There are several problems one can encounter in the game of bowling. I've listed some below to help you be more aware of what may be happening if your bowling is NOT up to par:
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 bowling arm 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. You must do your best to be as steady as possible during the ball release.
If you're walking up faster than normal, you'll have too much momentum behind you which may also throw off your balance.
If you put your trailing foot out to much to the side of your body, that can also cause a loss of balance. Keeping the trailing foot only slightly to the side of the body or more in back of the body after the slide is better.
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 have a good knee bend and STAY DOWN for a few seconds after the ball is released.
Keep your eyes on the ball as it goes through the target rather than looking up at the pins immediately after the release. Then you will know if you actually got the ball over the intended target.
3. MENTAL PROBLEMS:
Please read or 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), FEELING the body in sync with the pendulum arm swing, getting the ball over the correct target, then 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 the habit of looking 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 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. Look down to see that you are ending up on that same board at the foul line, then you'll know you are walking in a straight line!
Walking more slowly than normal will cause a slower 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 faster along the approach, the ball will also go faster and hook less. 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.
Check out my ebook available on Amazon/Kindle--"Let's Rev Up Those Bowling Scores".
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 a 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. A few more of these are mentioned here and I've also included some things for general bowling knowledge.
29. Getting the body down LOWER at the point of release will help you get more ACTION on the ball. More ball action equals more action at the pins.
30. SIDE ROLL- This is a COUNTER CLOCKWISE turn on the ball which is accomplished by rotating your hand around the side of the ball as you release it causing it to go from right to left (left to right for the 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 towards the palm which helps get more pin action on the ball.
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- is 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.
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.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
"Pressure" is one of the topics I never heard 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 some discussion. There will be times when you feel the pressure of having to get a needed strike or spare to win the game for your team in the league or in a big tournament. Knowing all eyes are on you for the needed mark or that 12th consecutive strike for a 300 game, 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 leagues over the years and was put in the anchor position. It took a long time to get used to this pressure but 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, this person 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 was so nervous and just bowled terrible!! The lanes were very dry and my ball was hooking too much and coming right into the headpin causing me to to deal with several splits. Not being an experienced bowler, I just got totally disgusted. Only one person on my team bowled well that night and needless to say, we did NOT end up in the first place position. I felt awful knowing I had contributed to my teams' loss because I didn't hit my average. I thought to myself, "why didn't I just use my cheap plastic ball that goes fairly straight" instead of trying to use the pretty hook shot that was totally out of control tonight? 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 about using my straight ball.
Being experienced, comes with lots of practice and facing several different scenarios in pressure positions.. The key is to be able to make a DECISION immediately if you're not bowling well. After that horrible night, I decided to just use my regular ball for the first few frames to observe, and then I would make some type of change IMMEDIATELY instead of wasting precious frames.
It's very helpful to do some easy STRETCHING just before a crucial shot which will help release unwanted tension in the muscles. BREATHING in slowly through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth a few times can also help you relax and slow your heart rate down when setting up on the approach. If your muscles are tense, your delivery will not be smooth and consistent as it usually is, so a good breathing and stretching routine really helps!!
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 near the ball rack. Wipe any debris off your bowling ball with a towel, and think before you get onto the approach and know exactly what you want to accomplish. Remember to COUNT your steps as you walk along the approach to keep your timing good.
It's also a good idea to BLOCK OUT your surroundings as best as you can to avoid distractions. Try not to worry about how the the other team is doing. You can only control your own bowling, and if you are focusing 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 your score will be good! Just trust your own instincts and the muscle memory you have developed over the years (or are developing if you are new to the sport) 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 adjustments you might need to make.
When you feel pressure while 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. You need to let it go so you can focus on executing a good shot in the next frame. Just try to figure out what you did wrong if you can, and make the change right away for the next shot. You can also ask the advice of the better bowlers on your league if you're not sure on what adjustment/s to make until you get more experienced and can figure out things on your own.
In your PRACTICE SESSIONS you can pretend you are in a pressure situation in your league or in an upcoming tournament for example and then try executing a good shot. By creating these mental situations during practice, you will better prepare yourself for when then are really happening when it counts.
I know sometimes it's easier to say these things than to do them, 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 will still feel pressure on a crucial shot. But I say to myself, "I've made this mark 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.
Join me here again next week to discuss "What Do I Need To Know In Bowling"?-Part 6 (Continued from my Blog post on 11/1/21). I hope to see you then.
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.