used to it. I know it used to make me feel that way when I first began to bowl. I was in several women's league over the years and was put in this anchor position. It took a long time to get used to this pressure and once I improved a lot, then it didn't bother me as much.
I think male bowlers are somewhat better at handling the pressure than women just because males are more aggressive in nature, which is probably why I see more men in anchor positions in the leagues.. Sometimes in league play, the anchor person just needs a simple spare or even just a few pins to win a game, but not being able to handle the pressure well, ends up tossing the ball right into the gutter! Ugh!
Several years ago, I had joined a league where they divided the league into two halves. My team finished in 1st place for the second half and we had to have a three game roll off against the team that finished in first place for the first half of the league to see which of our teams would win the big prize money (for the first place position). I did terrible!! The lanes were very dry and my ball was hooking too much and coming right into the headpin and I had to deal with several splits. Not being an experienced bowler, I just got totally disgusted. Only one person on my team bowled well. Needless to say, we did NOT end up in the first place position. I felt awful knowing my team had been counting on me. I thought to myself, "why didn't I just use my cheap plastic ball that goes fairly straight"? The key here is that I was NOT experienced enough to know to stay CALM. If I had stayed more calm, I would have been able to focus better and would have thought to use my straight ball that night.
Being experienced, comes with lots of practice and facing several different scenarios. The key is to be able to make a DECISION immediately if you're not bowling well. I decided that night to use my regular ball for the first few frames to observe, and make some type of change IMMEDIATELY instead of wasting precious frames.
It's very helpful to do some easy stretching which will help release unwanted tension in the muscles. Inhaling and exhaling slowly a few times can also help you relax when setting up on the approach if you are facing a crucial shot. If your muscles are tense, your delivery will not be smooth and consistent.
Developing a good pre-game routine will help you develop good habits. Before getting onto the approach, dry your bowling hand by holding it over the air flow area near the ball rack. Wipe your bowling ball with a towel to get any debris off of it, and count your steps as you walk to keep your timing good.
It's also good to block out your surroundings. Try not to worry about how the the other team is doing. You can only control your own bowling and if you are focussing on how the other team is doing, you will NOT be focussing on your own game. Deep CONCENTRATION is necessary for bowling well. If your routine and timing are good, then you will bowl well. Just trust your own instincts and the muscle memory you have developed over the years to carry you through the motions, so you will be able to focus more on how your ball is reacting on the lanes and what changes you might need to make.
So if you are feeling pressure when you are bowling, just try to focus on the process of bowling rather than on your score. Take each frame separately and If you should have a bad frame, don't dwell on it. Just try to figure out what you did wrong, if you can, and make the change right away for the next shot.
I know sometimes it's easier to say these things than to do it, but if you want to get up to that next level, you need to stay focused. I have been bowling a long time and sometimes I still feel pressure on a crucial shot. But I say, "I've made this spare before and I can do it again". Just keep practicing and bowling in leagues, and some tournaments. Over time, you will get much better at handling these pressure situations.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Join me here again next week to discuss More on Basics-Part 6 (Continued from my Blog post on 11/1/21). See you
Teams can have anywhere from 2-5 people. It depends on the league you want to join.
I think a Winning Bowling team should have the following:
7. A good LINE UP. This means that you should pick a solid averaged bowler, one who is consistent on getting
spares to be the first bowler. It's important to have a good Lead Off person so that the other bowlers ca hopefully
follow suit and their best to follow that lead.
8. The best averaged bowler on the team to be the ANCHOR person, the last person to bowl on the team line up.This is
important in case in the last few frames it's a close game. This person should be able to pull a strike or double to win
the game. Sometimes the top averaged bowler may NOT want to be the anchor bowler because of the pressure with
this anchor position. If that is the case for your team, then put the second best averaged bowler as the anchor and
the top bowler in the lead position.
9. Bowlers that are always ready to bowl when it's their turn. Over the years I have bowled with some winners that were
always at the bar, going out to smoke a cigarette, getting food, etc. Then me or another team member had to go
and find them to let them know it was their turn. This was very distracting and downright annoying. A bowler can be
skipped, but sometimes could throw off the other team members timing.
