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 enters) 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 it, the more you will do anything to achieve it. Do your best to fit in the necessary practice time, even if it means going in the evening after you’re a bit tired after a long day (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 leagues anyway.If you have joined a summer league (which is only about 12 weeks), you can use that as practice for the upcoming winter league which usually starts in Sept. Most of the Winter leagues are about 34-36 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. 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, NEVER GIVE UP!! If you can’t figure something out and it drives you crazy, move on to a different thing and go back to it at a later time. 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 BACK. Don’t move more than a few boards at a time for each adjustment. 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, you could be dropping your shoulder. Move your bowling shoulder up a little at the stance and hold it that way through the release. It will eventually correct itself.
Spot check where you stand on the approach and look down at where you end up after you release the ball to insure walking up straight on the approach. A little wandering toward the target is normal but you don't want to end up more than 2 or 3 boards different. 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 for 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, please try to do that as soon as possible. Consistency is the name of the game!!
I'll be doing some traveling the month of July and a bit in August, so join me back here in mid August when I'll be discussing "Washouts".
Good Luck and High Scoring!
There are about FOUR GENERAL OIL PATTERNS that will appear on the lanes and most of them are approximately 40 feet long.
2. CHRISTMAS TREE PATTERN- The Oil Machine applies the oil in the shape of a Christmas tree or triangular shape. It allows the lesser hooking bowler to play along the edge of the lane where there is less oil, letting the ball hook back nicely into the desired pocket area.The heaviest oil will be on boards 15-25. As the oil breaks down, try to make angle adjustments, meaning to adjust more boards at the stance and less at the target area. An example would be if you need to move to the left 3 boards, then only move your target 1 board left and the arrows. The pattern looks like this:
3. BLOCK OIL PATTERN-This one is also a simple pattern and the one most often used in bowling centers. The most concentration of oil is in the center part of the lane and less on the outer portion. This is also known as a “WALL”, where the wall of friction is on those outside boards. For a Hook bowler, this is usually a very high scoring pattern The ball needs to be placed where the oil is, angled to the edge where the friction increases (area with less oil), and then hook back into the pocket. This pattern can also be referred to as the “RED” pattern by the USBC.
4. REVERSE BLOCK OIL PATTERN- This is the opposite of the Block pattern. Here, most of the oil is concentrated on the outer boards with very little in the center. This is a difficult pattern for those of us that throw a hook since there is very little oil. The ball will hook a lot more and possible crossing over into the 1-2 pocket for a righty or the 1-3 pocket for the lefty. You would have to adjust by moving quite a bit left at the stance. If you throw a straight ball, you are in luck!
Remember to observe where the breakpoint is (where there is less oil), make small adjustments from there. The more you can practice these oil patterns, the quicker you will master them and in turn, the better your scores are going to be. There are lots of other oil patterns used mostly by professionals and in some amateur tournaments that I will be discussing later on in my blog.
Join me next week when we'll have a check point to see how you are doing so far! The fact that you have been reading my blog up to this point, shows me you really want to improve!!
Good Luck and High Scoring!
You throw your ball and it comes back on the ball return. You pick it up for your next shot and notice there’s a greasy circle all over it. You think to yourself, “ What is this stuff all over my ball”?
Years ago the lanes were made of wood, the first 15 feet was made of a hardwood like maple, to be able to withstand the impact of the ball coming onto the lane. The remaining 45 feet was made of a softer wood like pine which was less expensive. OIL was put on the lanes to protect this wood. Without the oil, your ball would spark and burn the lane from the friction!
During the 1940’s lanes were COATED with SHELLAC to protect the wood underneath from friction and impact of the ball. However, Shellac became more difficult to make during World War II, so they changed the dressing on the lane to Lacquer but this had a higher flammability, so they just decided to change the material the lanes were made of instead.
This lane OIL or Dressing placed on the lanes consists of about 95% MINERAL OIL and the remaining mixture is consisted of other solvents to help with ball friction and how far the oil gets pushed down the lane over a certain amount of games.
Even though today most lanes are not made of wood, oil is still put down mostly to challenge bowlers abilities by using specific OIL PATTERNS approved by the USBC (United States Bowling Congress). Oil also helps control how much the ball will hook. There are several different patterns that we will be discussing in some later blog posts.
Inside and outside TEMPERATURES can affect the oil and how your ball will react on the lane. I remember getting a really cold winter when I first began to bowl, and my scores were several pins down from what my normal average was. I was blaming it on the worker there who applied the oil to the lanes asking if he had put more down than usual. The guy in the pro shop told me they were putting down the same amount. I did a little bit of research and found out that it was this colder weather and the higher humidity we were getting with all the snow. My ball wasn’t hooking as much and was traveling down the lane farther before it started to hook.
