A Check Point
I wanted to take some time out to ask you how you’re doing? Have all the posts you’ve read make sense to you so far? If you are confused at all, welcome to the rest of the Bowling Community. It’s NOT as easy as it looks. You can’t just stand anywhere on the approach and toss the ball down the lane (like you may see lots of people doing during open play at the bowling centers) if you want to get a high score.
It takes lots of practice, devotion, and a real desire to get better. It’s like anything else, the more you really want something, the more you will do anything to achieve it. Do your best to fit in the necessary practice sessions, even if it means going in the evening after you’re a bit tired after a long day if your serious about becoming a 190-200+ bowler (most leagues are in the mornings and evenings, but sometimes there may be a few open lanes). Or go on the week end and bring the family if you have to. You can practice staying focused on some of my basic principals with some distractions, which is how it is in the league anyway. If you join a summer league (only about 12 weeks long), you can use that as practice for the upcoming winter league which usually starts up in September. Most of the Winter leagues are between 32-36 weeks long.
Bowling is a game where you can't just figure out things in your head. You need to physically get out there on the lanes to try different things, because each lane is different and a pair of lanes you my be bowling on can differ as much as 4-5 boards.Take notes on what you discover, and review them often to refresh your memory. It’s not easy to remember everything, especially if you're a beginner.
Most importantly, DO NOT PANIC or GIVE UP!! If you can’t figure something out and it drives you crazy, move on to a different thing to practice and go back to it at a later time. As I previously mentioned, you can also consult the better bowlers in your league about what is happening and they may be able to offer you a solution. They'll also be flattered that you think highly enough of them to ask them some questions. Just try to come out swinging every time and keep going over the Basics I have mentioned in previous posts. Always start in the center of the approach (20th Board) and observe how your ball is working and where it's breaking (starting to hook). Then adjust by moving LEFT, RIGHT, FORWARD, or BACKWARDS. Don’t move more than a few boards at a time for each adjustment though. Remember if you miss to the right, adjust by moving to the right. If you miss to the left, adjust by moving to the left. If you know you did things right, maybe you are dropping your shoulder. Move your bowling shoulder up a little at the stance and hold it that way throughout the pendulum swing and release, and the problem will usually correct itself over time.
Spot check where you stand on the approach and look down at where you end up after you release the ball to insure that you are walking up fairly straight on the approach. A little wandering toward the target is normal but you don't want to end up more than 1 or 2 boards difference. Wandering excessively can cause inconsistency!
Have you incorporated all or at least some of the exercises I suggested to stay strong and help with stamina so you can bowl well all three games and not feel tired? Have you gotten that new ball you’ve been wanting? If you haven't gotten your own equipment yet, please try to do so as soon as possible. Consistency is the name of the game!!
Join me in "2 WEEKS" when I will be discussing "How to stay calm while bowling".
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Want is Pre-Bowling?
When you are on a bowling league and know AHEAD of time that you can't make it to the lanes on a certain date, you have the option to either let your team take your average (minus the 10 pins penalty depending on your leagues' rules), OR you may tell your team Captain that you wish to "PRE-BOWL". You will need to pre-bowl a few days before your league will meet for the next session so they have time to get your scores.
On the day you want to pre-bowl, go to the bowling center where your league meets and tell the person at the front desk that you are "Pre-bowling" for your league and let them know the day and time of your league. You will be given two lanes to bowl on and you will get some practice time, just like in the league. You'll type your name into the computer and after you bowl your 3 games, go to the front desk and the person will print out a copy of your games for you to keep and will also give a copy to your league Secretary so your team can have your scores to enter into the computer on the day you will be absent.
The big question for you is "Should I Pre-Bowl or Not"? There are several pros and cons to this question:
1. You may be able to concentrate better since you are bowling alone and there won't be anyone to chat with or for you to get distracted by, as long as you can get there on a week day when the kids are in school, or early in the morning when there aren't many people around.
2. You can stop, take a break, or even have time to review your bowling notes in private if any problems should arise because you won't have anyone waiting for you to bowl like in the league. You'll be bowling at your own pace.
3. You may have more energy because it may be earlier in the day than your regular league.
4. Some bowling centers oil the lanes early in the morning and if there are no day leagues, the oil won't come off the lane as quickly because you'll be the only bowler on that pair of lanes as compared to the 6,8, or 10 in the normal league.You can play the same line without having as many adjustments to make.
