Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bowling: How To Improve Your Game - Pt 1: Your Target

by Bruce Simmons
PBA member since 1995


This short informational tutorial is directed at mid to entry level bowlers who average up to around 150 or 160.

So you hit an all time high in your average but you feel stuck.  You just can't get past that damn average mark you seem to be stuck with?  What's up?  Well, let's break it down to a few components on what it takes to knock some pins down.

Bowling Ball
That's a given.  Right?  Do you have the bowling ball (gear) best suited for you?  Is it the latest and greatest on the market?  Don't you dare tell me it's a house ball!  Having the newest ball is not critical.  I've seen someone with tons of talent use 10 year old gear to dust the league in average.

Shoes
A decent pair of bowling shoes will last forever and really make a difference in the long run.  Good shoes are, well, good to have and last so much longer than the "affordable" ones.

Approach
Do you have a consistent approach?  Does it incorporate balance in the equation?  I've seen all kinds of different approaches in the PBA.  As long as it's consistent, you're fine.

Power
Are you generating sufficient power?  Power can help at the pocket, but usually when people try to generate power they think it means throwing the ball harder.  Nope.  Throwing harder pulls your shot off and makes for an inconsistent shot.  Power comes from a combination of factors.

Release
Does everything come out at the time it is supposed to come out?  A consistent release helps predictability, and can actually help in generating power, but not in the way you think it does.

Follow Through
Is your follow through consistent?  Yes, what you do after you let go of the ball can be beneficial to your game.

Reading The Lane Oil:
Are you playing the correct part of the lane?  Most days, proprietors want you to come back, so they set up pretty easy lane conditions.  Still, if you're playing the wrong area, that won't matter.

Hitting The Pocket:
Did your ball hit the pocket decently enough?  Getting to the pocket is important, but can you get there every time?

Spares:
Can you pick up those spares?  Spares are pretty important in this game.  Getting all spare games can get you in the 190 average range.  An occasional strike in those all spare games can push you over a 200 average, easy.

Hitting Your Target:  <-
Despite everything else, can you hit your target?  Do you approach it consistently?  Roll over it consistently?

If you can't hit your target every time, or most every time, then all of the other things above are completely moot.
That is the principal we need to think about today.  How do we hit the target consistently.  Once you master hitting your target, everything else can be developed off of that. 

Hitting your target comes from a decent approach, smooth release, decent follow through and believe it or not, some grace and balance on your part!

That's what I have for you today.  A principal.  Everything noted above comes together over the target.  If you can't hit your target, you won't be consistent in your spare game.  You won't have a shot at the intermittent of semi-common strike we all covet.

There is also luck in the game.  Of all my 300's, I can't say I've hit the target every time in each game, but being there on the target area definitely helps.  Being consistent helps, big time.

Next time around, I'll touch on just how to get to your target in a consistent fashion.

Thanks for coming by.  Feel free to leave questions or comments.

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce