The 5th oil Pattern I want to discuss is the "Chameleon Oil Pattern". It's a tough one to play on because there are a lot of different angles you can play from and like a chameleon, you must keep changing your angle and sometimes the ball you are using. It looks like this:
The pattern is 39 feet long and the darker area on the picture is where the heaviest oil will be. The scoring is usually low to medium depending on your style and the ball you are using.
Large adjustments may be needed so my recommendation for Strokers is to stand on board 5 and start from there, and moving in five board increments to the left as the oil wears off. Play between the 5th and 15th board and you can try playing more directly into the pocket when the pattern is fresh.
Tweeners should start a bit more to the left of the Stroker and needs to be more accurate on their target, or the ball may get stuck in the oil and not come up into the pocket.
Crankers can start in the center of the lane or even slightly left of center, and play the inside track. It will be a tough pattern in the beginning but get will get easier as you go along. You may need to move even farther left and play a deeper line. It may be good to also change to a ball that breaks farther down the lane if you have one, otherwise the ball may cross over to the 1-2 pocket, or you may wind up with a few splits.
As with any oil pattern, as the oil breaks down and carries farther down the lane, you could even change to a straight ball if you have one. If you bowl the same oil pattern in one bowling center and then go to another center and play the same pattern, it can vary slightly depending on the lane oiling machine.
As always, let your ball be your guide and make notes for yourself when bowling on these different patterns as to what is happening and what adjustments you are making because it can be confusing, especially if you're a new bowler.
Do try bowling in some tournaments when your confidence is good because that will help you to really improve on these different oil patterns. Don't be fearful, everyone who is a great bowler all had to start out somewhere, and they improved by bowling in different centers practicing and participating in these tournaments to get a lot of experience on several types of lane conditions. How will you know your full potential unless you push yourself outside of your normal comfort zone?
Join me back here again next week when I'll be discussing "Understanding the Mental Game of Bowling"-Part 1
Good Luck and High Scoring!!!
There are several things a person might be doing wrong if their timing is or something else is off, which can mess up the swing as well as the footwork and resulting in a poor score. Here are a few items you'll need to be aware of so it won't happen to you:
1. Rushing the Line (going too fast)---
When you're a new bowler, or it's the first night of the new league for example, or you're going for a crucial shot, sometimes we get excited and we let that adrenalin flow get the best of us and we may walk too quickly. Be aware of this and try to walk at your normal pace (unless the lanes are changing and you need to on purpose). Walking too fast causes the body to be out of sync with the arm swing and the body will reach the foul line ahead of the ball causing an unwanted muscled swing. When the timing is off, it can also cause you to have bad balance and a poor release without a good loft.
2. Holding the Ball out in Front---
You should always remember to hold the ball out to the side so you will already have the clearance of the body when the bowling arm comes down and back. If you hold the ball out in front of you, you have to loop it around the body which can be inconsistent. After I get my fingers into the ball, I rest my elbow on my right hip and swing the ball out slightly to the right. (Lefty's do the opposite). This will lead to a more consistent swing.
Beginners tend to drift toward their target. That is ok if you only drift a board or so off from where you started, but remember to look down at the dot or board you are standing on and after you release the ball, look down again to check that you are not drifting too much because if you land in a different place each time, you will not be able to hit your target consistently!
4. The Push Away---
The direction you push the ball away, is the direction that the back swing is going to be. Remember to keep your shoulders square to the target and push the ball out directly in front of you, not slightly to the right or left.
During the release, the ball loft should be past the foul line by at least a foot or more so the ball won't cause a foul shot and loss of pins if it's released too close. You should also try to stay down after the release for a few seconds until the ball passes the target. Try not to "pop up" after the release and try not to swing the bowling arm back and forth which looks sloppy. Staying down and holding the release position looks more professional.
6. Follow Through---The follow through comes after the push away, pendulum swing, and ball release. After the ball release it is important to continue coming up with the arm and hand toward the ceiling. Your bowling elbow should come up near your ear, or you can touch your back with your bowling hand after the ball release to insure a really good follow through.
7. Dropping the Ball---
The foot must already be sliding as you release the ball. If the ball is improperly fitted, you could drop it causing a loss of power by the time it reaches the pins. Let it become part of your routine to check the tape in the holes before you start any bowling to insure a good fit each time you bowl, because sometimes the thumb or fingers can swell slightly. Add or remove the tape as needed, don't be lazy and think just because the ball had a good fit last week, that it will be the same this week. Our bodies do change.
8. Bad Balance---
As I previously mentioned in an earlier blog post. after you release the ball, the non-bowling arm should go out to the side and your foot should stay more in back of you and on the floor rather than out to the side, to help keep your balance, especially if you're a beginner. As you get better and your balance improves, you can keep your foot up off the floor and slightly out to the side, just not excessively. If your balance isn't good, it will be difficult to consistently hit your target.
Just be aware of these things and others I have mentioned in earlier posts so you can quickly get past these mistakes and get back to focusing on the game and doing well as you are meant to do!
Join me again next week when I'll be discussing the "Chameleon Oil Pattern".
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
I wish everyone a very Safe, and Happy Halloween!!
Notice I saved this one for a scary day! Lol
We all have our little quirks, beliefs, and superstitions. If you're a person that does believe in Superstitions, then maybe you shouldn't read this blog post, or maybe you should to see that some of these are SILLY and you shouldn't let them affect your ability to bowling well!
1. Repeating things-- Some bowlers think that if they bowled well, they should wear those same clothes each week or that they need to sit in the same seat week after week and if they don't, somehow they are going to bowl poorly.
2. Cleaning the ball--Some bowlers think they actually need to wipe the ball after every shot and if they don't it will make them bowl bad. I do agree that it's a good idea to clean the debris off the ball after a few frames, and I guess their mind set is "if it's working, then don't change it", but it's not really necessary to do this after every shot.
3. Practicing too much-- I know people that don't practice if they just had a good night in their league. They only go practicing if they have a bad night. Also during the league ten minute practice session, I see people sit down right away if they throw a strike or two instead of practicing for the 10 and 7 pins, or a pin they may have been having issues with in the previous week. They tell me "I don't want to use up all my strikes, I'd rather save them for the real game when it counts" (more on this one in a later Blog Post).
4. The 300 Jinx--If someone is getting several strikes in a row, people shouldn't say anything to them about possibly getting a 300 game, or should be asking them if they have ever had a 300 game before. This one may be real because I have seen it happen to several people over the years. The bowler is already getting pretty pumped up and excited when he/she has at least 7 or 8 consecutive strikes, and if people start coming over to watch, then the pressure becomes a reality and if someone does say something, it will be in the bowlers mind. If people can just stay quiet, the person may be able to pull it off!! but then again, if you are totally focused and just do your best to execute another good shot, I do believe you will get that 300 game! The best thing to do is to block out the people around you, pretend you are at the lanes practicing by yourself if you can picture it in your mind.
5. Not Bowling next to a Split--People should NOT be afraid to do this and when they do, they hold people up. Just remember that whatever you focus on is what you'll get, so if you focus on the split next to you, then of course you will most likely end up with a split. If you just focus on doing your things correctly and getting a good first ball, then you'll get a strike or at least a 9 with an easy spare to convert, the choice is yours.
6. Three Sixes in a Row--666 means "The Beast" or Devil in the Bible. Many people think it's bad luck to get a 666 Series for three games, but it's a 222 average and great bowling in my book!
7. Mascots-- Many people bring all sorts of little stuffed animals, a rabbits foot, or other silly paraphernalia as good luck charms. They think that by having it with them, touching it, or even talking to it will bring them good luck and help them to bowl better. Last week we bowled against a team and the lady had and petted the little stuffed kitty she had before she bowled. She got a 7 on the first shot and chopped the spare. When she came back, she actually yelled at it. I was cracking up! So if they really worked, that would have never happened. It's what we put in our own minds that actually controls us, not the good luck charm itself.
I find most of these things to be actually quite comical! I'll be discussing more on these superstitions and the mental aspects associated with them in a letter blog post.