10. Bowlers being aware of the Bowling Etiquette. Please see my blog post from May 24, 2021 if you are Not aware of it.
11. Light conversations with other team members that can be stopped or continued easily after the person bowls. There
is nothing worse than having to wait for a person to bowl because they are having a deep discussion with someone!
It's annoying and rude to the other bowlers. If someone was on a string of strikes, it can ruin their timing!
12. Manners toward the opposing team.Your team should always be cordial to the other team and give a high five for a
great shot, even if they are winning the game. I was on a team where the guy would randomly yell out loud when he
missed a spare, and people were complaining about him on the league. It was embarrassing, for example, a guy on
the other team threw what looked to be a perfect strike, but the 10 pin stayed up, and this guy on my team would yell
"stand up and fight". Even though it was kind of funny, it really wasn't very nice.
13. Having bowlers on your team that are aware of what's going on. There is nothing more annoying than having a
team mate throw away a possible spare, losing the game because they weren't of how close the game was or that it
was the tenth frame!
So, just try to be nice, considerate, and be ready to bowl when it's your turn. If you need to use the rest room
or get a snack, just let another team member know that they can skip you if you're not back to the lane by the time it's
your turn to bowl so things can keep moving along. You'll have more fun, fewer headaches, and other teams will look
forward to bowling against you and your team.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing the topic of "Pressure". See you then!
I have discussed standing on the proper board on the approach, walking on a fairly straight path on the way up to the Foul Line, and getting the ball over the correct target. It is also important that you have "Ball Action" to get all the pins to fall down on the first shot. Anyone can hit the pocket area with the ball, but if the ball doesn't have anything on it, you may not carry the strike.
When your ball hits the pin deck, it should look like the diagram below. It's important after your ball rolls over the intended target, to move your eyes up the watch the ball to make sure it's path is like this. If it's not, and the strike is not carrying, then you need to make an adjustment.
The ball must hit into the 1 and 3 pins, then into the 5 pin, and finally in between the 8 and 9 pins. The ball itself will hit into the three "key" pins (1-3-5) and the rest of the pins will hit into each other and you should get a strike. If pins are knocked off the pin deck vertically, they can actually slide off the pin deck without hitting into other pins, but this bowling ball path will help the pins lie down more horizontally, enabling them to slide around better on the pin deck hitting into more pins and hopefully getting you more strikes in the long run.
Next time you are practicing, make sure your ball is rolling into that 1-3-and 5 pin and getting those pins to move off the deck in a horizontal position. You can also add a little SPEED and some SPIN onto the ball to carry the maximum pins down on the first ball.Use that 11:00 hand position previously discussed, pulling the 2 middle fingers toward the palm to get more REVS on the ball.
Join me next time when I discuss Part 2 of "Bowling Teams".
Good Luck and High scoring!
Most teams have four players, but I have been in leagues that had 2, 3, or even up to 5 players. If you are a single person looking to join a bowling league, you will be placed randomly on a team that needs a player. If you have a few friends that you can bowl with, then you can just join a league as a team. The latter may be best because then you know you will all get along. The person bowling in the first position is called the "Leadoff". This player should have a decent average in hopes that the rest of the team can follow their lead. The player who bowls last is called the "Anchorman" or "Anchorperson" and usually has there highest average on the team. They can deal with pressure the best because they have bowled awhile and can hopefully come through if the game is close. the rest of the team are the "Middle Bowlers".
I feel that a A Winning Team should have the following:
1. Should be able to finish in one of the top three positions at the end of the league, meaning finishing in either first, second, or third place.
2. Should consist of different averaged bowlers, meaning a few high averaged bowlers, as well as some that get a good enough handicap to help the team out when opposing team members are bowling over their averages.
