There are basically three types of Bowling Styles that a bowler may have-Cranker, Stroker, or Tweener. Today I''ll be discussing the "Cranker". Lately there is a new style where bowlers do NOT insert their fingers into the ball. They throw the ball with both hands and get a tremendous amount of Revs on the ball. This style is very hard to master though and I don't really recommend it, and it is difficult to maintain accuracy that is needed to convert spares.
Have you ever seen a bowler that throws a very large hook, and then when their ball hits the pins, they look like they are dancing around all over the pin deck or just exploding off the pin deck? These are the big power players who are labeled as "Crankers". It's very interesting to watch someone with this style because they need to be very flexible, and have to be quite athletic. Cranking requires a lot of strength and skill to be able to get more revolutions on the ball which does give a higher chance of achieving a strike. A stronger releasing action helps the fingers quickly rotate the ball about 45-70 degrees giving a greater Axis Tilt and a much larger hook.Axis Tilt is the spin that is put on the ball by the way a player throws it. A lower axis tilt creates a smaller more gradual hook that is easier to control. A higher axis tilt gets the ball farther down the lane before it begins to hook which creates a larger hook. It's difficult to control a large hook and there is a higher chance of cutting into the pins in such a way that the bowler may leave some nasty splits because of the larger angle the ball is coming in at.
Steps a Cranker Takes:
1st- For a four step approach, the first step begins with the right foot (for a right handed bowler) going straight out in
front of the body.
2nd- Left foot actually steps 4-5" to the left of the body (not walking in a straight line).
3rd- The third step is slightly to the right and towards the center of the body, opening up the shoulders with a very high
back swing (the shoulders are turned slightly to the right and Not square to the target).
4th-The last step has very little slide and the left foot is planted very solidly and the ball is pulled upward on the
release.The left foot arrives at the foul line before the ball, giving the body a solid foundation to assist in the
stronger releasing action.
Wrist and Hand Positions:
1. Some Crankers don't insert the thumb into the ball and may also hold the ball up higher at the stance for extra
2. Some may over rotate the thumb to the 5:00 position at the stance to help get extra revs on the ball at the release.
3. Crankers keep the wrist under the ball in a cupped position and move the elbow out slightly from the body.
4. Keep a tilted wrist position just before the release.
5. Rotate the fingers quickly to rotate the ball and the thumb finishes straight up.
To feel what it's like, at your next practice session, try bowling without your thumb in the hole. It forces you to keep your hand under the ball so you don't drop it.
If you think you may want to give this style a chance, I recommend taking lessons from a pro who specializes in it so he can give you the best advice in developing it properly.
Join me in 2 weeks when I'll be discussing the "Stroker" Bowling style.
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
This is a continuation of my Blog Post from 12/20/21:
When lofting the ball, you need to land it onto the lane smoothly like landing an airplane, and in the same area on the lane. If you don't use much loft, you may get a "FOUL" because your release was too close to the foul line. If you loft only a little, the ball will have more lane to travel on and hook too much by the time it reaches the pins causing the ball to come up high on the headpin. If you loft the ball out more the next time, the ball will have less lane to travel on and you'll come up short missing the pocket area. Doing this routinely will cause you to be inconsistent! You need to loft the ball out about 6-10 feet in order for the ball to get onto the oil that is applied on the lane so it can skid first and then be able to roll effectively once it reaches the breakpoint (area where there is no more oil and the ball begins to hook).
In practice, you can put a piece of painters tape on the lane (it doesn't leave a stick residue on the lane) and practice lofting the ball out to that spot each time. The lanes are slippery, so ask if you can do it and if the mechanic isn't busy, he may be able to do it for you. You can also put an old washcloth on the lane instead. Doing this exercise often will help you get a FEEL of how far to loft the ball out and onto the lane. Over time, your muscle memory will just do it without you having to think about it.
If you notice that you are holding onto the ball too long and lofting the ball out too far, your bowling grip may be the problem. The fingers need to fit into the ball just right. The opposite also holds true, if your grip is too loose, you may drop the ball short. Go to the pro shop and have him check your grip for you.
7. STANDING IN THE WRONG PLACE:
You may know from your practice time before the league bowling begins, where you should stand for the strike shot on the pair of lanes you are bowling on and you stick with this until the lanes begin to change a bit. If you are standing on the wrong board, you may not get the strike that you were getting when you were on the correct board! You will be coming in at a different angle. But what if you forget what board or dot you need to stand on, or what if you are in a deep conversation with another bowler and you rush to the lane because it's your turn? All these things can affect our focus and concentration, so if you are new to the game, I suggest writing down (on a piece of paper or in your notebook) which board you are standing on and what arrow or board you are aiming for. As you make adjustments to your game, don't forget to change the info on that piece of paper.
8. OVERTURNING THE HAND:
This can happen to many bowlers. "Topping the Ball" means you did NOT finish with your fingers in that 12:00 position I spoke about in an earlier blog post. You have turned it too much to the left (for right handed bowlers) and finished with your thumb in the 8 or 9:00 position instead of the 10 or 11:00 position. It can also happen if you turn your entire arm instead of just the wrist. Overturning will cause a low AXIS TILT which leads to a poor delivery and loss of ball power by the time it reaches the pins. On the backswing your hand should be flat, so the thumb is in the 3 o'clock position so as you begin the downswing, you can rotate the hand to the 10 or 11:00 position on the release. Some bowlers will turn the hand even more to get more revs. It's crucial to have the thumb leave the ball first so the fingers can lift toward the palm and rotate the ball properly so it can hook.
