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How to Bowl Strikes Winning Tips, Techniques, Tools and Strategies

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Copyright Š 2004 Internet Information Services Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or by information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing by from the publisher. Published by Internet Information Services PO Box 35-082 Christchurch 8030 New Zealand


Table of Contents Foreword ............................................................................................................................. 5 The Game.................................................................................................................... 6 Bowling … Through the Ages............................................................................................ 8 The Lane Layout ............................................................................................................... 11 Lane Dimensions .......................................................................................................... 12 Dots ............................................................................................................................... 12 Oil Coverage ................................................................................................................. 13 What is a ball track?.................................................................................................. 14 Boards ........................................................................................................................... 14 Arrows........................................................................................................................... 15 Stance................................................................................................................................ 16 Ball Position.................................................................................................................. 16 Textbook ball position: ............................................................................................. 16 Variations.................................................................................................................. 17 Distance from Foul Line ........................................................................................... 18 How to Simulate a Good Delivery? .......................................................................... 18 The Step Approach ................................................................................................... 19 The Four Step Approach........................................................................................... 20 The Armswing .................................................................................................................. 25 The Arm Swing............................................................................................................. 25 Free Armswing.......................................................................................................... 26 Semi-controlled Armswing....................................................................................... 27 Controlled Armswing................................................................................................ 28 Faulty armswing........................................................................................................ 29 Starting from close to the body................................................................................. 29 The Pushaway ............................................................................................................... 30 Timing........................................................................................................................... 31 The Ideal Push Away and Timing ............................................................................ 31 Faulty Pushaway ....................................................................................................... 32 The Hand Position......................................................................................................... 33 And now… Putting it all together……..................................................................... 34 Approach and Footwork ................................................................................................... 35 The Approach................................................................................................................ 36 1. The number of steps taken .................................................................................... 36 2. The length of steps ................................................................................................ 37 3. Knee bend ............................................................................................................. 38 4. Power step............................................................................................................. 38 5. Slide ...................................................................................................................... 38 The footwork................................................................................................................. 40 Position of the Ball in Relation to Each Step............................................................ 40 Ball positions ............................................................................................................ 41 The Release....................................................................................................................... 42 A “Good” Release......................................................................................................... 42 To Release the Straight Ball ......................................................................................... 44 -2© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


To Release the Hooked Ball ......................................................................................... 44 Follow Through ............................................................................................................ 45 Follow Through – Superstar Style ............................................................................ 46 Common Errors......................................................................................................... 47 Proper Release Point ..................................................................................................... 48 How do you master the proper release point?........................................................... 49 Straight ball or hook - what to choose? ........................................................................... 51 Straight Bowling – How it is done................................................................................ 51 Straight Ball Delivery ............................................................................................... 51 What Happens Afterwards….................................................................................... 52 Advantages of Straight Bowling ….......................................................................... 52 Limitations of Straight Bowling… ........................................................................... 52 Hook Bowling............................................................................................................... 53 Hook Bowling – How it’s Done ............................................................................... 53 Hook Ball Delivery ................................................................................................... 53 What Happens Afterwards….................................................................................... 54 Advantages of Hook Bowling ….............................................................................. 54 The Challenges of Hook Bowling …........................................................................ 55 Which is Better? Straight or Hooked Delivery? ........................................................... 55 Strike Targeting ................................................................................................................ 56 Target Line Bowling ..................................................................................................... 56 Importance of strike targeting................................................................................... 56 Targeting aids - dots and arrows ................................................................................... 57 Placement Distance....................................................................................................... 57 Choosing the line ...................................................................................................... 57 Target Line................................................................................................................ 58 Approach line for strike targeting ............................................................................. 59 Focus ......................................................................................................................... 60 Evaluation: How good was your target line bowling?.............................................. 60 Analysis: ................................................................................................................... 60 Shooting Spares and Splits................................................................................................ 62 Spare system basics................................................................................................... 62 9.1 The 3-6-9 Spare Shooting System .......................................................................... 64 9.2 For Left Handers: the 2-4-6 Spare Shooting System .............................................. 66 Spare Targeting and the Plastic Ball......................................................................... 66 9.3 When Spares Remain............................................................................................. 67 What are Sleeper Pins? ............................................................................................. 67 Hook-Bowling in Detail.................................................................................................... 70 The Tilted Axis Delivery .......................................................................................... 70 The Lane Surface .......................................................................................................... 71 Adjustments for Dry/Oily Lanes................................................................................... 72 Lane Assessment........................................................................................................... 72 High-Score Lanes...................................................................................................... 74 HookingTechnique – How Much to Hook?.................................................................. 75 Short hooks/Wide hooks ........................................................................................... 75 Power players............................................................................................................ 75 -3© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Strokers ..................................................................................................................... 77 Choosing Your Equipment ............................................................................................... 79 Ball material.................................................................................................................. 79 Plastic........................................................................................................................ 80 Urethane.................................................................................................................... 80 Reactive Resin .......................................................................................................... 80 Particle ...................................................................................................................... 81 More About the Coverstock.......................................................................................... 82 Hard or Soft Material? .............................................................................................. 82 The Thumb Finger Weight........................................................................................ 83 The Side Weight ....................................................................................................... 83 The House Ball ............................................................................................................. 84 Ball Dimensions............................................................................................................ 84 Choosing House Shoes ................................................................................................. 86 How To Buy a Used Bowling Ball ............................................................................... 87 Selecting a Customized Ball ......................................................................................... 87 The best choice for you would be … ............................................................................ 88 Scoring .............................................................................................................................. 91 The game of bowling .................................................................................................... 91 Scoring of the game ...................................................................................................... 91 How are the Scores Credited?................................................................................... 92 What do the Symbols on the Scoreboard Stand For? ............................................... 92 Counting the Score for Strikes.................................................................................. 92 Strikes and Spares in the Last Frame........................................................................ 93 What are splits?......................................................................................................... 93 What is an Average Score? ....................................................................................... 93 What is a Handicap? ................................................................................................. 93 What Constitutes a Legal Delivery? ......................................................................... 93 What is a Foul? ......................................................................................................... 94 What is a Deliberate Foul?........................................................................................ 94 What is Apparent Foul? ............................................................................................ 95 What is a Dead Ball?................................................................................................. 95 What is Forfeit?......................................................................................................... 95 The Approach............................................................................................................ 95 The Mental Game ............................................................................................................. 97 Management of Stress................................................................................................... 97 Positive Self-Talk.......................................................................................................... 98 Mental Imagery............................................................................................................. 98 Concentration................................................................................................................ 98 Self-Confidence ............................................................................................................ 99 The Mental Approach ................................................................................................... 99 How the Pro’s Manage................................................................................................ 100 Setting Goals............................................................................................................... 101 Frequently Asked Questions ........................................................................................... 103

-4© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Foreword Did you know that bowling is the largest organized sport in the world? You have a simple aim when you bowl. Try to knock down the maximum number of targets with a ball, which rolls down a wooden path.

Bowling is called a co-acting, non-contact sport: ¾ Co-acting because it is an individual-oriented game like golf ¾ Non-contact because you do not have a physical confrontation with your rivals, or their sporting equipment. The pure concentration needed for the game, fluid execution of a shot, and the desire to notch up high scores … all these qualities integrate to etch out a unique eminence for bowling and an irresistible keenness in all lovers of the sport to excel in it. Like in any other sport, bowling enthusiasts strive to attain perfection. They: • • • •

analyze the physics of each shot improvise to hit targets more effectively accord a high priority to physical fitness believe that “Practice makes perfect”

-5© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Perfect Bowling is a natural consequence of the aspects mentioned, and this book will tell you how to go about mastering the game. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, this report will reveal many secrets to help you take your game to the next level.

The Game There are 10 skittle targets called “pins” placed 60 feet away from you across a wooden pathway. You have to target these pins and strike a shot to topple all of them. You get to play 10 rounds - called “frames” - and you can have no more than two balls to play in every frame. The number of pins knocked down adds to your score. (If you knock down all the pins in one shot it is a “strike” for which you get points and a bonus.) The game then passes to the second player. Alongside the path, on either side are narrow gutters, which make the game more difficult. When the ball enters the “gutter” no target can be hit, and no score is made. The ten pins are set automatically by a machine into a triangle, and are numbered by convention as follows:

7

8 4

9 5

2

10 6

3 1

When the pins are arranged so, the ball cannot singly come into contact with each pin … hence the necessity of a tactical shot to topple the pins. The shot should trigger off a chain reaction, which can strike all targets. To master this shot is the aim of every bowler … and to help you achieve this aim is the reason for this report.

-6© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


This report will help you: 9 acquire a good understanding of the game and how you play it 9 decide what kind of a bowler you are going to be. You may be a •

“cranker” - a bowler who puts in a lot of energy to lift and turn the ball. The player affords a high revolution rate for the ball (more than 17)

“stroker” – a bowler with a smooth, perfect approach and usually bowls ‘text book style’ (low revolution rate – up to 11 revolutions)

“tweener” – bowls like a stroker, but the ball acquires more revolutions (between 11 and 17)

9 develop a good eye to observe the nuances of your shot 9 interpret your shots and help you improve them So … welcome to the world of bowling, a sport you will excel in as you enjoy it. ********** -7© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter One

Bowling … Through the Ages The “crash of nine pins” awakened Rip Van Winkle from his long sleep. This is the earliest reference to bowling in American literature. However, the origin of bowling can be traced back to several thousand years B.C. According to British anthropologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, a seven thousand year tomb of an Egyptian child revealed a stone ball and 9 conical pieces of stone. She probably loved bowling! Rome and Greece were fond of bowling too: as far back as 4000 years ago, as evidence reveals. In the Italian Alps, 2000 years ago there was some form of bowling when players threw stone objects to topple other stone objects Bruce Pluckhahn, bowling historian, in the Encyclopedia of Sports, notes that the earliest use of bowling pins - like the ones we use today - was in Germany. Bowling was a form of religious ritual. The strange rite - around 300 AD - comprised of the parishioner placing his “kegel” (a stone implement Germans used to carry for self protection and sports, at one end of a runway. A person had to target the kegel with a stone ball. Successful toppling of the kegel implied that the bowler had been cleansed of sin! Bowling rose to eminence in England in the 14th century when King Edward III outlawed the game. The reason: his soldiers were neglecting archery practice to play or lay bets for bowling! Such was the popularity of the sport. During the reign of Henry VIII the game was quite in vogue. By this time, there existed a few other variations of the game where a ball was thrown at objects, which did or did not resemble pins. Among them, the strangest of all was played in Edinburgh. The bowler swings an ordinary ball (without drilled holes for grip) between his legs and hurls it towards the pins. The momentum of the action makes him flop down onto the lane on his stomach! Some of the games related to bowling are • • •