Just remember that regular practicing, having good equipment and good timing, executing a good release with a good lift and loft, and getting the ball over the correct mark, will be what gets you to that next level. Bad luck only happens to bowlers when they let fearful and negative thoughts enter into their minds instead of staying positive and just focusing on what they need to get done on the lanes!!
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Join me here next week when I'll be discussing Common Problems that can Hurt Your Bowling.
Good Luck and High Scoring!! Don't forget those exercises too!
So, how are you doing? I am very interested in your progress. Have you been doing your bowling exercises I listed in my Blog Post from 5/17/21? If you're not weight lifting, that may be why you can't properly loft the ball out onto the lane. Please start up a routine at least three times a week as soon as you are able. Have you also incorporated some power walking, regular walking, aerobics, or bike riding to help improve your stamina so you can bowl well all three games and not get tired? You should try to do these types of exercise at least 4-5 times a week. Remember, all athletes that want to improve will have a good weekly exercise routine!
How has your walking and your pendulum swing been? Have they been in sync and do you feel a good rhythm while walking along the approach? Timing is crucial in bowling! It's important to walk using your normal walking stride and not go too fast because you really don't need lots of power in bowling to have a high average. Actually too much power and speed won't allow the ball to hook, and it could cut through the pins and leave you with a split! Try not to be too anxious if an important shot is coming up. Take a few deep cleansing breaths and do you best to stay focused and keep your speed normal.
Have you been checking where you start on the approach and looking down after releasing the ball to make sure you are ending up on or close to the same board so you walk fairly straight? If you are wandering too much, your angle delivery onto the lane will be different each time, equalling inconsistency!
Are you remembering to have as deep a knee bend as possible rather than bending from the waist? It's important to keep your torso vertical so your head is more upright, which allows you to see and reach out for the intended target more easily.
Are you working on keeping your emotions in check, meaning if you didn't get a strike on a great pocket hit or you missed a spare, are you getting really angry? Being too hard on yourself will most likely cause you to lose focus on the next shot because you are dwelling on past frames. The idea is to try and figure out what went wrong as soon as you can before the next frame so you'll be able to execute a strike on the next ball. Remember to be KIND to yourself. You will improve more quickly if you do this rather than beating yourself up. Even the pros miss sometimes!
Have you gotten that new ball you've been wanting or have you changed from the Conventional Grip to a Finger Tip Grip yet? This will help you get more revs on the ball and definitely more action at the pins?
Do you have a good routine in your bowling game? Are you Doing a little stretching before the bowling session begins, Checking the finger grips before bowling to see if you need to add or remove tape from the holes for a slightly snug fit, Cleaning your ball after a few shots with your towel, Inserting the fingers into the ball first, then the thumb last, etc. All these things help to achieve consistency which is the name of the game in bowling and any sport for that matter.
Have you kept a positive attitude? I know sometimes this can be difficult, but you need to try. In life we get what we focus on most. If you keep saying "I'll never be good", or "I'll never be able to remember all the things I need to, to become a good bowler", then you'll probably never get better. It was really difficult in the beginning for me, but I kept practicing and kept a good outlook. Just try and NOT be afraid to make some mistakes. There's a lot of things to remember so you MUST be patient with yourself. I was, and now I finally average over 200 and so can you!
Visualization is also a key to improvement. Just before it's your turn to bowl you can think ahead on what you want to accomplish, then just visualize it while on the approach whether it's picturing picking up a difficult split, a crucial spare to win the game, or striking out in the tenth frame for a high game in the league. You can even try to feel what that good release will be in your mind. Then just DO IT!! By visualizing consistently, you will definitely see positive results over time and there will be less time for those negative thoughts to creep into your head.
Join me back here agin next week when I'll be discussing some of the Silly Superstitions people have in bowling.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
As previously mentioned, there are basically two types of scoring each league or tournament may have. One is called "SCRATCH" which means no extra points or pins are given out to individuals, whatever they bowl is their score and usually the more experienced bowlers bowl in Scratch Leagues.