3. Should consist of members that can meet and exceed their own averages.
4. Consist of bowlers that have a positive outlook, and that have good chemistry with each other.
5. Should root for other team members and be aware of how they are bowling, in case their spirits need a lift.
6. Should consist of members that can give each other an occasional tip if necessary, but doing it nicely as to not offend a team mate. Also being patient with other team mates can be beneficial. Sometimes people don't want advice or aren't interested in improving right away. There was a gal on my team that wasn't bowling up to par and she kept saying to me, "I need to make an adjustment", but she wasn't changing anything. I told her that was what she needed to do and offered a suggestion just in time. She got a few spares in the last few frames of the game and helped us win by a small margin, but we got the win. I've been on teams with married people and the husband called the wife and "idiot". Instead of trying to improve, she bowled worse on purpose and we lost 2 out of the 3 games. So you have to use discretion because some people are very sensitive. Some bowlers just go for socializing and don't really care how they bowl.
Join me next week when I'll be talking about "How to watch the path of the bowling ball".
Good Luck and High Scoring.
Do you bowl all winter long, and then immediately after, join a summer league? I used to do just that every year but sometimes wished that I hadn't. Do you sometimes wish the long 36 week winter league was only 30 weeks long?
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE bowling, but sometimes we can just get a little burned out! The perfect league in my opinion would be 25 weeks, then take a breather for 1 or 2 months, and then do another 25 weeks.
Sometimes I wouldn't join a summer league, and found when I came back to the winter league that I bowled better, especially if I had been in a little slump or having any issues toward the end of long the winter season. I just never wanted to get burned out.
To just have kept bowling in winter and then summer may have compounded any issues I was confronting (making them worse). I felt better stepping back and laying off for awhile. When I didd this, then I was excited again and really looked forward to the winter season approaching.Taking a breather once in awhile like this is great for improving your game. It's like taking a vacation, you know how you feel more refreshed and have a better outlook when you return to the normal routine.
However, I do recommend going practicing once in awhile if you decide to take a league break during the summer months. You want to keep that muscle memory and keep the basics in mind. Include the kids, since they are home from school during this time of year. I do travel a lot during the summer and enjoy the time off from bowling and there's nothing wrong with that, I can still maintain my 200+ average with this short break.
Keep this advice in mind.You won't forget everything by taking a needed break once in awhile. You can read my blog or your notes to keep things in mind while you're taking a physical break. If you were having any problems with your game at the end of the winter league and you couldn't work them out, taking a break may actually be all you needed to help solve the issue.
Good Luck and High Scoring! Join me next week when I'll be talking about Bowling Teams part.1!
See you then!
24. If your ball isn't hooking as much as you'd like, play an OUTSIDE LINE. For the right handed bowler, this means playing more ANGLE into the pocket by moving more to the right side of the lane at the stance. Stand on board 5 or 6 and use the second arrow. use this as a starting point and move left or right a board or two as necessary. Do the opposite if you're a lefty.
25. If the strike isn't carrying but you are getting in the pocket, try MOVING BACK on the lane 3 or 4 inches.That will make you release the ball a little sooner on the lane and it will have more lane to travel on making it hook an extra little bit to come up slightly higher on the headpin to carry the strike. Again, use this as a starting point and adjust from there according to how much hook you have on your ball.
If you still can't carry the strike, then just get a good first ball and pick up those 1 pin spares.All spares and 9's equals a game of 190 which is still a very good score. Just try NOT to get frustrated, and don't move around too much on the lane. You may start getting confused which leads to worry and then you won't be able to stay focused! You want to avoid a lousy game which I have been there and done many times over the years.
26. If you're tense after a stressful day, take several deep breaths and exhale vigorously. Do a little stretching too before the practice begins.
27. To slow the ball down to make it hook a bit more if you need to, SHORTEN your pendulum SWING by holding your ball down lower, or try waking slower if your timing is good.
28. To speed up the ball for a little less hook, hold the ball up higher at the stance which will lengthen the swing, or walk a little faster than normal if your timing is good.