5. If you're on a string of strikes, you can keep that momentum going by not having to wait for others to bowl.
1. You may not be able to get to the lanes until the afternoon when there will be a lot more inexperienced people bowling. If you're set up on the lane, they won't know the etiquette and could throw you off, causing you to possibly have a poor shot.
2. Because there are no other bowlers with you so you may bowl too quickly and tire out by the third game.
3. Some centers do not oil the lanes until the evening leagues. If there's no oil, your hook may be too large for you to control well unless you have a plastic ball that you can use to throw a straight shot instead.
In my own experience, when I was a beginner, I preferred NOT to pre-bowl and just let my team take my average. My average was a “SURE” thing, and I didn’t know how the lanes would be if I wanted to pre-bowl and whether or not I’d bowl well. Now that I'm a more experienced bowler, I do like to pre-bowl at times. I have more confidence that I'll be able to focus and do very well.
Try pre-bowling and if you do very well and the lanes have been conditioned, then you may want to keep doing it whenever you know you’re going to be absent. If you don’t do as well, then just let your team take your average for that night.
Leagues usually have SUBSTITUTE bowlers and if you can’t bowl and don't not want to pre-bowl, let your team captain know ahead of time and the league can arrange for a sub for your team. Subs are bowlers that don't want to bowl every week and just fill in when needed. Their averages range from low to high.
Your average will not change if you are absent, and the sub will be responsible to pay for the three games and you’ll only have to pay for the difference of what your league costs each week.
Also some bowling centers may give out a coupon for three free games when you’re absent if you can't get a sub because you still have to pay for those games.
It's really up to you and how experienced and confident you are whether you want to pre-bowl or not. Every situation may be different so ask your team if they prefer you to pre-bowl or just take your average if you are unsure.
Check out my ebook available on Amazon/Kindle--"Let's Rev Up Those Bowling Scores"!
Please join me back here next time when I'll be giving you a Checkpoint!! Hope to see you then.
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
The Bowling Hand
Happy Valentines Day! Have fun and wear something red if you are bowling today/tonight!
The state of the Hand holding the bowling ball is extremely important. The bowling hand should be kept dry, but not too dry and i't's best to keep a Rosin bag and a regular or micro fiber towel in your bowling bag so you can wipe moisture away (Check out my Blog Post from 4/26/21 on Equipment needed for Bowling). Too much sweat or wetness on your bowling hand can cause you to lose your grip and you may drop the ball or have a poor release. There is also a little air blower at each pair of lanes near the ball return that can help keep the hand dry. I like to hold my hand a few inches away just before I'm getting ready to bowl.
Here are a few tips and suggestions that will help keep your hand in good condition:
1. CALLOUSES and BLISTERS--
Excessive bowling, a tightly fitted bowling ball, an improper ball release over a period of time, and just the natural swelling of the fingers can cause unwanted blisters which can turn into callouses.
Use a product called "Nu-Skin" or "Defense Skin Protector" which I spoke a little about in my Blog
Post from 4/26/21 on Equipment. You can purchase it online or right at the pro shop in your bowling center.
If the shop is closed, you can borrow it from a fellow bowler if you should get a blister while your in the middle
of bowling.Some centers have vending machines and you can get a package there.
You can just apply a small amount of the liquid onto the blister (it will sting a little) place one of the small patches in
the box on top of that, and again just apply a small amount of the liquid over that. Allow it to dry a few minutes
by blowing on it or holding your hand over the air blower. It will act like a new piece of skin so you will be able to
bowl with minimal pain. When you are done bowling, just run water over it and it should peel off.
Callouses can be softened by soaking the area in warm water or by just filing them down a little. You can use
sand paper or a nail file to do this. I bought a small sanding block that I like to use.
You can also do some of the hand and finger exercises I mentioned in my Blog Post from 5/17/21, especially if
you have a tournament coming up and may have to bowl more than the normal 3 games (do this several
weeks before the big day). These exercises will help you prevent any hand strain.
If the ball is too tight for your fingers, you can call the pro shop and have him widen the hole a bit more before
your next league night. It's better to have a slightly larger thumb hole so you can use the tape I mentioned and
get a perfect fit for your thumb each time. Remember, it's important to have all the fingers feel right in the ball to assist
with a good ball release.