The other type of scoring is called "HANDICAP". Some leagues work on an 80% or 90% handicap using 200 as a base or 230 as a base. For example, if a league uses a 200 base and your average is 150, then you subtract 150 from 200 which is 50. If your league uses an 80% handicap, 80% of 50 is 40 so your handicap will be 40 pins per game. Sometimes a league may use a 90% handicap.The handicap keeps things more fair and on a more equal starting point since some bowlers can score higher than others and all bowlers are on a different skill level. Your individual and team handicaps will change each week depending on how well or poorly you did the week before. League sheets are handed out to each team every week by the secretary, and all the stats will be on there--team standings, individuals averages, which man and woman has the high average in the league, and sometimes each individuals scores from the previous week.
Calculating your average is pretty straight forward. Just add up the three games you bowl and divide by three. For example, if you bowled a 165, 213, and 182 your first evening in as league, the total is 560 which would be your SERIES. Then you divide by three to get your AVERAGE which would be 186 for that first week of bowling. Let's say that the next week in your league you bowl 179, 202, and 194. Adding that up equals 575 for your series and dividing by three equals 191 for your average. To figure out your average for the first two weeks you bowled, just add the two SERIES together, 560 plus 575 which equals 1135, then divide by the six games you bowled for the two weeks-1135 divided by 6 equals 189.16 which is your average after two weeks of bowling. Keep doing this each week and you will have your series and average after 32 weeks (or 36 depending how long your league is).
Formula-Divide total of games by the total number of games bowled.
It's extremely important that you keep your own records of statistics so you can keep track of your progress and also, in case by the end of the league, if you and another person are competing for high average or series, you will know if the secretary of your league has the same stats that you do. Keep these records in your bowling notebook that you keep in your bag so you can check them from time to time. If you are ever in a slump, it helps to go back to see when you were doing well and that may help you to realize that you will be bowling well again soon!
Good bowlers can average between 180-200. Anyone averaging a 200+ is an extremely skilled bowler. You can achieve these scores with lots of practice and real dedication. Be patient with yourself and only practice a few things at a time and before you know it, it will all come together and people in your league will be coming to you with all the questions!!
The highest averaged bowler was Jeff Carter who had a 261.74 between 2000-2001! he was a professional bowler who joined the PBA in 1999.
Join me next week for an important checkpoint.
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
How many times have you had what looked like a great pocket hit, only to have a rotten 10 pin staring back at you? I think I could have paid off my car if I could have had a dollar for every time I left a 10 pin!! Anyway, it's extremely frustrating to say the least! I used to get angry and end up missing the spare, but too many missed 10 pins can cost you from achieving a really good score!
I've learned a thing or two from bowling 45+ years and now I almost never miss the 10 pin when I do leave it, and you can too. The first thing is to try and to avoid having this spare to convert in the first place. Always try to get all 10 pins down on the first ball so you won't leave that 10 pin. Here are a few suggestions I have for you:
** Try moving back from where you would normally stand on the approach by about 3-4". That will give the ball more lane to travel on and give the ball more hooking time, making it come up slightly higher on the head pin to give you a more solid hit into the 1-3 pocket (1-2 for lefty's).
** Try moving 1 board to the right of where you normally stand for the strike ball (left for lefty's). This is just a starting point. Depending on the size hook, you may need to move 2 or 3, so just experiment.
** Standing on your normal board, try holding the ball down a little lower than you normally do. When you do this, the pendulum swing will be a bit lower on the back swing and will slow the ball down and give it more time to come up a slightly higher in the pocket.
** If you're good at it, slow down your speed slightly if you can (walk a bit slower along the approach). This one was somewhat difficult for me because it messed up my timing with the arm and footwork. So I would mostly just move left, right, back, or forwards on the approach instead. Practice going slower and speeding up in your practice sessions so you can use this method when needed.
If you can't get the strike and you do leave the 10 pin, here are a few suggestions to help you convert it because it can be tricky for the right handed bowler, just as the 7 pin is tricky for the left handed bowler because the ball can drop off into the channel of you're not careful:
** For the right handed bowler, stand on the far left side of the approach, around the 35th board as a starting point and use the 3rd or 4th arrow as your target. Lefty's can stand on the left side of the approach also. For the 7 pin conversion for left handed bowlers, do the opposite of what the right handed bowlers need to do for the 10 pin.