Keep practicing when you are able and keep doing my bowling exercises to stay in good condition and keep your stamina good.I feel that stronger, more fit people do better in sports. Have fun and keep being patient with yourself, Rome wasn't built in a day!
Good luck and high scoring! Join me next week for a discussion on The importance of Taking a Breather now and then!
Anyone can throw a bowling ball down the lane, but those who know how to apply LIFT and TURN simultaneously and properly, will be the ones with the highest scores and averages! The two work together to create PIN ACTION!
Lift is an UPWARD PRESSURE that is applied to the ball by pulling the two middle fingers toward the palm just at the moment of the ball release. In order to do this properly, you need to lift the fingers just as the thumb is coming out of the ball, not after the thumb has left the ball, when it would be too late. You shouldn’t break the wrist too much (when it’s slightly bent back) or you won’t be able to apply the proper lift. Lifting needs to be done when the ball is at the bottom of the downswing, which will enable you to apply the maximum amount of finger pressure onto the ball. At the point of release when the fingers are lifting, the elbow needs to be slightly bent which will get some extra power behind the ball.
If you hold your ball with your palm flat at the stance (thumb at the 3:00 position and the pinky at the 9:00 position on a clock face) and keep it that way throughout the downswing and on the release, the ball will have NO TURN. Turn is motion from the hand and wrist toward the pocket. We need to produce some turn because this will get the ball into the proper position when we release it. When SIDE ROLL takes over skid, the ball will begin to HOOK. Turning your hand and placing it in different positions at the point of release,
Can create more pin action. There are several ways people TURN the hand in order to achieve good action at the pins.
Try not to TURN your hand too soon because this may limit your ability to LIFT properly. Your timing (having the arm and feet in sync with each other) is extremely important.
**LIFT and TURN work together to put extra REVS on the bowling ball.
Practice LIFTING just as you begin TURNING the ball, and then lifting the ball a split second after you turn it, to see what these minor adjustments can do.
Sometimes I’ve held my thumb in an 11:00 position at the stance, on the down swing, and on the release. Even though I didn’t turn my hand at all, the ball hooked because my palm wasn’t FLAT, it was sideways. If you want to try a CRANK or very large hook, try holding your thumb at the 10:00 or 11:00 position at the stance, then TURN OUT (turn the hand to the right for righty’s) to the 4:00 thumb position on the back swing and then back to the 10:00 or 11:00 position on the down swing and release.
Have fun experimenting with them and try using them on different lane conditions in the league when you feel confident with the results from your practice sessions.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Join me next week when I'll be talking about more important things to remember in bowling part.5. See you then.
Years ago when you went to the lanes to bowl, practice, or be in a league, they just gave you a paper with lines and a pencil to keep score. Now they have computers that do it for you automatically. All you need to do is type in your name and once you start bowling, the computer will keep track of the score. I am sure by now, you have a basic understanding of how the scoring is done. If you don't, it's still important to learn how to score to be able to spot check and make sure the computer score is correct. Sometimes pins may fall from the machine and you will have to know how to make that correction in the computer.
There are TEN FRAMES to each game. When you knock all ten pins down on the first ball that counts as a “STRIKE” and is marked by the letter X. Two strikes in a row is called a “DOUBLE”. Three strikes in a row is called a “TURKEY” or “TRIPLE”. The name is believed to have come from years ago when someone got 3 strikes in a row in a tournament ,they gave out turkeys as prizes. Four strikes in a row is called a four timer or four bagger, Five strikes in a row is called a five bagger, six in a row a six bagger, etc.
The most strikes you can get in a single game is 12 which is a PERFECT GAME with a score of “300”. It is also sometimes referred to as a “Dinosaur” or “Dirty Dozen”. The person on record for the most 300 games bowled is “Ferro Williams” having bowled 135 of them!! The person who holds the record for getting the most strikes in a row is Tommy Gollick with 47! If you get a strike on the incorrect side (1-2 for Righty’s or 1-3 pocket for Lefty’s), it’s called a BROOKLYN STRIKE. If you throw what looked like a perfect strike but left a 7 or 10 pin, then you were “ROBBED”!