2. FINGER NAILS--
Keep your nails clipped short! I know some of you gals out there love to have long nails, but if you want to be
a serious and more competitive bowler, you'll need to keep them clipped otherwise you will NOT be able to grip the
ball or release it properly and therefore you will not be able to get much action at the pins!
3. FINGER SWELLING--
This happens to everyone from time to time from blood pressure, changes in weather, and water retention in
the body and is usually temporary.
You can take some aspirin or Advil which are both good for inflammation in the body. Check with your doctor first if
you have never taken them. You can also soak your hand in some icy water for about 5-10 minutes or as long as
you can stand it. I have taken a tissue or handkerchief and wrapped my swollen finger in it, then inserted it slowly into
the bowling ball hole. I repeated it a few times and it would then fit into the hole.
DO NOT go to the pro shop and have him widen the holes for you. Hopefully the swelling is just a temporary
condition. If you find you are retaining water and your fingers are swelling often, then you will probably need to have
the hole/s widened more, just not too much. You shouldn't have to use more than a few pieces of the hole tape to get
the right fit.
Don't forget to do your exercises and especially the hand/finger ones too!
Please join me next week when I'll be discussing "What is Pre-Bowling"?
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
What exactly is a "slump" in bowling? Well, it's what happens to all of us at some point or another during our bowling years and it's not fun at all! If you're not bowling up to par for several weeks and can't figure out what you're doing wrong, then you are in a Slump! But don't PANIC!! When you panic and start worrying about your average going down, or that your team is losing games because of you, it will get worse.
The key is to realize that something has changed but in order to figure it out you ned to stay CALM and realize that you're NOT alone. When I was a beginner, I always tried to figure out what I was doing wrong which was very difficult. I decided to just focus on the things I needed to do correctly in order to execute a good shot. Here are some check points I've listed below. Make sure you focus on doing these things correctly.
1. Walking slow and straight
2. Having the trailing foot more in back of you rather than out excessively to the side.
3. Checking your hand position for the 10:00 or 11:00 release.
4. Getting the ball out over the correct target.
5. Being square to the target and staying on balance.
6. Making sure you are not dropping the bowling shoulder.
7. Having a nice smooth pendulum swing, no jerky movements.
8. Attacking the pins with confidence so your speed will be good, and consistent. If you're getting disgusted with your
performance, it could affect your speed and if you are going too slow, the ball will hook too much for example.
9. Check the bowling ball FINGER grips for being too loose or too snug. If you have gained or lost weight, you need to check those, otherwise your release may not be able to be good.
10. Check THUMB hole for being too lose or too tight.
11. Check if the ball is skidding rather than being in the ROLLING phase when entering the pocket.
12. Counting your steps so your timing is good and in sync with the arm swing.
13. Are you trying too hard or worried about not bowling your average?
14. Check the finger grips for not being too loose or too tight.
Here are a few things that may be happening that you may not be responsible for that may be the culprit:
1. Is your ball performing the way it's supposed to? Maybe it is oil soaked and it's time to get some of the oil out of the
2.. Has the weather changed? Is it harder to get the ball to hook? Play from the outside line more directly into the pocket.
If you focus on the check points, the problem will eventually correct itself. You can also have a friend come along with you during your practice sessions and take a smart phone video of you. Then you can examine yourself from the back so you may be able to see any issues.
If you are having family issues, try not to take it to the lanes with you. You are only there for a few hours and having that time to get your mind off it and relax a bit could actually help you solve the issue.
If you bowling in a lot of tournaments and usually win prize money, take a break for a few weeks so you won't lose fee money just waiting to get out of your slump.
If you prefer, ask a friend in the league that bowls better than you to come down and watch you for a few frames. They may be able to spot the issue right away so you can back to getting those high scores again.
If you are still bowling under average after several weeks of practicing these check points, don't beat yourself up! We tend to talk negatively when we are not at our best which can make things worse! If it goes on longer than a month or so, it may be time to talk to the PRO in the pro shop for a lesson or two. Tell the pro the issue you are having and they will get you back on track! This too will pass!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing "The Bowling Hand".
Good luck and high scoring!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, 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.