** Turn the sliding foot slightly toward the 10 pin
**Walk at your NORMAL SPEED and in a STRAIGHT path along that 35th board as best as you can, because the tendency will be for your body to walk toward the 10 pin and you may end up in the center of the lane instead.
If the ball goes off into the channel, try moving to the right a board or two (for the right handed bowler) and try again. Just keep practicing so you'll get a feel of it and you'll just get better and better at converting the 10 pin!
**You can buy a cheap plastic ball which is what I did. I even took off my wrist support, broke my wrist slightly, and stood on the left side of the approach and threw over the center arrow. The ball didn't hook at all and I was able to make so many more 10 pins adding quite a bit to my score.
** You can also learn to throw a "Back Up Ball" and be able to make it that way. If you can do this, you will have more ammo on crazy lean conditions too. To do this, as you arm is coming down at the bottom of the pendulum swing, turn your hand in a clockwise direction instead of counter clockwise. Make sure to practice this one a lot before doing it in your league play.
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Join me here again next week when I'll be discussing "How do Bowling Averages and Handicaps Work"?
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
Because Bowling is an activity that requires repetitive movements, a bowler can acquire several types of injuries just like in any other sort. Two of the most common are BURSITIS and TENDONITIS. The muscles and tendons that are attached to the bones become inflamed from doing certain movements again and again which can cause severe pain in the shoulder, hip, and knee. It can also affect the elbow more commonly known as "Tennis Elbow".
I have experienced Tennis Elbow several times during my 45+ years of bowling and it's no fun. I had to buy a brace at the local pharmacy that slipped on my bowling arm just below the elbow which kept the muscle from extending too much so the healing process could start. I still keep it in my bowling bag to this day in case I feel any pain coming on in that area and then I can just slip it on to avoid it getting any worse. If you experience any pain while you are bowling, they do have ice in the bowling center as well as first aid kits. Follow up with more ice when you get home because early and proper treatment will help to heal the sore area more quickly allowing you to get back in the game.
If your pain ever becomes severe, see your doctor and try to rest the arm whenever possible. Use the opposite arm to do easy things until the pain lessens. You may have to skip a week or two in the league. Don't push yourself or you may likely make things worse and have to be absent more than just one or two weeks!
The best advice in helping to prevent some of these injuries is to do some mild stretching before bowling as previously mentioned in earlier blog posts. Having a regular exercise regimen will also help keep your joints strong and flexible.
For new bowlers, throwing the ball improperly, bowling too many games at once, or having bad form on the lanes, can result in other injuries like HITTING YOUR LEG, or KNEE. Hopefully it doesn't occur too often. If it does, have a friend come to watch you bowl during a practice session or ask a family member to film you so you can see what may be happening. You may even want to take a few lessons with a coach as soon as you are able or you'll definitely end up with soreness or a serious injury. If hitting your ANKLE is a problem, you may be sliding the foot too much to the side. Try sliding more straight towards the foul line so when you release the ball, the ankle isn't too close to the ball as you are releasing it. Get some ice and put it on the ankle as soon as you are able. If it's not an ice bag, but an actual bag of ice, be careful not to let any water drip out so you and other bowlers won't step on the wetness by accident causing you to stick on the lane.
When you are getting ready to bowl, pay attention to what you are doing. I've seen bowlers trying to finish up a conversation on the way to get their ball off the rack. Another ball comes up from the ball return quickly and they had their fingers banged between the balls, OUCH!!!
Occasionally a ball will get stuck in the ball return. So if your ball doesn't come back to the rack, don't panic. Just let someone at the desk know and they will send the mechanic down to retrieve it for you. DO NOT try to do it yourself because it could result in a serious injury.
BLISTERS, CUTS, and SCRAPES are also injuries we can't avoid during our bowling. They can occur from releasing the ball incorrectly, or just from an improperly fitted ball. If the holes are too tight, just find another ball. If it's your own ball, you may need to take it to the pro shop for a minor adjustment. Don't wait, address the issue as soon as you are able.