Petanque of France Lawn Bowling in Britain Bocce of Italy -8© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The styles and variations of the game were duly imported to the New World by the Dutch, English, German and French settlers. The first permanent location for bowling was the Bowling Green in New York. The small plot now in the centre of New York’s financial district is still remembered by that name. Betting on the game rose to fever pitch in the mid 19th century, when an 1841 Connecticut law decreed it illegal to maintain “any ninepin lanes”. This was a setback, but the popularity of the game was in no way diminished, and it began to entrance more and more people. Industrialists soon started installing bowling lanes in their mansions. Towards the end of the 19th century many states reverted to 10-pin bowling. However, the ball, its weight, the size of the pin and so many other factors were at variance across the bowling community. Thanks to Joe Thum, a restauranteur of New York, various representatives of bowling clubs all over America were brought together, and on September 9 1895 the American Bowling Congress was established. Soon after the ABC came into existence, standardization of the game was initiated, and nationally organized competitions began. Two decades later in 1917, the Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) was founded in St Louis. At one of their tournaments, the women participants decided to form the Women’s National Bowling Association. With the popularity and nationalization came the advent of technology. The early bowling balls were made of a very hard wood called lignum vitae. “Evertrue” was the first rubber ball introduced in 1905. In 1914, the Brunswick Corporation promoted the Mineralite ball with great success. Another remarkable change in the game was brought about by a company which manufactured machinery for tobacco, bakery and dress making companies. The American Machine and Foundry Company (AMC), as it was called, bought the patents for the automatic pinspotter. Invented by Gottfried Schmidt, the first model was made in 1952. The pin boys now had to look elsewhere for employment. Television fell under the spell of bowling in the 1950’s when nationally organized competitions were telecast. The “Championship Bowling” telecast by NBC was the first coverage by a television network of the sport. ABC was the first network, in 1961, to telecast the competition of the Pro Bowlers Association. Eddie Elias - the founder of PBA - was instrumental in making the PBA telecast, the highlight of ABC’s sports programs. Soon followed the telecast of the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour, now renamed as Professional Women’s Bowling Association. -9© 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Coverage of the sport increased hugely with popular shows like “Celebrity Bowling”, “Make that Spare” and “Bowling for Dollars”. Now, half a century later, close to a 100 million people in more than 90 countries go bowling. The Federation Nationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) brings together top bowlers, from all over the world, to participate in Olympic Zone and other international challenges and competitions. Played, watched and enjoyed by millions, bowling is a sport for all ages. The following chapters will tell you what you should know about bowling … and most importantly, what you should do to bowl really well. Let’s get started …

**********

- 10 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter Two

The Lane Layout

- 11 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Lane Dimensions The bowling center has an even number of lanes. Each lane is 60 feet long from the foul line to the head pin. The lane is 42 inches wide and is made of exactly 39 wood boards. On each side of the lane is a nine-inch wide channel called the “gutter”. The bowler begins the delivery on an area called the “approach”, making sure to stop before the line at known as the “foul line”. The player begins to bowl from the approach. This is the area where the wood starts – from the settee area to the foul line. At any one time, only one person can bowl.

Dots There are three sets of seven dots on the approach, called the “locator dots” (also known as “dowels”). • • •

the first set is located 15 feet before from the foul line. the second set is 12 feet before the third set is approximately 3 inches before the foul line.

The center dot of each set is larger than the rest. •

The first two sets of dots help you decide where to stand on the approach – “the set up location”.

The third set will help you (or a friend/coach) observe where your ball touches down on the lane- “the touchdown point”. The dots help you gain accuracy in your steps to strike target.

The area where the pins stand is called the “pocket”. The pins in a rack are arranged in a pit, in the form of a triangle. Each pin is 15 inches tall. The weight of each pin varies from one bowling center to another, and is between 3lbs 6 ounces and 3lbs 10 ounces. The pins have numbers 1 to 10, 1 being the “head pin”. The understanding of the dimensions of the bowling lane is a significant factor, as it helps you strike more accurately at the targets and convert the spare pins to good scores.

- 12 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


*****

Oil Coverage If your bowling ball weighs 12 pounds, it is going to create a force of 1500 pounds per square inch when it hits the floor. That is quite a hit! To protect the boards of the lane and to reduce friction and provide better tracking for the ball, the boards are conditioned with oil. The American Bowling Congress (ABC) has ruled that no sanctioned event of bowling can have less than 3 units of oil across the width of the lane. The FIQ rules that a minimum of 5 units of oil must be applied across the boards. The oil used: During the very early years when bowling became a popular sport, “Shellac” was the oil used, which was applied uniformly along the full length of the lane. Post World War II saw the advent of lacquer oil; this too was applied full length of the lane. By the 1960’s, a urethane-based conditioner was used over the entire length of the lane. However, the ball picked up the “oil” and took it right up to the automatic pinsetting machine. The machine subsequently developed problems. The “limited dressing” tactic was then resorted to, which allowed the final few feet of the lane (the “back end”) to be free of oil The back end - when free of oil - creates friction between the lane surface and the ball. This allows for a bigger angle of entry of the ball into the pocket to carry a strike. Oil, usually mineral oil, can be applied in different amounts and in different patterns. •

Equal oil: This is the simplest pattern when oil is applied uniformly and in equal measure across the boards. Oil is applied evenly across the entire lane, from the foul line to the back end. This is a difficult playing condition as there is no margin for the error of inaccurate shots.

Heavy Blend: Here too, oil is applied across the lane. But there is a heavier concentration of oil in the middle. This is a difficult playing condition, but favorable for well-executed shots.

Sport Bowling: The condition approved by the ABC is a 2:1 blend from gutter to middle of the lane. When this standard is adhered to the oil pattern is called suitable for “sport bowling”. This lane makes it difficult to attain high scores. - 13 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Puddle: Very heavy oil when applied in the center of the lane is addressed as a puddle.

Block: Dry outer boards and a well oiled middle portion creates a distinct oil line. This condition is congenial to produce high scores though it disguises bad shots.

Reverse Block: After consistent playing, the movement of the ball distributes the “lane dressing” (oil) in such a manner that the boards at the center have little or no oil and are dry while the outer boards or edges of the lane get deposited with a heavy coat of oil. This condition usually develops after many games on a flat oil surface.

Oil is not visible to the player. He has to fine tune his style, movement and stance to adjust to the lane he is playing in. The oil pattern, when he figures it out, will determine his angle of bowling, speed, release of the ball and the equipment he uses.

What is a ball track? Repeated games create an oil pattern on the lane. Earlier lanes had a soft finish and the ball would actually wear down the finishing of the boards. This is called the ball track. It created a different surface for the ball to roll and it got easier to strike the targets. Some of the ill maintained lanes of today may exhibit a ball track. ******

Boards There are 39 boards, as already mentioned, covering the width of the bowling lane. They primarily help the bowler plan his shot and execute it accurately. For instance, he can aim for a specific target by “playing the 12th board”. This means the bowler will target the 12th board from the gutter to strike the target. On the approach at the 15’ and 12’ dots, the largest dot is always on the 20th board (middle board). The other dots on either side are 5 boards apart from the next consecutive one. The dots are placed on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, and 35th boards. These dots are lined up with the arrows on the lane. The arrows too are placed on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 25th, 30th and 35th boards. With practice you will learn the movement of the ball and hence the precise board you will target to achieve maximum accuracy, whether to make a strike or to convert spares. - 14 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Arrows Dots and arrows are the visual aids that help enormously for proper alignment of good strikes. There is a set of seven arrows between the 15th and 17th feet of the lane from the foul line. They are at the end of the first quarter length of the lane, at what is called the “splice”. Up to this length the lane is usually of hard maple, while the main portion of the lane is made of softer pinewood. There is also a set of 10 dots, which is placed 6 feet from the foul line. Both are positioned on numbered boards. The arrows are aligned with the approach dots. The middle arrow is on the middle board (20th), while the other six are 5 boards away from the next one on either side of the middle arrow. So the arrows are on boards 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35. The space between two consecutive arrows measures 5 inches.

Thus, if you draw a straight line from the middle dot of the approach to the pocket, it will pass through the middle arrow, the middle of the headpin (Pin 1), and the middle of Pin 5 (the pin directly behind pin 1). Note: The approach dots and the lane arrows are in directly alignment with the center of the pins, but the lane dots are not aligned in this manner. Most players look at the dots and arrows - not the pins - to align their shots. If you want to bowl straight you will focus on the middle arrow, while if you want the ball to take a curved path you will target arrows to the left or the right. Left-handers aim at the arrow on the opposite side of the middle arrow, as compared to the right-handers to execute a curved delivery. Now that the lane has been described in detail, let’s go bowling. The next chapter will discuss the right stance you have to take, for a good strike.

- 15 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 3

Stance Ball Position There are many ways the ball can be positioned, but just one “correct” way. There are quite a handful of players, who have achieved great status in bowling following an unorthodox style. However as a rule it is best to follow the textbook fashion of bowling so that you begin to build your practice and strive towards consistent accuracy.

Textbook ball position: To pick up the ball The body weight matters when you choose the ball. Ideally, a ball approximately 1/10th your body weight is considered most suitable. If you weigh 120 lbs, pick up a 12lb ball. First, put in your middle and ring fingers into the 2 adjacent holes, up to the second knuckle. Then put the thumb in the singly placed remaining hole. The thumb goes in fully into the drilled hole. The fingers and thumb should have all round contact with the hole, but should not be in a tight fit. To hold the ball: 9 Keep the elbows close to the hips. 9 Clasp the ball gently, from below, with right palm, thumb and the middle and ring fingers into the holes. The thumb should point upward 9 Support this hold with your left hand 9 The ball should be held waist high, slightly to the right from the centre of the body for right-handers. 9 The circled backswing is the movement of taking the ball right behind you and bringing it back for the push away. This requires a realignment of feet and position. This is not a stance for beginners and is best avoided. 9 Completely relax all muscles 9 Give a small upward thrust 9 Release the ball gently, allowing gravity to work on the ball’s weight to begin the back swing 9 Be comfortable - 16 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


9 Be ready for an easy undeterred push away (Push away is the movement of the starting foot and ball simultaneously which commences the bowling action) 9 See that the position you assume allows you a downswing in perfect line with your body. Both men and women have found great success, by adhering to this style of start up. (Kim Adler, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Lisa Wagner and Wendy Macpherson, four top players, prefer the right of center position, for holding the ball.)

Variations Being comfortable and relaxed is very important if you want to be consistently accurate. Find the best position, which aids you to literally “put your best foot forward” for a perfect arm swing and a good hit. Here are a few great bowlers who prefer unusual start positions. •

Mike Aulby holds the ball high above his head for the initial stance. He then brings it down waist high & then executes a smooth push away

Bob Learn crouches low and uses muscle power for the arm swing.

Roger Bowker begins his stance with the arm extended completely to the side. The back and for swings are therefore executed with muscle power

Marshall Hollman has knees slightly flexed. He bends to bring his hands knee high, and then begins the back swing

Peter Weber holds the ball chest high and then within an extreme tilt creates a high back swing before the push away

All these, as mentioned earlier, are exceptions, and not to be adopted by a beginner. The ideal position is the textbook position for holding the ball. It is an excellent initial stance and helps you become a consistent high scorer. *****

- 17 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Starting Position Distance from Foul Line Always have the advantage of knowing where you are standing to bowl, and why you are specifically there. Your game plan must be coordinated by various deciding factors. Of them, one of the most important is the starting position. Think of positions as coordinates on a map, always the same, and easy to locate. The quality of the delivery greatly depends on the keen appreciation of the various factors, which contribute to the speed and length of throw. Knowing the specific position to start from keeps your footwork in rhythm with the swing. •

If you stand too far back, you may take long steps and so your swing may come sooner than expected

If you stand too close you may have to cut down your usual number of steps. This will have a detrimental effect on the lift of the ball and overall accuracy

Frequent exercises in bowling will tell which the best stride is for you, and you may fix the starting position, as described below. Here’s how to determine your approach length to know how far behind from the foul line you should begin: • • •

Do not pace off like you would measure strides usually, as this may bring you too close to the foul line. With your back to the pins place your heels 2 inches away from the foul line. Simulate a bowling action

How to Simulate a Good Delivery? 9 The path traced by the ball is the “target line”. The circle made by swinging the ball before delivery must be aligned to the target line. 9 The center of gravity of your body is the “center line plane”. It traces an imaginary line, while walking towards the foul line. This is the approach line 9 Try to keep your approach line parallel to the target line. It means that you must walk parallel to the line of swing. - 18 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


9 9 9 9 9

Make use of the dots and arrows to predict the direction the ball will move. Line your bowling shoulder and the ball to the target line Now square your shoulders 90 degrees to target line Push the ball towards the target and walk towards the target. Imagine you have the ball in your hand and simulate the delivery as explained above - - walking steps, the knee bend and the slide (slide is the final stage of the bowlers approach. The bowlers foot slides towards the foul line as the ball is delivered onto the lane) 9 Look down and see where the toe of your sliding foot has paused. This is where the backs of your heels should be positioned, when you start bowling.

This method of measuring your stride will automatically locate the best starting point, in relation to your physique and style of throw. Once you fix this position, you may bowl consistently from there, making minute changes whenever the need arises. When you noted the distance from the foul line, you simulated a bowling action. How many steps did you take? Is there any specific number of steps recommended for ideal bowling? What is the most popular step approach?

The Step Approach As you must have guessed, there is no set method for the step approach. Some champions performed best with three steps. Swede Carlson and Lee Jouglard, two of the greatest bowlers, were comfortable with a three step approach. Some believe that the four step approach was the key to their success, while some shuffle their way to remarkable and record breaking scores. This book, however, will tell you about the approach which has the maximum probability of assuring a good strike. The three step approach is not recommended for a beginner as it requires rapid tempo and a complicated rhythm to achieve the ideal timing. The five, six and seven step approaches are there too, but in all of them the last four steps will be critically important for ensuring a good strike. Most coaches will advise you to adopt the heel to toe method. This will help in maintaining the flow and rhythm of the movement, and does not hinder your free arm swing.

- 19 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The Four Step Approach According to Bill Taylor, bowling scholar, the essence of the 4-step approach is Push the ball Let it fall Point to the wall Walk tall The four-step approach is the simplest, surest way to start your journey towards becoming a successful bowler. It is also the easiest approach to analyze and correct yourself, if need be. It is that kind of a compactly packaged delivery, in which every step is accompanied by a rhythmic and coordinated upper body movement. To determine the starting position for the four step approach: Stand at the centre dot with your back to the lane, heels on the dots nearby the foul line. Take four and a half steps, and mark the point where your toe makes contact with the floor. Now turn towards the pins and get set for bowling. Why the half step? The half step is taken to accommodate the slide you will execute for an accurate release of the ball. Set Up 9 9 9 9

Stand with both feet in line, about 4 inches apart Stand upright, knees without a bend, but not touching each other either Do not lean forward or slouch Allow your left hand which supports the ball to bear the majority of the ball’s weight

First Step 9 Move the foot on the same side of your bowling arm (swingside foot) 9 At the same instant push the ball (the pushaway) straight ahead, not down. 9 Do this with the non-bowling hand, to eliminate muscle tension of your bowling hand. It also ensures that you maintain a free swing. 9 Imagine there is a table in front of you. Place the ball on the imaginary table at the same height you held it in the set up position 9 When the ball you push reaches the extent of stretch of both arms, the heel of the swingside foot must touch the approach. - 20 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Second Step 9 Let your arms fall freely, taking the ball into a swing like a pendulum (pendulum swing) 9 The downward movement of the ball is by its own weight, not due to a musclepowered push of your arms. 9 Do not try to watch the movement of the ball; it will make you turn your head, and you need to keep your body upright 9 To keep your shoulders squared – o Extend non-bowling balance arm out to the side for balance to a position out and down and back, perpendicular to the plane of swing o This arm should be even with the body and positioned like the wing of an airplane 9 Try and maintain the ball approximately 6 to 8 inches behind the lowest plane of downswing 9 It should be at the same speed as the downswing 9 The slide heel, should now come in contact with the approach 9 Simultaneously the ball should be at the lowest point of the backswing 9 Get ready to bend your swingside knee for the third step Third Step or the Power Step The third step is the most important step of the four step approach. In this step you will have to simulate a sitting position to acquire a knee bend. This step precedes the slide. In the second step you begin bending the knee; in the third step continue downward, to a near sitting position This step precedes the last slide step, and is very important to help you execute a flawless delivery. This is the step which will achieve the momentum for the ball and enable your hand delivers it with the right amount of force This step also propels you into a position in which you will wait for the ball; in this way you will successfully avoid a premature swing which releases the ball, further beyond the slide step In this step it is also essential for you to maintain a balanced stance, which will help you avoid • • • •

Pulling the ball Releasing the ball from a high position Falling off the shot Rearing up - 21 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Do not tilt your body to attain the third step position; the shoulders never extending beyond the knee Now let the ball move to the highest position where it came to with the backswing Do not use muscle power (of the upper arms) to hoist it, again it is gravity which will suffice to make the move Here’s what happens if you hoist the ball with force • • •

Your body twists out of its upright position Your bowling shoulder loses alignment The movement of the ball is after the foot work, not simultaneous

Now the swingside heel should make contact with the approach Get ready to deliver the ball from the lowest position possible as it lessens the chance of hooking earlier than necessary. Hook is a style of bowling in which the player imparts a force to the ball during release, in such a way that the ball has a larger angle of entry into the pocket. A successful hook affords more strikes than a straight ball, is effective in avoiding over reaction, and reduces the chances of faulty direction. Fourth Step The ball now descends with gravitational force, and the last step is a slow one on the sliding sole (sole of the sliding heel) 9 Ensure that your sliding step is in the same line as the power step 9 It must move under the right shoulder and successfully fill the void left after the power step 9 You have to slide with the toe of the swingside foot pointed at the target 9 If you slide with your heel outside of the toe, it will propel the body to create a side armswing and a faulty throw 9 The slide comes before the ball to the foul line 9 Keep the upper torso as upright as possible 9 In the third step, your hand remains under the ball and keeps it slightly behind the swingside ankle 9 When the ball is still behind the ankle stop sliding your foot 9 While you apply the brake on your foot you will gain time to release your thumb from the hole of the ball - 22 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


9 To achieve a strong release and a perfect follow through the thumb must come out of the ball exactly at the point of time when the slide is completed 9 When you remove the thumb, the weight of the ball shifts to your fingers 9 Now the ball is ready to be released from the best possible leverage form 9 Watch the target. Lift the ball with your fingers, while maintaining balance with your sliding foot, and remain so until the ball hits the pins. Keep you shoulder, knee and foot in the same straight line. 9 Now the fingers take over, they follow the swing and propel the ball onto the lane 9 The fingers should thrust outward, and execute a quarter turn in the counter clockwise direction, right into the lane. 9 Release the ball and drive the ball into the lane. Do not lift and push it onto the lane. Make the release low.

Follow Through This is the continuation of the armswing, towards the target, as the ball gets released from your fingers. If you have released the ball in a fitting manner, your arm will straighten at the elbow and rise up to the side of your head. The fourth step, or the step after the power step determines whether you will bowl with accuracy, or whether it will be a weak shot. An efficient plan and a good stance helps you align accurately with the target. Consistent practice, by following the steps correctly, ensures better and better scores. Great bowling is the result of a planned and well executed approach ***** Alignment of feet and shoulders A proper alignment is parallel to the target line. You will walk parallel to the swing to execute a flawless delivery. The shoulders and the body must be square to the target, never mind the angle by which you plan to release the ball. If you want to aim at the third arrow for instance, your shoulder must be aligned to the 15th board. If the bowler wants to attempt a deep angle, and lays down the ball at the 30th board, and the ball curves to the 15th board by the time it reached break point, then the shoulder must be aligned to that position. If you attempt these maneuvers with your shoulder square to the foul line, the chances of a good strike are lessened. Always imagine a straight line from the target to the breakpoint for good accuracy. - 23 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


******* This then is the way you begin bowling‌ A thorough knowledge of the lane you bowl in, a perfect stance, and a well planned ball release combine to bring out a synchronized and smooth execution of accurate strikes over and over again. The next chapter details the techniques of armswing, timing and hand position, related to successful bowling.

- 24 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 4

The Armswing Bowling presents a fascinating array of strategies to be mastered for the enthusiastic beginner. A systematic and detailed approach to every movement and technique involved will help you improve your game just as much as you enjoy it. This chapter will highlight the importance of the swing of your arm while bowling. The way your arm moves when you make a shot is the armswing. A set of movements in combination makes up the arm swing.

The Arm Swing •

The first movement in the arm swing is called the “push away”. It pushes the ball away from the body to begin the swing of the ball

Once the push away is done, keep the arm straight to begin the pendulum swing, which will take the ball behind your body.

When the ball starts its backward movement it is called the backswing.

Once the backswing reaches its extent and the ball begins the forward movement it is called the swing.

In the final step of bowling the ball is released and your arm continues to move in the upward direction. This movement is called the follow through.

For bowling straight the arm swing is easy. The hand maintains the same position throughout the swing For the hooked ball, you need to change the hand position in the following manner The thumb in the ball will change from the 12 o clock position to the 9 o clock position, just when you are about to release the ball This 90 degree rotation will help generate the curved angle delivery or the hook - 25 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Basically, there are three kinds of arm swings:

Free Armswing Consider the top of your shoulder as the top of the pendulum and your arm as the body of the pendulum. Just as the pendulum swings to a length on the left, it reverses to trace the same length on the right. An identical harmonic motion is simulated by your shoulder and arm in the free arm swing. Gravity, centrifugal force, the height of the backswing and the descent of the final forward swing and, of course the weight of the ball remain a constant. Consequently, you will maintain a consistent bowling action with a well executed free swing. With a few exceptions, a majority of the most successful bowlers have achieved their place in the hall of fame with a consistent relaxed and free flowing execution of perfect shots. And what could be more ideal than a free arm swing for a delivery which has neither stress nor constraints of muscled movements? Parker Bohn III, Dave Husted and Brian Voss are some of the great players who advocate free arm swing. To place the ball in the push away you need a soft muscular application, which results in a quality shot. Place the ball into motion in a slight upward direction, relax your muscles and let gravity do the rest. It is good to allow the weight of the ball to determine the extent of the swing. This is possible only if the armswing is free of muscle tension. Did you know that holding the ball waist-high prevents tendonitis? Free arm swing is the best-recommended movement for bowlers and holding the ball waist length is ideal for the swing. Another important fact is that if you allow your non bowling arm to take most of the weight of the ball in the beginning of your stance, your bowling hand, fore arm and bicep muscles are less strained. Totally relaxing the bowling arm in this manner, you will be able to execute a flawless free arm swing.

- 26 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


John Jowdy (a PBA hall of fame member, a great bowler and a coach to many great bowlers of the country) has developed the Over and Under Drill, to perfect the maneuver of a free armswing. It works like this‌. 9 Think of two imaginary bars 9 One is at the starting, and the other at release points 9 Place the first imaginary bar 4 to 6 inches above the starting ball position 9 Push the ball over this bar and disengage fore arm muscles 9 Gravity will move the ball to its next position of descent and swing 9 Imagine the imaginary bar at release point about 12 inches above the foul line 9 Release the ball just under it The drill aims to familiarize you with the tactic of shifting the weight of the ball from the shoulder to the arm, which is the main aspect of a free swing. Superstar David Ozio mastered the art of free arm swing with this drill.

