Are you having a bad night at the lanes and just can't seem to do anything right? This happens to everyone occasionally so you're NOT alone. The first thing you must NOT do, is PANIC!! When you start to panic, then your'e not able to concentrate and you're adjustments won't be correct and you'll end up totally confused.
The next thing you must realize is that you just can't bowl GREAT every night because you're not a machine! The trick is to at least score as best as you can on those "OFF" nights.
Try to figure out if it's something with the lanes or something you are doing. Use your keen eye to see if the pins are offset because sometimes the pinsetter can be off and that could be the culprit. If it looks like the pins are slightly off their regular spot, you can hit the re-set button. If it keeps happening, then let someone at the desk know and they can get the mechanic to take a look.
Or perhaps try changing the angle that you are coming in at like I spoke about in my Blog Post from 5/2/22. (what the best angle is to throw a strike).
Make sure the ball has some "Stuff" on it' meaning to make sure you are turning your hand enough and also pulling the fingers toward your palm to get more revs which will get you more action at the pins.
If give you're getting annoyed or getting disgusted, take note of your attitude and mood and don't just toss the ball out there like you don't care anymore, be deliberate in spite of the way you feel.
If you can't get any strikes, then just accept it and do your best to make all your spares because all 8's and spares is a 180 and all 9's and spares is a 190 which are a lot better than a 130.
If your ball starts coming up too high on the headpin and you know you got the ball over the correct target, make an adjustment to the left or move up on the lane a little bit immediately. Don't waste precious frames. I remember one night the ball just kept getting sucked right into the headpin no matter what adjustments I made. So I decided to move to the right and just let the ball cross over into the 1-2 pocket. The strikes were not in the correct 1-3 pocket, but it was better than getting more splits, and I was able to salvage my score by just accepting that regular adjustments just were not working.
Make sure you aren't wandering slightly. Check your feet at the stance and then look down at the foul line after the ball delivery to make sure you are close to or on that same board.
Ask yourself, "Am I trying to AIM the ball instead of trusting it to roll back into the pocket area? "Trust is a must or your game is a bust" I always say.
Another problem could be that you are lofting it out farther than normal or dropping it SHORT of where the ball normally lands. These little things can add up to trouble at the pin deck. Don't let your eyes wander up to look at the pins before watching where the ball lands and checking it to make sure it's hitting the intended target, otherwise the adjustments you make may be incorrect!
Make sure you are not TOPPING the ball, meaning turning your hand too much past the 10:00 or 11:00 hand position. This will cause the ball to lose power by the time it reaches the pins.
Also ask yourself
1. "Am I rushing the line"? Sometimes I would get anxious or nervous if we were bowling a really good team and got an adrenaline flow. Be aware of this so you can slow yourself down a little if the ball isn't coming up into the pocket area. Take a few good deep breaths at the stance before you begin your walk on the approach to relax your muscles and take your time and be sure to count your steps.
2. "Am I being distracted by a team member in a deep conversation"? If you are a beginner, you can get easily distracted. You may not be aware of the changing lane conditions as the night moves on. There is more carry down oil on the back end of the lane closest to the pins. It's like doing a dance up there, you start out in one place, then move left, then perhaps right again. You may also need to change the target slightly to get a bit more oil.
There's a lot to remember in bowling and it takes time to get your timing in sync and learn how to adjust properly with the constant changing lane conditions. Be patient with yourself and remember "Rome wasn't built in a day". Just keep practicing and soon your scores and confidence will improve greatly!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing "How do you build consistency in bowling"?-Part 2
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
According to the dictionary, the word consistency means the following:
CONSISTENCY- Keeping the same principals and habits; harmonious in agreement; agreement or harmony among the parts or elements of a thing.
Yes indeed, this is what we would all like to achieve in our bowling! But how does one achieve this is the big question? Let me remind you a little about the equipment we should be using.