If you have a cut on your finger, you can use the Nu-Skin product I mentioned in my Blog post from 4/26/21 on Equipment. Don't use a Band Aid because your finger will not fit properly into the ball hole. If you don't have this product yet, please make a trip to the pro shop or buy it online as soon as possible. You can ask a team-mate to borrow some in a pinch because most bowlers keep this item handy in their bowling bag.
More serious injuries can be KNEE and WRIST SPRAINS, and SHOULDER or BACK pain mostly being caused by an improper release of the ball or using too heavy a ball. Remember the ball should be about 10% of your weight unless you're an experienced bowler who can handle 15 or 16 lbs. If you experience any swelling or tenderness in an area, or any bruising then you may have a sprain. Use ice packs on and off throughout the day and maybe lay off bowling for a week or two so you can get the proper rest without having a longer setback. If that's not helping, then go see your doctor. It may be more serious and require anti-inflammatories to help with pain and swelling, or some type of physical therapy depending on the extent of the injury. The pro shop sells hand and wrist supports to protect your wrists. To help avoid shoulder issues, don't have too high of a back swing and don't throw the ball super hard. You don't really need to, to achieve great scores. If you have back pain, try bending more at the knee on the release with the body more upright rather than bending from the waist.
Remember that injuries can occur when playing any sport. That's why I recommend including exercising, stretching, and bowling practices in your weekly routine to help you achieve proper form. Hopefully by doing these things you will be in the lucky percent of people who can remain injury free for the most part.
Join me again next week when I'll be discussing "How to make a Ten Pin".
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
In my Blog Post from 5/23/22 I spoke about different Hand Position that can be used in Bowling. Here I'd like to mention a few different finger positions I've used over the years and that you may want to try. Fingers aren't used for just holding the ball, they can do more to help improver your pin count and increase your scores! Let me also mention what Axis Rotation and Axis Tilt are:
* Axis Rotation--Is the left to right or Horizontal movement of the hand with the ball for the ball release.
* Axis Tilt--Is the Up and down or Vertical alignment of the hand with the ball and is a type of spin that is put on the bowling ball by the way a player throws the ball. A Zero Axis Tilt- means that one rotation of the ball goes over the entire surface (usually when a straight ball is thrown), and when the Axis Rotation and Axis Tilt are the same, the ball will go straight. A small or low axis tilt creates a smaller more gradual hook that is easier to control, which gives the bowler a high percentage of good pocket hits and spare conversions. A higher tilt makes the ball turn or hook farther down the lane. The photo below shows some angles of axis tilt. I found it online and if you want to know more, you can go online to get a bit deeper into it.
1. STRAIGHT (CLOSED) FINGERS POSITION:
**Keeping your fingers closed or close together on the ball release helps you to stay behind the ball more which produces a Low *Axis Tilt and is great to use on lanes that have little oil (dry lanes).
** Doing this helps with keeping the ball going longer down the lane before it starts to hook, and keeps the hook smaller and more moderate. The ball may feel a little unstable in your hand at first, so you can open the index finger if needed but only slightly.
2. SPREADING INDEX FINGER POSITION:
** Good to use when lanes are slick (have a lot of oil).
** Increases Axis Tilt which helps produce more revolutions on the ball and creates a slightly larger hook.
** Increases the angle of entry into the pins on the back end.
3. SPREADING PINKY FINGER POSITION:
** Makes the ball easier to control.
** Gives more end over end roll.
** Produces a slightly smaller hook than the wide index finger position, thereby helping to increase accuracy.
** Can use the pinky to help guide the ball toward the target.
** Helps decrease the hook on the back end so the ball doesn't keep hooking and possibly come up high on the headpin.
4. TUCKED PINKY FINGER POSITION:
** Helps the ball to go longer down the lane before it starts to hook.
**Helps with pushing the ball off the palm.
** Puts a little more snap on the hook at the back end as the ball is going into the pocket.
** To do this, bend the pinky at the first joint so the nail is resting on the balls' surface.
If you've never tried these different finger positions before, I recommend giving them a try. You can experiment or deviate from what I've mentioned here if you want, for example try spreading the index finger and pinky at the same time to see what that can do for you with the type of ball you throw, or try squeezing the ring or middle finger and leading the ball with one of them instead of the index finger. Just practice, practice, practice, practice to help fine tune your balls' reaction on the lanes. When you understand what these different finger positions can do, make notes to review so you can use them in your league play. Have fun!!