Semi-controlled Armswing Though the free arm swing is best recommended for beginners, it is worthwhile knowing the other variations of the armswing. The semi-controlled swing is executed with minimum muscle application. It is a movement that is begun downwards or slightly upward, controlled by the forearm muscles. Again a slight use of the muscles pulls the ball into the backswing. Most bowlers who adopt the semi-controlled method take up their stance in a lower or crouched position Beyond this point, all muscles are relaxed and disengaged, and the ball moves due to gravity and its own weight. There are a number of bowlers who have achieved remarkable success while adopting the semi-controlled movement, Earl Anthony and Don Carter being two of them. However, as a learner of the game, it is preferable you adopt the free arm swing strategy as it can be well coordinated into the second step of the five step approach or the first step of the four step approach. - 27 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Controlled Armswing This strategy calls for good muscle control and the strong use of them. Few players have achieved success with the controlled swing. Mike Miller and Jim Godman are exponents of the controlled arm swing. The bowling hand is in charge of all its weight. The muscles of the arm control all the pushaway, downswing, backswing and the forward swing. This kind of movement is a great strain on the arm and may lead to injury. Extraordinary strength is required to drive the ball, which usually takes its’ toll on the player with the passing of time. Controlled swing bowlers tire sooner than the other bowlers. As muscle power propels the ball, it gathers speed while on strike. When you generate speed, bowling accuracy decreases … which is why a free armswing is the most recommended style. Continuity, consistence, and effectiveness are instrumental for a bowler’s success; and the free armswing enables you to achieve this with dedicated practice.

The Figure-8 Swing The figure-8 swing is actually shaped as half of a figure 8. It was a common push away style of the previous decades, and star bowlers adopted it in tournaments. The Action: • • • • • •

The ball is swung straight back During this movement, the hand actually traces a half figure-8 pattern The armswing again returns in the half eight pattern to the top of the forward swing The swing then descends in a straight path During this action the hand always remains under and on the inner side of the ball Ned Day in the 1940’s was a “figure 8” bowler. His movements were always smooth, perfect and a delight to watch as the swing artistically traced the number 8.

As you may have gathered, this swing is a tricky one and is better performed by seasoned players. For a beginner - or for a person who is still to carve a niche for himself in the sport - the simple synchronized push away, leading on to a free armswing, is the best choice. - 28 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Faulty armswing There are four things, which can go wrong during the action of armswing • •

Squeezing the ball: This creates undue and unnecessary tension in the muscles of your wrist. It will impede free movement, reduce chances of a good release and affect the accuracy of the shot. Failure to transfer the weight of the ball to the non-bowling hand: Naturally, the weight of the ball will take it’s toll of the muscles of your bowling arm as you strive to keep it from falling. Once your muscles are tense, it is difficult to relax them soon enough for the armswing and release. Bowling hand takes on the ball weight: The drop of the ball is the first foot of travel of the ball after the pushaway. If your bowling hand is in charge of all its weight, you will be retarding the swing of the ball, which should fall only due to the pull of gravity. Interrupting the backswing: When a player does not allow the ball to reach its full extent of the backswing, he will interrupt the natural swing of the ball. Do not assume that the ball has to be “thrown” forward. Let gravity do it with a pendulum swing

All these four faults, which hinder a player’s efficiency, are caused by not adjusting the stance and release of ball in accordance with acceleration due to gravity. The same force that helps us stay on the ground can help you bowl well and consistently. So … relax those fore arm muscles and get ready to master the free armswing. The principle of simple harmonic motion will do the rest.

Starting from close to the body What separates a consistently accurate bowler, with a long season of success from a mediocre one? It is usually his calm attitude towards the game, a relaxed but alert stance, and a synchronized fluid set of movements. He begins his bowling from his “comfort zone”. It means he holds the ball in the position most comfortable to him and continues other movements with the same practiced ease.

- 29 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


What then is the formula which you need to learn to attain a superlative level of relaxed manner, comfort and poise before a shot? The first part of that seemingly elusive formula (and a very significant part) is the correct stance. Make sure you have: 9 9 9 9 9

Erect position Knees slightly flexed (close together and not touching) Feet about 3 inches apart Elbows close to or against the hips Those with wider hips need to hold the ball parallel to hips. This allows the ball to fall to the backswing in a straight line, preventing undue change of body position 9 Holding the ball close to the body with the elbows entrenched against the hips, this is the position adopted by many classic bowlers (Chris Barnes, Norm Duke, David Ozio, and Brian Voss). Their success rightly indicates that this is a superior initial stance for major achievements in bowling. 9 Routine exercises are very important to relax muscles. Keep up with them.

The Pushaway If the push-away is good, you can achieve an efficient armswing. The push-away takes you to the right strike. It triggers off the movement of the pendulum swing. The action: • • • • •

When the ball reaches the flat plane of the downswing, position your hand and wrist to speed up through the shot. Let the non-bowling hand bear the brunt of the ball’s weight; begin push away in a gentle and, if possible, extended manner When the ball reaches the peak of the push away, disengage all muscles of the arm Transfer the ball weight to the shoulder point allow the ball to descend due to its’ own weight

- 30 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Timing The principal factor for a perfect rhythm in your bowling action is perfect timing. Only repeated practice makes you proficient in maintaining the rhythm. Control, rhythm and a good release blend together for an excellent delivery. As the fundamental action of bowling is the arm swing, it is vitally important that you perform it with good timing.

The Ideal Push Away and Timing To achieve an ideal push-away in which your arm muscles are comfortable, it is vital to pay attention to the synchronized movements of your feet and body, which accompany arm/hand movements. Getting the time right for every move automatically sets your action at a comfortable rhythm, and you will be able to bowl fluently and accurately. •

• • •

If you had a string attached from the bottom of your right hand to the top of your right foot, they would go together in the same direction. Move your limbs in a similar manner- where the bowling hand moves, the same foot moves in relation to it. When you put forward the right foot, the right arm too goes forward, fully extended, and the push away is complete. With synchronized movements, you will be able to walk to the target with the free arm swing Gravity is in charge of the rest of the synchronization. It will ensure that the ball and your feet will be at the line at the same time.

Being one of the vital maneuvers of bowling, the push-away is also executed in various styles. The most recommended way is the self propelled one, which depends on gravity. To execute this you will have to push the ball up slightly to create the acceleration. The moves should neither be exaggerated, nor achieved forcefully: trying to do so will create mayhem with both your timing and accuracy. Also remember that the grip on the ball should be firm and light. - 31 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Here are some pointers to improve push away: 9 If the hole drilled in the ball happens to fit loosely for your thumb and fingers, then, inserts can be added to make the holes fit better (but not tightly). 9 If you have large webbing at the thumb base, an extra bevel at the top front edge of the thumbhole can create a secure hold for you. 9 On the third step when the ball begins the backswing, move up your chin and keep your head back. This prevents a forward bend when you release the ball, and throughout your follow through. Besides these tips, it would be a good idea to watch professional bowlers on TV. A copy of the program, run in slow motion shows you the precise movements they make and the timing of each move, to generate a successful hit. The strategies, which award the professionals their consistent accuracy, will be at your disposal … to study, experiment and practice.

Faulty Pushaway Fault

Description

Early Pushaway

The ball is brought to position before the foot move- This is a precursor to an early swing and will jeopardize accuracy, besides weakening the release

Forced Pushaway

Correction

Move the foot simultaneously with the beginning of the pushaway. The release must come only after the sliding foot stops the slide and is firmly planted on the ground. If faced with difficulty in coordinating the rhythm, you can start moving your foot a fraction of second before the pushaway This is a vigorous Be careful to execute the pushaway, which mars both push-away in a gentle the free armswing and the rhythmic manner. Apply pushaway step. The desired only minimum torque of the rhythm of the step is forearm. This will suffice to missing and accuracy send the ball into its swing. suffers To influence the ball’s gravity, apply gentle pressure to it in an arcing manner and then disengage your forearm muscles

- 32 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The Hand Position There are five known hand positions, depending on the kind of strike you want to make. Hand Position

Striking Style

Straight

Usually for beginners. Useful in converting spares to points Nears pocket in reverse/ Instead of hooking towards, it moves away from pocket Simplest shot to control ball’s path to pocket/Rotati on succeeds in converting 5 pin spares/May leave weak 10 pin spares A flashy, powerful shot moving over 20 to 25 boards, across 60% of the lane

Back up or Reverse Hook

End over end roll

Wide Hook

Sharp Hook

Power and accuracy

Fingers’ Placement before release 6 o clock position

Execution completed at point of release

Recommended for

Wrist broken back and 2 middle fingers driving straight to the 12 o clock position/No finger rotation Hand rotates clockwise, moving ball left to right changing to 11 o clock or 12 o clock position

Beginners and for converting single spares

Proficient and experienced bowlers

Norm Duke, Mark Williams

Wrist straight/ Ball nested in palm 6 o clock position

Release generated by middle finger only/Ring finger usage may disrupt straight line of ball/Fingers change to 4 o clock or 5 o clock positions

Not recommended for beginners, because of the possibility of weak 10 pin spares

David Ozio, Walter Ray Williams

10 o clock or 11 o clock

Fingers rotate two thirds/of a circle/Thumb never crosses 12 o clock position. Thumb clears ball before ball reaches near toe, weight shifts to middle fingers. Ring finger at 11 o clock Rotated to 3 o clock, fingers performing sharp hooks

As release is dependent on fingers only, needs skilled control. Possibility of difficult spares. Relies more on power than accuracy. Not for beginners Covers fewer boards and hits spares well

Peter Weber, Robert Smith

3 o clock to 6 o clock positions

6 or 7 o clock

- 33 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com

Two champions who play this shot Michael Hogan, Butch Soper

Buddy Bomar, Don Carter


All superstars of bowling have certain common characteristics. They are remarkably agile, mentally alert, usually very relaxed and comfortable, and confident because of a wealth of practice behind them. Some of them excel further in the way that they can be versatile with their bowling. They are capable of choosing from a variety of hand movements and positions, to assess playing conditions, and master that particular event.

And now… Putting it all together……. How the swing and steps work together to create a shot is crucial. Bowling needs to be an enjoyable exercise, not a strained one. Here are the factors you have to balance out 9 When the ball is released, you must be in a stable position, but you must still put to use the momentum generated by your steps 9 Your forearm muscles must be disengaged, but the release must have enough speed to carry the ball through 60 feet or more (if hooked) 9 Consequently you must execute a release which has both stability and momentum 9 The speed you pick up in the walk towards the foul line is transferred to the ball 9 A well timed release: Stop the slide, and at the same instant release the ball. Any delay will result in an inaccurate strike 9 The best release point, using both stability and momentum, is having the backswing reach its highest point in the third step. From this point of time, both the sliding foot and the swinging arm move together. 9 This means that the first three steps taken are until the ball reaches the highest point of the backswing. The last sliding step, accompanies the downswing, and then you stop sliding the instant you release the ball. 9 This provides for a great synchronization 9 At the first step the ball moves from its position of rest to about 12 to 18 inches in front of you. Then the swing is simultaneous with the second and third step. 9 The start of approach is the start of the timing for your bowling. 9 Once you synchronize the push away and the first step, the rest of the movement will click into place. Now that you know how exactly you will move your hands with your walk towards the foul line. You know which is the best time to drive the ball into the lane, but what about the length of steps you have to take? At what exact position are your feet at every change of your arm movement? This is what we will see in the next chapter. **********

- 34 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 5

Approach and Footwork Everyday tasks - like unlocking your front door or starting your car - get done quite automatically. How many times do you actually concentrate on these tasks? You take them for granted and proceed to your next job. In bowling, however, you cannot take the first few steps for granted. They are the most important, for equipping you with a consistent style and ensures that you score well … now, tomorrow and every day. A solid rhythmic approach is a very significant factor which results in good shots. The most important of bowling fundamentals is a solid, rhythmic approach. A solid approach leads naturally to an accurate strike, at the same time ensuring that you minimize strain. You can reach the foul line to release the ball, in any of the step approach styles. Choose the style for yourself, which helps you execute a smooth and easy set of movements, with maximum accuracy. Take care to see that if you are a right-handed bowler, the last step ends with the left foot forward. The most common approach is the four step approach, which has every hand, limb and body movement synchronized. A smooth approach has set apart many of the greatest bowlers. smooth approach are • • •

The components of a

Perfect timing Free armswing Finesse

To achieve a perfect strike again and again, these bowlers have successfully combined an ideal release execution with good timing. Some of the superstars who exemplify a smooth approach are: Teata Semiz, Burton Jr., Don Carter, Anthony, Nelson, Billy Welu, Don Ellis, Dave Davis, Dave Soutar, George Pappas, Dick Ritger, Bob Strampe, Billie Golembiewski and Jim Stefanich

- 35 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The Approach The approach consists of five elements, namely: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Number of steps taken; The length of each step; Knee bend; Power step and the Slide.