1. Let us begin with the BALL and SHOES. I hope by now you are using your own ball and shoes. If not PLEASE get these as soon as possible! DO NOT use alley balls or shoes. To become consistent, you need to be using the SAME equipment week after week. As a rule of thumb, your ball weight should be about 10% of your body weight, so if you weigh 160 pounds for example, because 10% of 160 is 16 , so therefore you should try to use a 16 pound ball. If you're a new bowler, I recommend getting a "conventional grip" drilled in your new ball to start (drilled up to the second knuckle on the fingers). This will allow you to grip the ball better so you won't drop it. After a year or so after your fingers are stronger, you can buy a new ball or have the old one re-filled and re-drilled into a "Finger Tip Grip" (drilled up to the first knuckles on the fingers). As previously mentioned, DO NOT buy a very aggressive ball to start because they hook a great deal and are more difficult to control. Ask the local pro in the pro shop for help. They know what each type of ball can do and will be able to better assist you instead of just getting a ball online.
2. Buy a "WRIST DEVICE"! Some pro shop proprietors will let you try out different ones if you can bowl on a lane close to where the pro shop is located. This device will help hold the wrist firm so you can be more consistent in your release. It will help with your "Muscle Memory" in having the SAME FEEL over and over again.
3. Keeping the SAME SET-UP or ROUTINE that you do over and over again is also very important in achieving more consistency in your bowling game. Think behind the approach before you even remove your ball from the rack so you know what it is that you want to achieve. Before they turn on the lanes for practice, I always do some light stretching and I try insert my fingers into the bowling ball holes to make sure the fingers feel just right. If I need to, I'll have time to insert or remove tape to get the proper feel.
Once the lanes are turned on :
I begin my routine as follows:
1. Take my ball off the rack, put it my non-bowling hand, dry my bowling hand over the blower, and wipe the ball with my towel.
2. Check to the left and right to make sure no one is next to me and then I step onto the approach on the proper board or dot.
3. Insert my 2 fingers into the ball, and the thumb last.
4. Rest my bowling arm elbow onto my hip (to help take some of the ball weight since I use a 16 pound ball) and I keep my hand flat to start.
5. Move my bowling arm slightly out to the right so I will have body clearance on the downswing.
6. Flex my knees slightly so they are already bent when I begin my walk along the approach.
7. Fix my eyes on my target.
8. Count to four.
9. Begin my walk along the approach and counting my steps as I walk-1,2,3,4, and slide on the 5.
10. Release the ball lofting it out onto the lane and never looking at the pins until my ball hits my target down the lane and passes it slightly. Then I watch the ball as it hits the pins making sure the ball is following the correct path.
It is VITAL that you have a good routine similar to this. If you hold your wrist slightly different, that is fine because every bowler is different. But just make sure you are consistently doing it the same way each time until it is time to make a little change because of the changing lanes.
Do all your things the same way over and over to develop this Muscle Memory so that it becomes second nature to you and over time, you won't even have to think about it because you will do it automatically. Your bowling will improve greatly by have a consistent routine.
When you go practicing, include having a good routine along with other things you are practicing. Don't overlook this one!!
Check out my ebook that's now available on Amazon/Kindle:
Join me again next week when I'll be discussing "Are you having a bad night at the lanes"?
Good Luck and High Scoring!
The Cheetah Oil Pattern is the fourth of the professional oil patterns I'll be discussing. It is 36 feet long and can yield low to high scoring depending on how quickly you can figure things out. A urethane ball works best here and you shouldn't have to make any large adjustments. Remember that sometimes an adjustment can mean changing the ball you are using, not just your target or where you are standing.
Most bowlers, disregarding their style, should use an outside line on this Cheetah pattern and use a target around the first arrow. Using straighter angles into the pocket area will be wise because the ball will have more hook on the back end until the pattern starts to break down which may be fairly quickly since most bowlers will be using a similar line. The pattern looks like this:
Begin with a target between boards 4-6, and use a ball with a more gradual hook to start so it doesn't take off on the back end.
Also use the outside line and play around the first arrow (5th board) and use a ball with a little less surface. If you throw your ball a little fast than most, you can try playing between the 2nd and 3rd arrows which will give you more room for error.
Can start between the first and 2nd arrow. Try to be as accurate as possible in hitting your mark, especially on a fresh pattern or the ball may take off on the back end and come up too high on the headpin. Getting your ball into the rolling phase as soon as possible will be helpful early on so it can lose some of it's power on the back end which will give you a little more room for error in case you miss your mark slightly. If the ball is hooking too much, you can use a slightly weaker ball if you have one.