Is it time to clean your ball? Have you been doing those bowling exercises I mentioned on 5/17/21?
Join me back here next week when I'll be discussing some Common Bowling Injuries and how to deal with them.
Are you a fairly new bowler who uses an alley ball or just has one of those plastic balls? Has your average improved only a little and you want to get your game up to the next level? Have you only been using a ball with a "Conventional Grip", or have you been working out and can now handle a heavier ball, or has the ball you've been using just not working the same as when you first bought it? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then it is time for you to purchase a new ball!
A new bowlers average will always improve because they usually don't know much about the game. Some of them may not want to spend a lot of money on equipment until they know they like the sport, which is quite understandable. But if you have been in the sport awhile and you are still using a cheap ball, you need to get yourself a better one that has some STUFF on it! Please re-read my blog post from 5/3/21 about bowling balls.
When you buy a new ball at the pro shop, the proprietor will customize the ball and drill it to fit your fingers perfectly which is usually free of charge. You can buy a discounted bowling ball online, but then you'll have to pay for the drilling and shipping anyway. I prefer to purchase it in the pro shop because I like to ask him/her questions and he/she may ask you some questions to have an idea on your bowling style and the type of ball you throw, so the ball can be properly drilled to perform the way you want.
As I have mentioned in several of my previous blog posts, using the same ball week after week helps with CONSISTENCY which will definitely help improve your average!
If you're at the point where you are getting all the basics down pretty well and your average has improved in the last few years, you may notice that the ball isn't performing the way it did when it was new. Buying a new ball will help you get up to that next level and if you really like the ball, buy a second one immediately if you can afford it. I loved a Storm ball I had bought years ago but then they discontinued it and I was disappointed because I couldn't buy another one. So I just wanted to give you a heads up about that not to make the same mistake I did. I think the best bowling balls to buy are the "Reactive Resin" type with a Weight Block inside which helps the ball to hook, giving a lot more action at the pins.
The heaviest ball you can buy is 16 lbs. If you feel that your ball is too light, then switching to a heavier one can get through the pins better and also have less pin deflection. You won't leave the king pin (5 pin) as often which will result in more strikes!
Also, just having another ball in your bag to assist you on different lane conditions is another good reason to purchase a new ball. When I was a beginner, I only used one ball that hooked for both my strikes and spares. I missed a lot of 10 pins and then decided to get a plastic ball that just went straight. My average went up about 20-30 pins a game because I just used that ball for the 10 pin and was making a lot more of them. So if you have a plastic ball now, keep it in your bag for the occasional 10 pin leave. Or if you currently have a ball that has a small hook, you can purchase a new ball that hooks more and use it for the first game when the oil is heavier, and then when the oil begins to break down, switch over to the lesser hooking ball.
Let's say you've been in a slump and have had the same equipment for a long time, you may want to treat yourself to a new ball, bag and shoes which may give you the boost that you need right now for a fresh outlook that would help you get out of that slump and make look forward to the league and practice sessions again instead of dreading them.
Buying a new ball has always been exciting for me. I may not get one as often as I should (because they are pricey), but you should be purchasing one about every 2-3 years (depending on how often you bowl), but you can prolong the life of your ball too if money is an issue at the moment (check out my blog post from 4/4/22).
A new ball may be a little frustrating in the beginning but just be patient with yourself. Take enough time to practice on how to adjust for the strike and spare from where you were standing with your old ball. Mark things down in your notebook and remember to feel confident before using it in your league play.
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Join me back here next week when I'll be discussing different finger positions you can try out in your practice sessions.
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
There are many words or phrases that are used to describe something, and Bowling has a whole vocabulary or jargon of its own. I'm sure if you've been bowling awhile you've heard most of these, but if you are still fairly new to the game or just starting out, you may want to check these out:
Alleys-- This is the place where the bowling games take place. It can also be referred to as the Bowling Center or Bowling Lanes.