1. The number of steps taken What is the ideal number of steps to be taken in a good approach? There is no such number. Some players have reached phenomenal success with 4 or 5 steps; there are some who feel comfortable taking 6 or 7 steps, and there are yet a few more who perform best in a three step approach. The best approach for you would be the one which keeps you most comfortable, and concludes with a perfect release. 3-step approach The push away in the 3-step approach starts off just before the first step. Right handers start with the left foot forward first. This step approach relies a lot on the swing of the ball, for force of release, as the momentum provided here is less than that of a 4 or 5 step approach. As the ball is on push away before the first step there is not much coordination between the foot work and limb movement, throughout the 3 steps. There are also chances of a hasty release and an ill-timed swing. 4-step approach The four step rhythm, as explained earlier is quite the ideal approach, both for beginners and seasoned players. The steps are so coordinated, that the footwork and armswing go in tandem, as if, powered by a piston. The cadence of approach and the natural reflexes of the player combine to see that no extra muscle is strained, and no untoward movement is made. 5-step approach This is almost identical to the 4-step pattern, with only one important difference. After the first step, you pause before continuing with the next 4 steps. The pushaway begins only after the foot of the first step is firmly planted on the ground. The pause will help - 36 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


you to bring the pushaway and second step together from when the approach is just like the 4-step method. The pause prevents you from beginning an early push away which may lead to a faulty armswing. Walter Ray Williams, adopted the 5 step approach with remarkable success to notch up formidable scores and reach superstar status, as a bowler. The five-step approach is basically the same as the four-step approach. The difference is that the first step is with the left foot in the five-step approach. The ball is not pushed away until the start of the forward movement of the right foot, as in the four-step approach. This extra step prior to the push away can help the bowler relax a moment before the rest of the bowl begins. 6, 7-step approaches Although most star players prefer the 4 or 5 step approach, there are quite a few who are comfortable with 6 or 7 steps. Mark Roth and Norm Duke are just two of them, and both are excellent players. While the former generated enormous power with a planted slide, Norm Duke relied on finesse, timing and exquisite synchronization of movement to make his successful shots.

2. The length of steps First Step • • • • •

In the ideal four step approach, the first step should be shorter than the extended point of the arm in the pushaway If it is longer than this, it will affect the free movement of the ball in the arm swing Maintain body weight just above the feet The weight of the ball must be felt beyond the placement of the feet Make the step heel-to-toe. This means your heel makes contact first on the ground and then the toe, just like in walking

Second Step • •

The length of the second step is longer. When the ball descends from the pushaway, pull and extend the left hand back, This maintains body balance - 37 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The ball is at the bottom of the pushaway, slightly past the knee and poised to take the backswing

Third step • • • •

This step is also known as the “power step”, the “trigger step” and the “push-off step” This is a short and rapid step, in which you simulate a sitting position This step initiates the driving force of the swing and the momentum into the slide. The short step enables you to get into sitting position and creates the optimum stability to execute the slide

3. Knee bend • • • •

The knee bend is an important component of the third step You bend your knee in preparation for the slide. As you cannot simultaneously get into a slide and bend your knee, it is recommended you accomplish the knee bend in the third step To achieve the knee bend in the third step, it is best you begin your stance with knees slightly bent, come down gradually in the second step and simulate the sitting position in the third step

4. Power step • • • •

As said above, the Power Step is a short rapid step It is not a heel-to-toe step; it is a strong push off from the ball of your foot, which initiates the slide It also creates the necessary thrust and force for the shot without the over use of the muscles of the forearm It propels the body into a position to anticipate the ball which is now on a forward swing

5. Slide • •

An ideal slide begins with the ball of the foot and ends at about two inches from the foul line A good slide affords good body balance and the poise to make a successful shot - 38 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• • •

• • • •

A slide step should conclude in line with the previous power step … if alignment is sacrificed, so is accuracy Alignment implies a that both toes and heels of feet should be in line with the target With the toes, heels, shoulder and armswing aligned, the release will always be of superior quality. Don Carter, the great bowler of the 70’s, was unconventional in approach, with a crouch, and a shuffle towards the foul line. But his slide was of perfect alignment and his superior shots were a reflection of faultless footwork. If you are not able to get into the alignment while bowling, you can correct this by practicing the stance without a ball. Begin the approach, walk the steps, slide and check for your position. Rehearse several times until you can slide with ease and the confidence that you are well aligned to make that good shot. The sole of your bowling shoes is very important in helping you execute the slide with aplomb. Special bowling shoes are made with Velcro inserts for heels and soles to accomplish sliding and braking. The stability of the slide also depends on the execution of perfect footwork. If your slide is faulty: ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

The hips will not be cleared for the descent of the swing The weight of the ball creates an imbalance in the right side of your body You may tend to sway or fall to the right As a result the ball gets shot out of direction

Practice for this alignment of slide. Incessant practice will not only make it possible for you to have a faultless slide, it will, in fact, become a habit, and something you do with no extra effort!

Hint: Bring in the slide a fraction of a second earlier than the release. This will enable you to • • •

have your feet firmly planted in position wait for the swing to descend to a flat plane release the ball from its greatest leverage position ****

Shoe Slide Problems If your shoe presents a problem when you slide, buy a slide sole with a Velcro self sticking fastener. Cut the slide sole and Velcro the same size as the rubber heel of the slide shoe. Paste the fastener onto it and fix the slide sole to the Velcro fastener.

- 39 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The footwork Footwork describes the pattern of your steps in an approach. You should pace with an easy stride, which is measured and always well planned. This is the basis of maintaining excellent timing and rhythm. If you falter, hurry or stumble, it will throw your planned approach into chaos and the quality of your swing will be affected.

Position of the Ball in Relation to Each Step Now you’ve learned how the hand, foot and your body should be positioned for the approach and release of a good shot. But what about the position of the ball, in relation to your body positions? Let’s cover that now. You must pay attention to 3 factors about the movement of the ball when you start bowling: 1. When you will start moving the ball. You should start moving the ball exactly as you take the first step in 4 step approach, or with the second step of the 5 step approach. Ball and foot should start movement together. 2. The shape of the movement. With the upper body kept erect, take care to see that the shape in which the ball moves is smooth and rounded. The path traced by the ball should be a flowing line, not marred by shakes or jerks. 3. Its speed The speed of the ball should be moderate, not too slow or fast. If it is fast, it is tough for your big muscles to be oriented to match the speed and movement; and if it is slow, your pace and swing get badly affected

- 40 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Ball positions To understand the ball positions, while you approach the foul line to drive it in, you can count your steps as “and one, and two, and three and four, and one”……. Count Ball and body positions Your step and the ball moves forward towards the intended target. This is the And pushaway. Step forward with swingside foot; the heel making contact with floor. One Let the ball fall into the downswing, from the pushaway position, while your And balance arm (the non-bowling arm) moves to the out, down and back position. This movement is called the takeaway, at the same speed that the ball swings. Lift your sliding foot. Your sliding foot makes contact. The ball is at the lowest point of the Two downswing, and the takeaway position of the balance arm is set. Keep up your movement without a pause Begin the third heel-to-toe step with the swingside foot And Three The swingside foot makes contact. This is the longest step. The ball is at the top of the backswing position. Maintain erect upper body posture without bending your waist. Begin lifting the sliding foot of the approach. Bend your swingside knee deeply And to simulate a sitting position Four The ball is at the lowest point of the forward swing. Touch down your sliding foot on the approach to slide. Use your swingside foot to balance yourself. Keep your shoulders erect and perpendicular to line of swing. The ball moves to its’ release point, from the top of the backswing The point of ball release. Your swing-side leg, with its sole firmly planted on And floor, acts as the anchor to balance your body. The ball is driven into the lane just as you slide. The sliding (i.e. non-swingside) leg acts like an anchor, holding your body weight, about 2 inches from foul line. Keep wrists firm. The thumb exits the ball at the bottom of the forward swing. Continue holding the ball with your fingers and drive it into the lane. Maintain the posture till the ball is at least half way down the lane. Depending on whether you drive the ball in a straight or hooked manner, there are specific hand positions at the time of release. A discussion of these positions and a glance at follow through techniques are discussed in the following chapter.

- 41 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 6

The Release The preceding chapters have described the flow of action from the moment you pick up the ball, up to the point you are poised to drive the ball into the lane. This chapter will tell you how to drive the ball into the lane.

A “Good” Release 9 9 9 9

The thumb and then the fingers make a smooth exit from the ball. The ball careens down the lane, beyond the foul line, just like a plane lands. Fingers exit when the hand passes the ankle of the sliding foot. The ball is sent forward and a little upward.

To understand the mechanics of release, keep in mind the style and extent of every movement which integrate to create the momentum of the ball. Visualize this: • • • • •

A machine stands on the foul line A swinging arm is fastened to one side of the machine The weight equal to the weight of the bowling ball is attached to this arm. The arm is pulled and let go The arm is pulled and let go several other times, each time varying one of the following o Weight attached to the arm o Length of arm o Extent of swing o Force of pull

It becomes evident that balance of the machine depends on swing force and weight attached. You also realize that the longer the arm, the more unstable it makes the machine. The direction of the swing and the speed of the moving weight influence stability too. This is similar to what happens to your balance at the foul line. The player could be compared to the machine. Your ankle is the basic support. The quality of balance is determined by the extent of the armswing and the weight of the bowling ball. If you want to swing more, you have to be more firmly balanced. Short swings accord greater - 42 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


stability. And naturally, the more stable you are, the higher will be the amount of energy transferred to the ball from your drive. When the body is in perfect leverage position, a well-timed and well-executed swing will only plant you more firmly on your base, through your slide angle. This in turn will allow all energy generated by the movement to be transferred to the ball to be released. If leverage is decreased, energy driving the ball will be lessened. Proper release occurs in three stages: Thumb release: Soon as you begin to slide, you have to release the thumb out of the bowling ball. Without proper thumb release, the ball may go down the lane in a deviation from the accurate path Finger and wrist rotation: In bowling, your wrist and hand form a single unit. During release, your hand and fingers snap back in the forward direction, and also lift the ball. This develops in a sideways and forward movement, resulting in a slight spin of the ball. Lift and finger release: If you rotate your hand to the 10, 4 or 5 o clock positions, the fingers get placed to the left under the ball. As the ball travels forward it moves a little upwards too. This is called the lift. A lift well executed will accomplish the tasks of: 9 Moving the ball forward 9 Turning the ball a little so as to be able to hook it.

Remember: For beginners a drive without a lift is preferable as they will not be able to predict the kind of hook that will drive the ball forward.

At all times during release, the palm should be facing upwards while holding the ball. Ball reaction is the way a ball acts on the lane. There are two reacting types: straight ball and hook ball. The straight ball travels in a straight line. It is more preferred by beginners, as it is easy to learn and affords a high leverage release. The hooked ball travels an outside to inside path, traveling in a curved manner. Gripping the ball can be done in different styles, based on which one gives you the comfort of hold and allows you to trigger the preferred ball movement. Grip of the ball is instrumental in deciding the quality of the release.

- 43 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The conventional grip: As mentioned before, this involves pushing the middle and ring finger up to the second knuckle into the drilled holes, and the thumb all the way down. It allows for a firm grip, and is easy to hold. Beginners use this grip and it usually triggers off straight shots. The drilled holes in “house balls” (the balls provided by bowling centers) are designed for the conventional grip. The fingertip grip: Typically the grip of experienced bowlers who want the ball to hook. As the bowler needs to turn the ball while releasing it forward, this kind of grip affords easy relinquishing of the holes by the fingers. The holes for this grip are designed to allow only the slightest insertion of the middle and index finger into them. Whichever grip you opt for, see that you hold the ball without undue stress, strain or stretching your fingers. *****

To Release the Straight Ball To bowl straight, you should put your thumb in the 12 o’clock position, the middle finger between 5 and 6 o’clock, and the ring finger between the 6 and 7 o’clock positions. The lift applied by the fingers is in line with the desired ball path along the lane. This will stabilize the ball in the path it is already rolling in. Keep the hand behind the ball, and close to the body - this helps the transfer of momentum to the ball when released. The ball picks up more speed, and is less deterred by surface irregularities of the lane. To make a successful strike out of a straight ball, practice enough to ensure that it rolls, not skids … a factor which helps the ball deflect easily after the first impact with a pin.

To Release the Hooked Ball Release of the hooked ball - like the straight ball - depends on: • • • • •

Concentration Swing Power of release Perfect timing and approach Consistent quality and practice - 44 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


How do you coax the ball to take a curved path down the lane? It is basically the placement and turn of fingers just before release. For an effective hook, here’s what to do: • •

Insert the thumb into the ball at the 10 or 11 o clock position (or even 12 o’ clock). With practice you will know which suits you best. Now when you release the ball, let it roll off the fingers. When you release the ball, do not force your wrists to turn. The natural motion of your armswing will rotate the fingers just enough to create a hook which is effective and not too sharp.

Release is one of the most significant aspects of bowling. Equally important is the execution of follow through …

Follow Through Sometimes, your bowling is unsatisfactory in spite of having executed the push away, swing and release to textbook perfection. Why? It may be because your follow through is unsatisfactory. To have a consistently accurate strike in consecutive shots, your follow-through is very important. It is the culmination of any athletic activity, which needs coordination of limbs, like in golf, billiards or basketball. Energy consuming activities like kicking, throwing or hitting, is complete only with a steady, purposeful follow through. Bowling too comes in this category. The line of the follow through must be in line with the target. The second chapter introduced you to follow through. Here it is again in more detail: • • • • • •

The follow-through after release dictates the direction the ball, when it is driven into the lane. A good follow-through implies a good release. The follow through after a short arm swing is mediocre. When your arm ending up at the side of your ear is an indication of a good follow through In case you find that difficult to coordinate you can tap yourself on your right shoulder (if you are right handed, that is; left-handers should of course tap their left shoulder). A complete follow-through means you take your bowling arm from the release point, in an upswing, to your shoulder level or higher. Although the ball has been driven into the lane, the follow through is required because it is a great exercise to improve your armswing and the balance of the approach. - 45 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Follow Through – Superstar Style It also happens that some players, fascinated by exaggerated follow through stances, rely more on custom designed balls and extra arm movements bowl and end the movement with an elaborate follow through. More often than not, the strike remains an average one. The successful player, starts with a smooth approach, continues to bowl in a relaxed manner, and executes excellent shots with perfect ease, timing and planning. The followthrough styles of such superstars are worth a mention. * Their styles are compact, without excessive force, of a fluid manner, but each as remarkable as it is unique. David Ozio, Brian Voss and Mike Aulby are some of the great players who achieve a smooth follow through to end a superb strike. * Marshall Holman is a well-known power bowler, whose strike always carried a bundle of power. His follow through was generated from a short backswing and it extended to an outward direction. * Most successful hook bowlers are aware of the fact that effective turning of the ball is accomplished by the force of fingers and not the arm. The follow through, of a potent strike by Chris Barnes Robert, is always characterized by a pose, in which he hardly bends his arm at the elbows, but outward. * The follow through of Peter Weber, who is small in stature, is relatively high and effective. With the arm fully extended, the delivery is from the shoulder, not forearm level. He accomplishes this with a high backswing. This style has been his for many years now, principally to generate formidable speed into the drive. This kind of delivery packs in quite a potent force into the ball. This powerful release and follow through regimen is not recommended for beginners as it requires a polished style and skill, attained through incessant and dedicated practice. * Walter Ray Williams specializes in a unique follow through, which terminates an end over end delivery. The ball picks up speed, rather than spin. For reactive balls, this is at a great advantage, but without speed the shot may go awry. Speed being of paramount importance, right from approach, the bowling action culminates in a vigorous follow through. Taking considerable success in his stride, he has remained in contention amidst powerful hook bowlers too. While driving hooked balls into the lane, Williams manages to hold his own, thanks to the wonderful coordination he can maintain between eyes, limbs and general focus on the game. - 46 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


* Mark Roth is a great player of the 80’s, who wreaked havoc in the pocket area with the tremendous force of strike. He played with fingers placed in extreme positions (10 or 11 o clock). Tremendous finger rotation (5 o clock position, with snap of the wrist and fingers) during release, packed power into the delivery, and terminated the release with a vigorous follow through * Ryan Shafer, another great bowler with a powerful release, executes follow through in the outward direction, and the ball shoots into the lane from a skyward direction. Kelly Koffman opts for a muscle driven (upper forearm) follow through, an aftermath of a superbly spinning ball (which makes about 24 revolutions) driven into the lane. * Jess Stayrook, Brian Himmler and Bob Learn, are some of the other greats, who believe in an accelerated follow through. * Among the great left handed bowlers, Parker Bohn III adopts a rare style. Though his style is easy and flowing, the follow through is extended, with bent elbows in recoil fashion, reaching behind the left ear. Follow through is an excellent exercise, to re-orient you into movements of clockwork precision for the next strike. Always remember to keep it low and long, and never high. Here is one way to analyze and practice for good follow through • • • • •

Freeze your arm after release to check where it stops, just after the ball goes across the foul line Observe your stance Is your arm level with your head (on the right for right-handers)? Is the thumb pointing over the shoulder? If these positions are still to be attained, then it’s back to practice!

Common Errors The ball is lofted up the lane: The ball lofted up does not provide as accurate a strike as you desire, nor do you have a satisfactory follow through. To correct this, deliver the ball right into the lane. The follow through goes skywards: When this happens, the fingers move to the left of the face (for right-handers). You can correct this by keeping the follow through 90 degrees to the target. Bent elbow and sharp recoil: This is a jerky follow through and affects overall performance. You can overcome this in the following manner - 47 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• • • •

Bend elbow to the minimum and extend your arm Drive fingers in level with the break point, not higher or lower than that The height of the swing and the weight of the ball together bring on a slight bend in your elbow. From here onwards the swing, release and follow through must be in tandem with the pull of gravity, natural and without unnecessary movements

By now you should realize that the follow-through is as important as the release itself. With improper follow-through, you are likely to: • • • •

have incessant problems of controlling your swing lose speed on an intended fast drive drive the curve ball all wrong develop sore arms

So, concentrate on that follow through. Give it as much importance as you would to your stance, armswing, footwork and release, and rest assured that you’re on your way to success as a bowler! *****

Proper Release Point Most of the great players conclude their bowling efforts with an excellent release and follow through. Usually they have the talent. Some may have worked at it and become perfect, thanks to uncompromising levels of practice. The rest play their shots, relying on simplicity and accuracy, to improve their scores. When you launch the ball into the lane from its most superior leverage area, it is called the proper release point. All your efforts go into preparing for the strike. You’re sure the execution was of high quality, but you fail to score. The reason? The proper release point was not considered. How to determine which is the proper release point: • • •

Think of a double ball bag held in line with the shoulder When you lift the bag, because the weight is distributed equally, on either side, you feel little or no strain on your neither shoulder nor arm. In this way it becomes your strong leverage point If you alter the position of the center of the double bag and put it beyond your shoulder-ankle line, what will happen? The leverage is changed, so a certain - 48 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• •

measure of imbalance is felt. Along with undue strain to your shoulder and arm, you’ll struggle to maintain an upright posture. This illustrates the difference between the strongest leverage area and any other. In a similar manner seek out that position and stance which allows you to drive the ball into the lane with minimum stress on arms and shoulders and perfect balance of the lower body … this is the proper release point.

Triggering the release point: When is it triggered? Just at the bottom of the downswing, and timed ideally. If the release point is beyond the toes it means an early swing. Hint: accelerate the hand, just a little before the release point. Begin the acceleration, about 12” before release, at the flat plane of the downswing. Remember to generate acceleration from hand off to shoulder point and not the fore arm.

How do you master the proper release point? 9 Adjust your speed and position of any maneuver so that you attain overall poise and fluid execution, culminating in keeping the hand slightly behind the slide at the release point. 9 Control an early swing by shortening the first two steps, or move up the approach at a brisker pace 9 Make any more changes required to keep the sliding step a fraction before the release point 9 Avoid a late swing. When the elbow is outside the line of swing and away from the body (“flying elbow” or “chicken winging”), forces a swing later than necessary. This will impede the forward swing. ***** A strong release is the ability to place the ball well in the back of the hand, wait for the proper release point, maintain the hand position and when the swing propels the ball on its journey towards the lane, release it. Do it by bringing out the thumb, and driving the ball with front part of the hand, with apt finger rotation when hooking. After that, follow through to the intended target, while keeping in mind the number of revolutions (on average) of the ball. The release must be in such a manner that you have aimed the centre of the ball to reach through the target. If you have chosen the arrow in - 49 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


the 30th board then focus well and aim for the ball to pass through it. Always be clear about your aim and make every effort to achieve. You should be able to say, “Today I made a great strike from the 25th board!” An area prior to the ankle when the ball is in the downswing can be taken as the ideal release point. The thumb should be about 6 boards away from the sliding foot, assuming the slide has been made in line with the previous step. A superb release and an excellent release point, what more can one ask for to execute a shot of absolute class? Micheal Holman, known as “Medford Meteor” does just that time after time, as does Pete Weber, who has been a great bowler for the past 20 years. The strikes appear to be effortless and smooth, without noise and bounce, but manage to create absolute chaos in the pocket, toppling every pin with great power. Such a strike is called the power stroke. Others included in this elite category are Richard Wolf, Barnes, Danny Wiseman, Ward and Steelsmith. All these players coax the ball to spin exceedingly well, in an easy, elegant manner. Besides the power strokers are the pure strokers and the crankers. Pure strokers are characterized with the elegantly fluid style, and superb accuracy. (Great bowlers in this category include Bohn, Criss, Jeff Lizzi and quite a few more.) Crankers depend more on the power of their wrist and fingers which can generate a vigorous spin into the drive. Not for them is the finesse of the pure strokers. Explosive power and chaos in the pocket area is a characteristic of their shots. They strive to create a wider pocket, and manage to target a particular area, not a particular board. On lanes which afford wider angles to pockets, they perform so well, that their tremendous scores tend to keep them unbeaten, game after game. (The superstar crankers’ list includes Bob Learn, Dave D’Entremont, Shafer, Brian Himmler, Robert Smith and quite a few more. Is it easy? Well, if you find that you are a natural at synchronizing movements, it should not be too difficult; but if you have trouble making requisite adjustments (within a fraction of a second) then you need to work on it. It is extremely important that the release comes at the proper release point, not before, not after. ****

- 50 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 7

Straight ball or hook what to choose? Bowling is a two-step game. In the first step you strike at your target, to topple all the pins. In the second, you have to hit all the spare pins left over by the previous hit; to accomplish this as often as possible, you should know the rudiments of both straight and hook bowling. This will help you choose the way in which you drive the ball, depending on bowling conditions.