You can check out my blog post from 4/4/22 on how to maintain a bowling ball. I discuss using Abralon pads to scratch the surface of the bowling ball which you can do before the tournament or league play begins. You must do the whole surface of the ball and a 500 grit pad will cause the ball to hook earlier on the lane than a 2000 grit pad which would cause the ball to hook later.
Remember to use these suggestions as a starting point. You will have to adjust from here because of the amount your ball hooks and speed in which you throw it at.
Please join me back here next week when I'll be discussing "How do you build consistency in bowling"?-Part 1.
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
It's really important that you keep records concerning your bowling, so you can see how much you're progressing. These can be kept in a notebook I mentioned on getting (along with your other equipment) in the Blog Post from 4/26/21. Try keeping it in your bowling bag so you can refer to your records when necessary. If you still haven't gotten a notebook yet, I recommend getting one as soon as possible.
It is it important to keep a record of your scores each week in the league (to make sure your average is the same as it is on the stat sheet they pass out in the league each week), but you should be writing down your scores during practice sessions too. Remember, in order to calculate your average, just add up the scores you bowled and divide by the number of games you bowled. For example, if you bowled a 180, 220, and 175 on your league night your series would be a 575 and, dividing by 3, your average would be 191.2 for those 3 games. The league keeps a cumulative total of your series each week and divides by the number of games you bowled over the course of the season. For example, a typical winter league has 36 weeks so if the totals of all your series was 20,196 then you would divide that by 108 giving you an overall average of 187 for that season (3 games per week x 36 weeks if you weren't absent at all).
Along with a record of your weekly scores, series, and average, I recommend keeping a record of the the following as well:
1. Your Mood---What was your mood like when you arrived to the bowling center (we just talked about this last week)? Were you in a rush, were you worried about anything? When going practicing, did you go with something specific in mind?
2. What type of marks did you get? How many strikes, doubles, strings of strikes, splits, misses, etc.did you get?
3. Did you stretch, take a few deep breaths, use the practice session in the league, or did you just get your shoes on and start bowling?
4. Lane Conditions---Were the lanes moving (not much oil) or did the lanes have a lot of oil? You can also write down the lane numbers you bowled on because it may help you to do better the next time you are bowling on that same pair of lanes, perhaps giving you a slight advantage over the other bowlers. In some of my leagues, the bottom of the stat sheet will put down the lane numbers your team will be bowling on for the following week and you can check in your notebook to see if you had any trouble on those lanes.
5. Physical State---Were you tired when you arrived or full of energy?
6. Your Adjustments---You should write down what adjustments you made on a certain pair of lanes. For example, if you were bowling on lanes 11 and 12, and played the 2nd arrow until the middle of the second game and then had to move to the right 2 boards, write what the problem was and those adjustments you made. Repeatedly writing things down will help you determine what adjustments to make in the future when similar situations arise on changing lane conditions. (The lanes can vary from week to week even if you bowl on the same pair because of weather conditions and the oil machine varying slightly from week to week).
7. Your Thoughts---Try writing down how you felt after the bowling session is over while your mind is still conscious of the psychological and physical conditions that affected your scoring ability. This will help you understand yourself and your own game better over time.
By keeping track of these things, you may begin to see a pattern. By checking your progress, maybe your'e noticing that your worst game is your first, especially if you come to the league directly from work and you haven't eaten anything yet and you are so hungry but you need to take care of the league dues, getting in a league pot for high game, saying hello to your team mates, getting your shoes on and getting ready for the ten minute practice session, etc. Seeing this can help you make a few changes that can help make a difference in bringing up your score. Perhaps you can leave work a bit earlier on your league night if that's possible, or just eat a snack on the way to stave off the hunger until you have time to get something more substantial so you can focus more on that first game than you were doing before.
If you're noticing that your lowest score is your last game, then maybe you're getting tired or perhaps you haven't made the proper adjustment yet. Bring a candy bar or have a cup of coffee to keep your energy up. Make sure to include some of those bowling exercises I mentioned in my Blog Post from 5/17/21 each week to help with your stamina.
When you roll a great game, have the person at the desk make a printout of it for you and keep it in your bowling bag if you are able. Glance at it from time to time to remind you that you really are a good bowler and if you did it once, you can do it again!!
Check out my ebook that's now available on Amazon/Kindle:
Join me back here again next week when I'll be discussing "The Cheetah Oil Pattern".
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.