Anchor Man-- Person who bowls last on a team.
Baby Split-- Those splits where there is just enough space for the bowling ball to fit in between the pins to convert the pins. Baby splits are the 3-10, 2-7, 4-5, 5-6, 7-8, and the 9-10.
Brooklyn--A strike or hit made on the left side of the head pin (1-2 pocket) for a right handed bowler, or the right side of the head pin for the left handed bowler (1-3 pocket).
Bucket-- The bucket is that difficult spare with four pins together in a cluster, either the 3-5-6-9 or the
Channel--The left or right side recessed area on the lane. It is also referred to as The Gutter.
Clean Game-- When you have no open frames, or all strikes and spares.
Didn't want to hurt the pin--What you may hear someone say when they just barely make a single pin spare.
Double-- Two strikes in a row.
Double Pinochle-- When you have the 4-6-7-10 split.This split can also be referred to as "Grandmas Teeth".
Double Wood-- When you have a spare leave that has one pin directly behind the other. These are the 2-8 or 3-9 spare leaves.
Dutch 200--When someone starts with a strike, then gets a spare, then a strike, then a spare and alternates throughout the entire game with that pattern. Or the game can begin with a spare, then getting a strike, a spare, strike, and alternating that manner. A Dutch 200 equals a score of 200.
Grandmas teeth-- Any of the larger splits, examples are 4-6, 7-10, or 4-6-7-10.
High-- Means your ball came up too much on the headpin (farther left than the intended 1-3 pocket).
Jersey--If you're from the east coast and a right handed bowler, and your ball crossed over into the 1-2 pocket, you would say you got a "Jersey Strike" or hit on the "Jersey Side".
King Pin-- Is what a 5 pin is referred to because without it's help hitting into the other pins, it would be extremely difficult to get a strike.
Light Hit--A first ball that barely touches the 1 pin.
No Tap-- A variation of bowling where a 9 count is the same as getting a strike. Some places have NO Tap leagues and some Bowling Centers have No Tap tournaments.
On The Over-- Is when the ball crosses over into the 1-2 pocket for a right handed bowler and you get a strike, or on the 1-3 side for a lefty.
Pit--The area of the lane in back of the pin deck.
Pocket-- Where you need to get the ball in order to convert a strike. It is the 1-3 pocket for righty's and the 1-2 pocket for the lefty's.
Ride The Rail--Going for a 7 pin or 10 pin spare and the ball rides along the lane closest to the gutter all the way down without going into the gutter.
Robbed-- Getting what looks like a beautiful pocket hit but not getting the strike. Someone may say "Call a cop".
Running-- When the lanes are hooking nicely and the strikes are carrying.
Scotch Doubles-- A type of tournament when two people bowl a game together alternating turns.
Soft Lanes-- Are high scoring lanes.
Sleeper-- When there is a pin in back of another one that is hard to see as in a double wood spare.
Split--On your second ball when the head pin is missing but you have two or more pins to convert with spaces in between them.
A Solid 2, 8, 3, or 9 Pin--When you hit what looks like a strike but one of these pins is still standing.One could say "I got robbed".
Stiff-- What the lanes can be referred to when there's a lot of oil on them and your ball is not moving or hooking much.
String--When you have more than three consecutive strikes. You may also hear this referred to as a four bagger (four strikes in a row), five bagger (five strikes in a row), etc.up to a perfect game which is 12 consecutive strikes.
Three Amigos--I made up this one, which is leaving the 2-4-5 pin spare or the 3-5-6.
Tight Lanes-- When there's a lot of oil on the lane and your ball isn't hooking very much.
Track--The area or path on a lane that is most often used.
Triple or Turkey--Three consecutive strikes (three strikes in a row).
Wash Out-- A split with the head pin still up (1 pin). Examples are the 1-2-10 or the 1-3-7 spares.
I am sure there are several more that are used, but these are the most common you'll hear at the lanes, especially in league play. Try to learn them so you can get in the loop of using them and understanding what someone means when they are using them.
Join me back here next week when I'll be discussing "When is it time to replace my bowling ball"?
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.