The lane oil had become more congealed and the ball couldn’t begin it’s roll at the proper place as before. It was literally sliding on the oil causing me to get more splits than usual. The ball needed to be in it’s ROLLING PHASE when it hit the pins for the strike to carry.
So if the weather changes where you are, you need to pay a bit more attention to how the ball is going down the lane, and you also need to make more adjustments at the stance and where your is.
Normally your ball will start to hook into the 1-3 pocket (1-2 pocket for lefty’s) on the last 20 feet of the 60 foot lane, but if there’s a lot of oil or it’s congealed from colder temperatures, your ball will NOT be able to hook as much, but will SKID, so you must compensate for this by moving to the right at the stance.
Your ball picks up the oil and carries it down the lane (CARRY DOWN OIL) closer to the pins so after a game or two, your ball will start to hook later so you may need to move a little to the left.
The newer reactive resin bowling balls are made of URETHANE and tend to absorb a lot of this lane oil, I so it’s important to wipe your ball off every few frames to remove the oil. When the ball absorbs too much lane oil over time, it will NOT react the same. Try to clean your ball really well after about 12-15 games. They have ball cleaning products in the pro shop that you can use after your set of games is finished so your ball will be nice and clean before you bowl again. I would also sometimes SOAK mine in very hot tap water in the sink with “Dawn” liquid dish detergent for about 20-30 minutes and it cut through the grease really well. (I removed any hole tape beforehand). I was able to submerge the whole ball in the deep sink I had in my laundry room. If you have a small sink, just put in half at a time. By doing this, the ball will react when you first bought it for a longer period of time and you won’t have to buy a new one for awhile.
TIP: Most of the oil is to the CENTER of the lane. If you want your ball to hook a bit more, try standing to the right and aim between boards 1-5. Try this in your practice sessions to see what works best for you.
Please leave me any comments in the comments area, or any topics you'd like me to discuss here in my Blog. I have several we will be covering in the near future. I look forward to hearing from you.
Join me next week when I’ll be discussing some of the "Simple Oil Patterns" you will be encountering in league bowling.
Good luck and high scoring!!
Here are a few more basics that you need to know in order to keep improving your game. Practice these one at a time during your practice sessions and begin to incorporate them into every game. The more games you bowl, the more these principals will become automatic and you won’t have to think about them.
8. TIMING is #1 in Bowling so try to COUNT YOUR STEPS as you are walking on the approach so you get a nice rhythm and you do the same thing each time. When I don’t count, I find that my timing does get off and I end up going a little too fast, or too slow. Your consistency changes if your speed keeps changing.
9. LOFT TO THE SAME AREA ON THE LANE- You need to really REACH OUT and LOFT the ball about 2 feet out onto the lane after the release. DO NOT drop it right at the foul line. If you throw a large hook, it will probably end up in the channel by the time it would have reached the pins. To practice this, you can place a small towel on the lane a few feet from the foul line and keep practicing to land your ball smoothly onto the towel.
10. LAND YOUR BALL SMOOTHLY onto the lane, not into it hard or you’ll lose striking power by the time the ball does hit the pins.
11. Keep your EMOTIONS IN CHECK! This means if you miss a spare or a needed strike, try not to lose your cool and get angry. I used to do this all the time when I first started bowling and ended up doing poorly because I let my anger get the best of me. I would stay focused on what I did wrong rather than what I needed to correct for the next frame. Remember to take each frame separately. If you had a bad shot, just try to figure out what you did wrong before it’s your next turn so you won’t have a repeat of what you just did, and just move on. Don’t dwell on past frames since you can’t re-do them. Take a few deep breaths to help you stay calm and focused!
12. Getting a GOOD LIFT on the ball is really important. Try to keep your middle fingers a little stiff so they stay in a slightly bent position. If you can, try and touch the back of your right shoulder (Left shoulder for left handed bowlers) each time after you release the ball which will also insure a good LIFT. Good lift also put more revolutions on the ball which equals more action down at the pins.
13. TRUST IS A MUST OR YOUR GAME IS A BUST! What this means is to trust your ball to hook back into the pocket area, as long as you got it over your correct target. You don’t need to force it or do anything fancy with the ball. DON’T try to AIM it , just do the normal 10:00 or 11:00 release and give the ball a chance to work.
14. THINK BEFORE YOU GET UP ON THE APPROACH- Once you know where you are going to stand and where your target should be, then step onto the approach and just “FEEL” the shot.
Some of these basics are easier said than done, but you need to stay focused and in control to be successful in bowling. Only you can control your game, so learning these things early on will help you to improve more quickly.
Join me here next week for a discussion about “Lane Oil”.
Good Luck and High Scoring this 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.