Saturday, December 1, 2007

Learning to Bowl

I will no begin on a multi-part post on improving your bowling game.  I have only visions of what this multi-part post may look like.  Recently, I have found numerous strategies and points to help me in my bowling game.  For any serious bowler these will be basic tips, but for a beginner, essential advice.

Tip #1 - Shorten your approach
If you suffer from a lack of control or consistency on your throw, then a primary flaw could be the length of your approach.  With a length approach you have a lot more room for error.  More steps equals more time to think about what you are doing (a bad thing), more points to time throughout your swing, and most likely an increase in the total velocity.  For an inexperienced player these are all things that can throw a wrench into the gearbox.

1) Fewer steps
Giving yourself more time to think and make on-the-fly calculations and bowling do no really mix.  Considering that bowling is all about doing the same thing every time, limiting the distractions that you have around you is key.  Taking your approach down to a 4 step approach and starting from the second line is a good first step towards consistency.   It may feel strange standing further up in the lane out in front of everyone, but bowling was never really a sport based on style... just look at the shoes!

2) Timing
A simple one, two, three, four approach allows you to map out your arm swing to your leg movement easily.   Whereas a six or seven step approach can get you lots of speed and seem a little less awkward, what you need to go for is something that you can control first.  I have found that by going to a four step approach it is much easier to do the same thing every time.

3) Speed
With a four step approach you should also see the velocity on your throw drop.  In my case, I was having real troubles getting the ball to dig in and hook and the end of the lane.  Dropping my velocity obviously gives the ball more time to spin and come harder into the pocket.  I won't win any awards for looking like the pro bowlers on the score monitors before league, but I'll trade that for a nice angle into the pocket.  A drop in speed can also keep you from tiring out and keep you bowling consistently throughout all three games rather than fading as the night wears on.

In conclusion, the first step towards being a better bowler is to shorten your approach.  Less complicated mechanics, slower speeds and greater staying power are all positive results of this simple but useful tip.

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