Join me back here next week when I'll be discussing "Bowling Styles".
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
There are several problems one can encounter in the game of bowling.
1. Having an IMPROPER SWING:
Sometimes a bowler is changing the angle of the backswing or the height of it without being aware of it. Therefore you must work on a proper backswing during your practice sessions. Learn to feel the ball and the timing with the footwork. If your game is suffering, you can have a friend come with you and take a video of you from behind. The way you push the ball out in front of you will determine how the backswing finishes up at the height of the backswing, If you push the ball straight out in front of you and the ball is at the center of your head (looking from behind) then your backswing is good. If you push the ball away from you to the right, at the height of the backswing it's further to the left of the head, and on the release, the ball will go too much to the right of the target and possibly end up in the gutter. If you push the ball out in front of you to the left, you will pull the ball a bit to the left, and if you're holding onto the ball a little longer than normal, it will also cause the ball to go to the left side of the lane.
2. Being OFF BALANCE:
As you know, the name of the game is "Consistency". If you are finishing off balance often, you won't be getting a consistent shot because the area where you release the ball can change and you will be missing the intended target.The angle will be changed, throwing off the trajectory of the ball.
If you're walking up too fast, you'll have too much momentum behind you which may also throw off your balance. If you put your trailing foot too much out to the side, that can also cause a loss of balance.
Keeping the trailing foot only slightly to the side of the body (not excessively) or more to the back, and keeping the left arm out to the side (right arm for lefty's) will improve balance as you are releasing the ball. It's also important to STAY DOWN for a few seconds after the ball release and keep your eyes on the ball as it goes through the target rather than looking up at the pins immediately after the release.
3. MENTAL PROBLEMS:
Re-read the topic of PRESSURE in my Blog Post from 12/6/21 and don't let pressure get to you!! If you stay really focused on the execution, counting your steps (so your timing is good), and the FEEL of the body in sync with the pendulum arm swing, you will execute a good shot. You can only control your own bowling, so don't worry about how that other person is doing (who is getting close to your average). If you're worried, then you are NOT focusing on your game and you'll end up helping that person beat you out! UGH!
4. DRIFTING or WANDERING:
If you don't end up at the same board at the foul line that you started on at the stance (or very close), then you are wandering. While practicing, it's a good habit to get into to look down at your left foot after the ball passes your mark to see that you are on or very near that same board or dot. Wandering can cause you to end up in a different place each time and coming in at different angles each time can negatively affect your game! A huge part of improving at bowling is doing things the same way over and over again. Practice just standing on your normal board and walking up on the lane several times without your ball. Check down to see that your are ending up on that board at the foul line, then you'll know you are walking in a straight line.
Walking more slowly than normal will cause you to slow down the ball speed. A slower ball speed will cause the ball to hook more and possibly end up in the gutter before it even gets to the pins. Have you ever watched little kids bowl? The thing is to keep your speed as consistent as possible. If you're a little tired when you go to the league some nights, get some coffee to perk you up a little. The opposite is also true, that if you walk more quickly, the ball will hook less and you'll end up coming up short and hitting the 3 and 6 pins instead of getting the ball into the 1-3 desired pocket area. I will go into SPEED a little more in a later Blog Post.
Join me in TWO weeks when I go into Part 2 of "Common problems that can effect your game".
I want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, and Happy and Healthy 2022!!!!
Good Luck and High Scoring!
This new Post is a continuation from my Blog Posts on 5/31/21-Part 1, 8/30- Part 2, 10/11- Part 3, and
I have previously mentioned many things that you must focus on while bowling. I am giving you only a few at a time so you can work on them this way during your practice sessions, and some of these items I am mentioning are for just general bowling knowledge.
29. Getting the body down LOWER at the point of release will help you get more ACTION on the ball. More action equals more pin action and knocking more of them down on your first ball.
30. SIDE ROLL- This is a COUNTER CLOCKWISE turn on the ball by rotating your hand around the side of the ball as you release it (ball moving from toward the left for righty handed bowlers, and to the right for left handed bowlers). When side roll overtakes the skid (as the ball travels down the lane on the oil), is when the ball begins to hook.
31. FORWARD ROLL- This is when the ball is just moving in a 12:00 position or straight down the lane.
32. MID ROLL- Is when the ball moves in a CENTER and COUNTER CLOCKWISE direction down the lane.This type of action on the ball helps more of the pins LAY DOWN when you hit them having a greater chance of knocking into other pins. To do this, you need to release the ball so it feels like it's coming off the inside of the hand (left side of the palm), not from the front or outside. The fingers need to be lifted more to be able to get more pin action.
33. Know that the more oily the lanes are, the more the ball will skid down the lane before it begins to hook.
34. The faster you throw a bowling ball, the MORE skid it will have.
35. REVOLUTIONS- The rotation of a turning object on it's axis. To get more "REVS" on the ball, you must apply the proper LIFT on the ball (spoken about on 10/25/21 Blog Post). To do this, you must pull the two middle fingers toward the palm when releasing the ball.
Please keep applying all the things I have mentioned thus far, but only a few at a time. There are lots of things to learn so always have a plan in mind when going to your practice sessions.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Join me here again next week when I'll be discussing the many "common problems" that may come up during your bowling sessions that can affect your game.
"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!
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.