Straight Bowling – How it is done The straight ball is driven straight and moves straight almost the length of the lane. As such, you need to bowl with pinpoint accuracy to make a good strike. Rather than the centerboard, you must aim for the second arrow. From here the ball will enter the pocket with a better chance of strike.

Straight Ball Delivery 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

Have a normal approach and set up Swing and roll the ball with your palm turned upwards Gripping fingers should point at 12 o clock Let your elbow bend in a direction perpendicular to swing Keep wrist extended, without a bend The fingers not inserted in the drilled grips (index and little fingers) must hold firmly onto the ball This enables the thumb to exit the ball more easily Once the thumb exits, just before the lifting action, curl the other fingers Simulate the motion, as if you were squeezing a rubber ball (not excessively though) Drive the ball up and out, to make it roll into the lane Maintain the 12 o’clock thumb position, until you are done with the follow through Maintain the bend of your elbow at 90 degrees to the swing Keep the wrist firm In the final recovery position ¾ Maintain fingers at 12 o clock position ¾ The back of your bowling hand is kept high, facing the pins. ¾ Your eyes must still focus on the target ¾ Observe ball movement and the way it strikes the pins - 51 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


What Happens Afterwards… If the execution has been correct and smooth, the ball • • • • • •

Will roll along the driven path Will not slide or skid out of control Moves over the desired target accurately Makes effective impact on pins Does not track on its grip holes, which affect its direction and speed Does not tend to deviate out of line, or curve into the pocket *****

Advantages of Straight Bowling … When you begin to play, you bowl straight. Bowling straight will help you develop • • • •

the skill of aiming for the arrows perfecting your approach improving your armswing maintaining good balance

If straight bowling helps you master these techniques, you may not need an array of half a dozen bowling balls to suit different lane conditions. Straight bowling is considered the accurate way to target strikes. The effect of a hook ball is unpredictable on difficult lane conditions. On such an occasion, a beginner does well to bowl straight. It helps you control the path of your drive, and to effectively convert spares to points.

Limitations of Straight Bowling… Accuracy is of paramount importance in bowling straight, as strikes are difficult. You must target all the pins at one go, as the spares will get difficult to aim at. This is because, a straight ball hitting the head pin does not move in to tackle other pins. It deflects away from the pocket area, with difficult spares left over. As a straight bowler, in time your average will probably hover near 180. The reasons for not scoring more are: •

Target is limited to a narrow area - 52 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• •

A rolling ball strikes pins with more force than a skidding one. How much force does the ball need to make a complete strike? An erroneous thrust of the ball leaves behind unreachable spares. The bowler has to analyze and estimate the force to be imparted to the strike, to make it consistent and accurate. It is tough for the beginner to make the right choice. *****

Hook Bowling A hooked ball, instead of moving straight down the lane up to the pocket area, curves after a given length of movement. The ball does not roll end over end (like a straight ball) but rotates sideways. As the ball curves near the pocket and enters the area from a side, the bowler makes a strike. The momentum accumulated in the rolling ball will strike the pins with considerable force.

Hook Bowling – How it’s Done Hook bowling differs from straight bowling in the way you place your fingers and the way they exit from the ball. The stance, approach, armswing, and footwork, need the same precision of movement and smooth execution as you would for straight bowling. Hook bowling, however, requires skilful maneuvering of fingers for good strikes. You will be bowling from a different part of the lane, by assessing the right amount of hook the ball needs to be effective. You must also be familiar enough with the ball you bowl with, and know the amount of hook it is capable of. *****

Hook Ball Delivery 9 Take your stance at the position you have chosen 9 Focus on your target 9 Swing and roll the ball while: o Your fingers and palm are 45 degrees to the inside of the swing plane o Fingers are in the 10 o clock position for right-handers (2 o clock position for left-handers 9 In the same firm positioning of fingers, keep your elbow as you would for straight bowling – at 90 degrees to the swing, all through the delivery - 53 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


9 Now swing and deliver the ball 9 Remember that your hand at the 45 degrees angle is the main change (as compared to the straight delivery) in position for hooking the ball 9 Keep the wrist firm and make use of the supporting fingers (index and little fingers) 9 Curl your fingers (middle and ring fingers) and lift out the ball 9 The ball rolls now, but with a spin 9 Upper arm, fore arm and hand must not rotate 9 Maintaining fingers firmly in the positions mentioned above generate the spin 9 The wrist should not be flexed to make a turn 9 Drive the ball with the same speed you accord the straight ball 9 In the final recovery position: ¾ Curled fingers are at the 45 degrees angle, to the inside position ¾ Eyes completely focused on target ¾ Elbow perpendicular to the joint and wrist firm ¾ Maintain this position until ball moves down the lane and makes it to the pocket area ¾ Observe the way the ball moves on the lane

What Happens Afterwards…. If well executed, here’s what will happen: • • •

The ball will move in a straight line after release Approximately at 40 to 45 feet from foul line, the ball will veer towards the inside of the lane It should not curve too much to the inside or outside, as this would cause an unwanted deviation of the ball from its path.

Advantages of Hook Bowling …. Although beginners find it quite tough to switch over to hook bowling, some make the change in order to score more. There are some who quite naturally take to hook bowling right from the start. If you are one among them, develop this style and work at it. Hook bowling makes effective shots and allows for a slight error margin, which is almost absent in straight bowling. The main reasons for the positive effect of hooking on the pins are: 9 The lifting of middle and ring fingers during release 9 The way the strike generates movement among the pins to topple them over

- 54 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Hooking the ball, gives you the advantage of striking more pins, more often. Though lane conditions adversely affect hooking, the potency of the hook makes up for it. In lanes, which are easy to read and bowl, the hook bowler has a greater chance of striking more often.

The Challenges of Hook Bowling ‌ Difficult lane conditions make hook bowling unpredictable, and sometimes unsuccessful. High friction lanes, low friction lanes, a blend of high and low friction lanes are all obstacles for a hook bowler. In such conditions the accuracy is affected, and the number of pins left over (spares) is considerably large. In such cases, the bowler must switch over to straight bowling to have a better chance of striking pins and scoring well. Consistency and control is achieved well with straight bowling in difficult lane conditions, rather than by hooking.

Which is Better? Straight or Hooked Delivery? A straight ball is an ideal way to begin bowling. It helps improve your accuracy and makes you a consistent bowler. For making more strikes, it is better to hook the ball. The wider angle of entry, gives the ball a greater chance of making a good strike and score. There are lesser chances of deflection when hooking the ball For targeting spares, it is best you opt for straight bowling. On ideal lane conditions, uniform friction of the entire lane, and overall smoothness, you can try to hook the ball to hit spares. Such lanes are rare to come by, so make it a point to tackle the spares with straight bowling. Regular practice will enable you to assess bowling conditions and your potential and to choose the kind of bowling you must adopt. Once you make this choice, you have to focus completely to make a good strike. How well can you make use of the lane indicators to make that strike? That is what the next chapter will tell you. **********

- 55 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 8

Strike Targeting What is the best part of bowling? It is indeed, the successful strike. Nothing gives more pleasure, to a bowler, than watching all those 10 pins topple down obediently. The sound of them crashing down is music to your ears, something you want to hear again and again. This chapter will tell you how to have the pleasure of a strike as often as possible, by doing away with almost all factors which impede your progress to successful bowling.

Target Line Bowling Aiming directly for the pins (pin bowling) - which are a good 60 feet away from the foul line - does not help you get a strike very accurately. Spot bowling (aiming for a spot) closer to the foul line, makes you more accurate, but then, there are so many “spots” on the lane to choose from. How will you be guided to choose the most strategic one? The Target Line is the line along which the ball will roll, passing over the target to reach the pocket area. Target line bowling is the set of procedures which helps you reduce all possibility of errors and coaxes the ball along the desired path on the lane. The target may be a dot, an arrow, or the boards on the lane. This is the most preferred way of aiming for strikes as it is based on the coordination of “where to look”, “how to approach”, and “how to bowl”. Naturally, the tactics of target bowling will be different for different styles of bowling, straight or hooked.

Importance of strike targeting Strike targeting is the most efficient way of bowling. Its importance can never be underestimated: • • •

Accuracy is maximized Consistency of accurate shots improves considerably It helps maintain your approach, parallel to the line of swing, towards the foul line - 56 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• • • •

It helps you coordinate and control your bowling for smooth and successful execution It helps you find the most preferred path for the ball to be driven down the lane It almost eliminates the chances of unaligned approach and the resulting defects of the swing and release It is instrumental in accessing for you the exact feedback of your shots, so that you may analyze and improve it

The following steps will help you accomplish strike targeting, with the precision required to make the most successful strikes

Targeting aids - dots and arrows •

• •

The dots and arrows are target markers on the surface of the lane. The dot and arrow “rangefinders” were developed by the Brunswick Corporation. The bowler uses the locator dots and the arrows to specify the target through which the ball moves The 39 boards which make up the lane (each board is about an inch wide) are counted from your swing side to your balance side. That is: o right-handers count the boards from right to left … so the right-most board is board #1 o left-handers count the boards from left to right … so the left-most board is board #1 The first arrow is on the 5th board and the 6 other arrows are evenly spaced out, with the width of 5 boards between consecutive arrows. Usually, it is a good practice to target the second arrow, on the 10th board for a good hit

Placement Distance • •

• •

The placement distance is the number of boards between the sliding foot and the point of contact of the ball with the floor (the “touchdown point”) near the foul line. When measuring the placement distance, you are actually measuring the sideways distance between the centre of your body and the centre of the ball. On an average, this is around 6 to 8 boards, meaning the average placement distance varies from 6 to 8 boards. The placement distance is not likely to change for a person For wide shouldered people the placement distance may be slightly higher

Choosing the line •

The visual target over which the ball rolls is called the target point - 57 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• • • • • • •

Suppose you focus on the 2nd arrow (15 feet away from foul line) on the 10th board This point will also indicate the angle at which the ball will roll If the 8th board is the touch down point for the ball, then the target line for bowling straight, is traced from board 8 to 10 For the hooked ball, you will have to test bowl, to guage the amount of hook the lane offers. If the touch down point is the 10th board then the target line gets traced from 10th board at the foul line to the 2nd arrow on the 10th board (at a distance of 15 feet from the foul line) Bowl to observe the extent of hook and the way the ball curves into the pocket You can now fine tune to make the right adjustments for selecting the board from which to trace the target line.