When you get a strike, you add those 10 pins to whatever you get down on the next TWO balls. Use the scoring sample below to follow how to score. In your first frame you get a strike and then you get another strike in the second frame. Then in your third frame you get 8 pins down. You would add the ten for the first strike, ten for the second strike, and the eight and you’d have a score of 28 in the first frame. Now you get eight pins down and you picked up those last two remaining pins on the second shot. That would be considered a “SPARE” which is designated by a slash /. On a spare you add the ten pins you got down with whatever you get down on the NEXT ball. Then you get 9 pins down on the next ball after your spare, so you would add the 28 from the first box with the ten you got for the spare and then 9 more to that for the spare. That would give you 47 in the second frame. The “F” in the 5th frame indicates a FOUL and means you stepped over the foul line. If you knock down any pins, they will NOT be counted. If you were to “Strike Out” means you got 3 strikes in the last Frame.
Always try to get a good first ball, so you’ll have only one or two pins to knock down (or pick up as we say in the bowling jargon) and you’ll always get a good pin count for that double or spare. If you get less than 5 pins on a spare, you’ll leave yourself a more difficult spare to pick up, and you could possibly chop or miss it completely. Before I got much better at bowling, I got a lot of 6’s and 7’s on my spares. If I had gotten 8’s or 9’s instead, my score would have been much higher and we might have won more games that were very close.
If you don’t get all ten pins down after two tries, it’s considered a miss and is marked by a dash - and you will have an OPEN FRAME. If at any time you should throw the ball in the channel, it’s considered a GUTTERBALL. If the ball goes into the gutter first but pops out and hits any pins, they will not be counted in the score.
If after you throw your first ball and you’re left with a spare that has a space between the pins and the head pin (1 pin) is NOT there, it is called a“SPLIT” and is marked the number of pins you got with a circle around it.
When you get to the tenth frame of the game (last frame), if you should get a strike, you get to throw two extra shots as a BONUS. If you get a spare in the tenth frame, you get to throw one extra bonus shot. When bowling first started, you were allowed three tries to knock down all ten pins, but many people were able to do this very easily, so to make it more
challenging, they shortened it to only two tries.
In league play, always try your best to get the most pin count on your spares. Let’s say for example that your team and the opposing team are tied up in the tenth frame. The anchor man (the team member who goes last) gets a split with 3 remaining pins, but tries to make the split for a sure win but only gets one of them instead of trying to get the two easier ones, and the guy on the other team also gets a split in the tenth frame but picks up his two pins. Your team will lose that game by one pin, so it’s always best to try and get the most pin count if the game is close, rather than trying to show off and end up losing a game by a pin or two!
A “DUTCH 200” GAME is when you get a strike, then a spare, then a strike, spare, etc. alternating through the entire game. Or you could start with a spare, then get a strike and alternate that way. If you get all spares and 6’s on the spares, that will equal a game of 160. If you get all spares and 7’s, that equals a 170 game, all spares and 8’s a 180, and all spares and 9’s will be a score of 190.
If you miss a spare and have an open frame, then you must throw a Double (two strikes in a row) to make up for that open frame.
To bowl a 200 game, you need to get all your marks plus a double, and to get a 210 you need all your MARKS (strikes and spares) plus a triple (three strikes in a row). If you can’t get a triple but you get two doubles in your game, that will be equal to a triple. To get a score of 220 you need to get all your marks plus a four bagger (four strikes in a row), and so on.
If you get all your marks and have no open frames, it is considered a “CLEAN” GAME.
At the end of a league bowling session, each game will count for 1 or 2 points depending on what your league votes on. The team that knocks down the most pins for the three games, will get an extra POINT or two for TAKING WOOD.
The score that is the most rare to get in bowling is a 292. It’s not likely that you would only get 2 pins after throwing the first eleven strikes in a row.
Here a scoring sample, see if you can follow it from the above instructions.
Join me here next week when I’ll be discussing " What is Lift and Turn"?
Good Luck and high scoring!!
Continued from August 30,2021 post:
19. After releasing the ball, try to think of your forearm going up towards the ceiling to help you get a good lift on the ball.
20. As you lift up your arm after the ball release, try to FEEL the elbow through the line of your target.
21. Don't try to flick the ball on the release, just feel a nice SMOOTH PENDULUM SWING bringing your arm up with
a good FOLLOW THROUGH.
22. Keep your head STILL and FRONTWARDS, not sideways, and KEEP your EYES FIXED on the TARGET for a few
seconds.It's the same way in golf. People tend to look at the fairway right after they swing at the ball. But you need to keep your head down and eyes fixed on the desired target. Otherwise how will you know if you really hit the correct target, if you look at the pins immediately after the release?
23. Most bowlers hold the ball out directly in front of them and then have to push it out slightly to the side to allow for body clearance so they don't hit the body on the downswing. Sometimes the bowler may go out more to the side than other times and we want to be as CONSISTENT as possible. The best way to avoid being inconsistent is at the stance. After you are set up on the approach, swing the hand holding the ball slightly out to the side to allow for body clearance, and keep the ELBOW somewhat CLOSE to the BODY. Then you will always put the ball out to the same amount by doing this before you begin the walk on the approach.
I know there has been a lot of information here in parts 1-4 on the important things to remember, but you can review them the day before or the day of your league so you can refresh your memory about these important BASICS. The more you remember, the more you can incorporate into your game, and the better your bowling will be.
Most of all, don't forget to have FUN! Sometimes there are so many things to think about at once, it becomes difficult. If this happens to you, then only work on one or two new things in your practice sessions at a time. As you become better at these, they will become what's referred to as "MUSCLE MEMORY" and then you'll only have to concentrate on more on the TARGET and the ADJUSTMENT you need to make as the lanes change.
Good Luck and high scoring!
Join me next week when I'll be showing you how to keep score in bowling.
When a Bowler holds the ball at the stance, there are basically three wrist positions he can choose and hold throughout the pendulum swing:
1. Using the Broken Wrist Position:
* Will put less SKID and more ROLL on the ball.
* Will transfer more of the balls weight to the fingers letting the bowler apply necessary LIFT and getting action at the
* You need to stay focused to be consistent and break the wrist the same way each time. You can break the wrist
slightly more when dealing with tight (oily) lanes, but if the break is too extreme, then the ball will not be in the
correct position at the end of the swing. It will place your fingers too much at the top of the ball, instead of
underneath, and you won't be able to lift with the fingers properly. The balls' weight will also be shifted on the thumb
causing the ball release to be too early or too late.
2. Using the Straight Wrist Position:
* Is the most popular wrist position bowlers use.
* Will keep the proper position of the ball throughout the swing.
* The easiest of the wrist positions to maintain and execute.
* Keeps the fingers under the ball to be able to execute proper lift.
3. Using the Cupped Wrist Position:
* Allows the hand to move more strongly under the ball, which produces more Skid Force. Skid Force allows the ball
to travel a bit further down the lane before it starts to break (hook). This wrist position helps you to score higher on
dry lane conditions (when there isn't much oil).
* Produces a low effective roll that will help with pin carry.
* Requires a powerful forearm and wrist, or the strain of holding the ball in this position may cause your hand to turn
slightly to the left (for right handed bowlers), or to the right (for left handed bowlers. It can also cause you to move
your elbow and arm away from the hip too much (to allow for the proper body clearance) which would restrict a
good pendulum swing.
* Restrict the use of a wrist supporter, depending on which type you like to use.
Which wrist position do you use? If you haven't tried all three, go practicing and give the others a try and see how they can affect your ball's reaction on the lane. Take notes on what you discover and practice them often so you can use them at any time during your league play when lanes are changing and nothing else is working.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Join me here next week when I'll be discussing more on basics and important things for you to remember. See you then, and have a great week!
Hello!! I'm not a professional bowler, but I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.