As you know by now, every bowler that wants to improve NEEDS to go practicing at least once a week and should also be in a league that meets once a week. I know sometimes you can be too busy and can't always get to the lanes for a practice session, but if you are experiencing a slump, or are having problems with a few of the basics, or you want to get to that next level, you REALLY need to do your best to get that practice session in!
When I'm on my way to the lanes for practice, I think about the past week and how I did in my league play. If I had any specific issues, I will use a game or two in my practice games to work on that. If I did pretty well, then I will practice some of the basics that I have mentioned in several of my past blog posts. But I always try to have something specific in mind, otherwise I'll just be competing with the people bowling next to me, which is ok, but I don't really think you'll be improving on your own game.
Some of the things I like to do that you may want to include in your practice sessions are the following:
1. Learning Angles--
Stand on the 15th board as your starting point. Practice getting the ball out over the 1st or 2nd arrow to get a strike. After you get a strike, move to the left 5 boards with your feet and try getting another strike keeping the 2nd arrow as your target. Do it again and you will see how the ball deflects a bit more after it hits the pins. You may even leave a 5 pin because of the increased angle you are coming in at. To make up for the deflection, you will need to move to the right a few boards to carry the strike. Keep experimenting until you get a strike in the 1-3 pocket (move left for the 1-2 pocket if you are a left handed bowler). Now try moving to the left another 5 boards and see what happens. Since the angle is even larger, you might need to change your target to the 3rd arrow instead of using the 2nd arrow. Now try getting a strike by moving another 5 boards to the left until you are on the 35th board. Chances are that your target may have to be the 4th or the 5th arrow (counting from right to left for the righty's).
This practice exercise really helped me in learning angles and it showed that some angles are just too large and not effective without moving your target to the left as your feet move left. It's like doing a dance on the lane. Sometimes after moving left, the carry down oil changes the lane and you'll need to move back to the right side of the approach again.
2. Feeling the weight of the ball on the inside knuckles--
As I am holding the ball on the approach, I like to feel the weight of it on the inside knuckles of my pointer and middle fingers. Then on the release, I turn my hand and use my pointer finger like a gun and aim it right at my target. Make sure to fix your eyes on the target and don't look at the pins until the ball passes it to make sure you did in fact get it over your mark!
3. Sometimes when I'm getting splits, I realize that my bowling elbow is going out to the side for some reason. Practice making sure your arm and elbow stay close to the body throughout the pendulum swing, and that your elbow finishes up close to the head after the lift and release.
4. Practicing good rhythm is very important. I like to count my steps as I walk making sure I count the same each time and not too fast or slow. If your timing is off, it can throw off your whole game!
5. ALWAYS practice getting a good first ball! If you get it over your mark every time and your release is good, you should always have a strike or at least a 9 count which means you will get the best pin count on a spare and you'll have an easy spare to convert if you don't get a strike, which will add up to a great score!
6. Practice FINISHING IN A MORE UPRIGHT POSITION--
Getting a little more bend in the knee makes it easier on the back and it actually helps to be more steady at the foul line after the ball has been released. It also keeps your shoulders more square to the foul line and helps the ball to finish up stronger on the back end.
Don't forget to bring your notebook and write things down so you can review practice sessions from time to time. Remember to be patient with yourself and only learn a few things at a time. As you know by now, Consistency is key!! You're there to practice so don't worry about people around you and especially don't worry about your score!!
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Join me again in TWO WEEKS when I'll be discussing some of the terms used in Bowling! Have a fun and safe Labor Day week end everyone! 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.