Target Line • • • • • • • •

Imagine a straight line extended, on joining the two reference points (8 to 10 for straight and 10 to 10 for hooked bowling) The hooked ball traveling along this straight line will only change direction at the break point This is the line of the path of the ball; try to see that the ball moves along this line only One way to do this is to keep the bowling shoulder straight above this line while bowling This manner of using more than one point of reference on the lane helps you analyze and place your shots in a more efficient manner Using single point references involves adjustments more often than you need, as compared to target line reference. The distance between you (at the set up area) and the foul line is almost the same as the distance between the foul line and the second arrow. Therefore, the foul line can be imagined to be the mid point between you and the second arrow.

The straight ball and the target line • • • • • • •

The target line should begin from the approach dots found near the foul line, and end at the arrows marked at 15 feet Suppose the ball touches down at board 12 and traces a path to the arrow on the 8th board (15 feet from foul line) In your mind’s eye trace this target line backwards towards the set up position You will see that it crosses the 16th board at the level of the set up Place bowling shoulder and the ball directly over this extended imaginary line In this case that would be over board 16 at the set up position Keep forearm in line with the target - 58 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• • • •

Keep shoulders erect, square and at 90 degrees to the forearm Keep feet parallel to forearm and perpendicular to shoulders Walk towards target As the dots at 6 feet are closer to your view you can focus more accurately by using them as visual target for delivery

The hooked ball and the target line • • • •

Assume the ball to cross over the foul line on the 10th board The ball will touch the 2nd arrow on the 10th board, 15 feet away from foul line As this is a straight line, it will touch board 10 again, in the set up area. (When you trace back the line in your mind’s eye) So the target line for the hook ball is the line joining the points on board 10 of set up area, board 10 of the foul line and the second arrow on board 10, at a distance of 15 feet from the foul line

Approach line for strike targeting For bowling straight: •

• •

To know where to start from you must add the number 6 to your placement distance (the 6th board is the beginning of your target line as explained above). If your placement distance is 8, then the board you will begin your approach will be 8 + 6 = 14. Your approach line will thus begin at board 14 and end at board 16 near the foul line. When you set the slide foot on board 13 (the slide foot your left foot for righthanders), it should be such that the 14th board is visible to the arch side of your foot.

For bowling the hooked ball: • • • •

Remember the first point of target line at your set up area for hooking the ball? It was at board 10. Like you did for the straight ball, add the placement distance to this number. We have assumed your placement distance as 8. 10 + 8 = 18. You will thus begin your approach from board 18 of the set up area and your approach ends at board 18 near the foul line. Your approach line is the straight line between board 18 of set up area to board 18 of the foul line

- 59 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


[All the reference points are for a hypothetical bowling action. You will have to analyze and locate indicators, specific for you, to trace the imaginary target line, and determine the corresponding line of your approach.]

Focus 9 9 9 9

Keep the visual target right in focus Keep your head and neck upright and steady If you waver or shake your head, focusing will be less than perfect Imagine that your body is to be drawn to the target while you walk the approach line 9 Your visual target may not be the exact target point, but somewhere, either slightly to the left, or slightly to the right, of the target point. 9 It should be such that the ball rolls exactly over the target point on the lane

Evaluation: How good was your target line bowling? Ask yourself the following questions, and look for answers … therein lies the analysis of the shot you have just made: 9 Did I proceed along the approach line I had decided on? 9 Was it in perfect relation to the target line? 9 Did the ball move as I intended it to? 9 Did the ball roll over the target I had aimed at? 9 Did it trace the path of the target line I had imagined 9 Did my slide foot stop exactly at the board I wanted it to 9 Was it an accurate strike? Whenever the answer is “No.” for any of the 7 questions, you need to go back and start all over again, to plan and execute your shot, in the corrected and improved manner. Keep at it till the answer is always “Yes!” to all the questions. After that, it is a matter of time, practice and dedication to realize your dream of spectacular bowling.

Analysis: There are three possibilities for the execution of the shot.

- 60 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


One: You bowled well! Everything went according to plan and you made a superb strike. All you have to do now is to keep up the effort to maintain consistency and always plan the same way for bowling in future Two: You did not carry out the execution as planned. Maybe you did not approach properly, or maybe the swing was ill timed. Whatever the reason, do not make any change to the target and approach line indicators you have set. Go back to bowl correctly. Repeat the exercise until execution is exactly the way you planned. Suppose you make a good hit with the wrong execution; would that be a good reference point? No! Irrespective of whether the ball hit the pins or not, wrong execution does not indicate a great bowling action. You have to try over and over again to keep the action perfect. Three: The third possibility is that the execution went off just the way you planned, but there was no strike. When this happens, you have to minutely examine every position of your stance, approach, swing and release to check up for minor errors. The error may be in locating the board at set up area - or at the touch down point – or it may be a lessened focus on the visual target. Whatever the minute error, you will be able to locate it. Correct the error, and decide on the target and approach line all over again. The right execution, on the right line of approach to drive the ball along the right path, will never fail to make the right strike. **********

- 61 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 9

Shooting Spares and Splits “Strike for show, spare for dough”, is an old saying which says it all for the game of bowling. Yes, the strike that topples ten pins is what bowling is all about. But what if you don’t? To become a proficient bowler it is vital you tackle spares effectively. Regarding spare pins, you should know that 9 Lining up and managing the swing is just as equally important for spare shooting as for the strike 9 Do not release the ball in a hurry. Those few seconds when you plan and make a precise swing will get you the spare, not a hasty shot. 9 Do not attempt hook bowling to convert a single spare to points 9 Instead, you can try setting the wrist back, and then relaxing it, just as you release the ball. This helps in giving the ball negligible rotation, and permits it to go down the lane in a straight path 9 Generally, straight bowling tackles spares better than hooked bowling 9 Plastic balls are known to take on to straight bowling better, than the reactive balls 9 A good attempt at striking spares can add almost 30 points to your score

Spare shooting not only helps increase your score, it also improves your overall game. The practice of shooting spares helps you read lane conditions much better, and adjust your bowling strategy accordingly. It is advisable to develop a spare shooting system, which can help you get those spares, pretty consistently. This system helps enhance the quality of approach, and sharpen your focus and target line bowling, in general.

Spare system basics 9 Whatever material the board is made of, every lane has a uniform number of boards – 39 9 Focus on where you stand to make the delivery and how you proceed to the next step 9 The middle toe of the front foot can mark your starting position, if you are a righthander. You mark with the left foot, because you end the approach with your left foot 9 If you are left handed mark with the right foot, because you will end the approach with your right foot - 62 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


9 After the execution of the shot, make a note of where your left foot is. 9 If you are left-handed, note the final position of your right foot. 9 Compare the first and last positions and count the number of boards you have moved sideways 9 This gives you the extent of the “drift” 9 Drift is the indicator of how straight you walk on the approach 9 Keep drift to the minimum, and travel in as straight a line as possible 9 If you keep the approach as straight and simple as you can, you can considerably lessen the extent of drift 9 By doing away with unneeded movements you can keep a low drift and move on the approach line in a manner which is effective to tackle spares.

Within the framework of these simple guidelines, you can build up a strong and effective system of shooting spares. Recall, the pins are numbered as follows, with pin 1 closest to you, in the centre of the lane:

7

8 4

9 5

2

10 6

3 1

There are a few pointers which will help you convert spares intelligently, resulting in a good score for you: 9 If the spares remain un-toppled on the inside, move your set up further to the outside 9 If the spares remain un-hit on the outside rows, move further to the inside 9 If the spares remain to the left of Pin 1, move right for the hit 9 If spares remain on the right of Pin 1, move to the left to take a hit 9 Walk parallel to the target line you have visualized for the spares and walk as if you were headed towards the spares standing in the pocket

*****

- 63 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


9.1 The 3-6-9 Spare Shooting System Professional bowlers usually adopt a starting position such that the middle arrow, or the fourth arrow, counting from the right serves as the target point, through which the ball will travel. Then the 3-6-9 system, based on this starting point, helps them move to the correct position on the boards to release the ball and to almost always pick up spares. For shooting spares the 3-6-9 system is the act of moving three, six or nine boards to the right, with respect to the front pin in the row you want to take the shot at. If you view the pins diagonally from the right, you will observe that:

7

8 4

9 5

2

10 6

3 1

• • •

Pin 2 is just ‘ahead’ of Pin 1 (diagonally ahead) Pin 4 is ahead of Pin 2 Pin 7 is ahead of Pin 4

If you view the pins from the left : • • •

Pin 3 is just ahead of Pin 1Pin 4 is ahead of Pin 2 Pin 6 is ahead of Pin 3 Pin 10 is ahead of Pin 6

Within a frame, the first ball is bowled, with the 2nd arrow as the target. It is done exactly as detailed in the previous chapters, without any change in set up location. You start and end the bowling action in the same manner every time. Then -- for the second ball of the frame -- you have to move to the left or right of the board you are standing to convert all spares to points. The place where you bowl from changes now, depending on how many, and which of the pins remain as spares. Always remember that the pin closest to you is the key pin for converting spares. It must be the first pin you hit when you are trying to hit all the pins which remain standing. - 64 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


For the Right Handed Bowler If Pin 4 and Pin 5 remain, then the key pin is the position of Pin 2 (where Pin 2 would have stood, if not hit) When the key pin is Pin 2 then you have to move three boards to the right and roll the ball, as you would have done, while bowling the strike ball When Pin 4 is the key pin, you have to move six boards to the right and bowl from there, over the same target as for the strike ball When Pin 7 is the key pin you have to move nine boards to the right and roll over the same target The above examples should give you a pretty good idea about your target line when you have to move to the right to make a good strike. For the left-handed bowler Suppose pins 5 and 6 remain to be hit. Now, the key pin would be Pin 3 (the exact position where Pin 3 stood before it was hit). When the key pin is Pin 3, move three boards to the left and roll the ball, just the way you would have done while bowling the strike ball. When Pin 6 is the key pin, move 6 boards to the left and bowl from there, over the same target, in a similar manner as above. When Pin 10 is the key pin, move 9 boards to the left, and roll the ball over the target. Spares targeting for left and right-handed bowlers

For the left handed bowler

For the right handed bowler

Pins left of centre

Pins right of centre

Pins right of centre

Pins left of centre

Key Pin

Boards to move

Direction of movement

Key Pin

Boards to move

Direction of movement

Key Pin

Boards to move

Direction of movement

Key Pin

Boards to move

Direction of movement

7

Aim for 3rd arrow, locate its board 3

To the left

3

3

To the left

10

To the right

2

3

To the right

To the

6

6

To the

6

Aim for 3rd arrow, locate its board 6

To the

4

6

To the

4

- 65 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


2

6

left To the left

10

9

left To the left

3

3

right To the right

7

9

9.2 For Left Handers: the 2-4-6 Spare Shooting System Similar to the 3-6-9 system, left-handers can adopt the 2-4-6 system. When Pin 3 is the key pin, you can move the target to your right by two boards. When Pin 6 is the key pin, you move six boards to the right and when Pin 10 is the key pin, you move six boards to the right. To understand 2-4-6 system better • • • • •

This system is adopted by left-handers who bowl from far left Shift only your focus on the target arrow, looking at the arrow on different boards for the different key pins, but your starting place is always the same. If you leave Pin 2, from the far left, you move 3 boards to the right of your approach and release ball over the strike target If you leave Pin 4 or Pin 8 Move 6 boards to the right and release ball If you leave Pin 7, then move 9 boards and release ball

This kind of appraisal of pin positions and execution of shots based on calculating the boards to the left or right you have to move, generally, gets you the scores for your spares. You can adopt this method for most bowling lanes, except when it is too oily or too dry. Maybe you will have to adopt a 4-8-12 method if the lane is too oily. Some bowlers prefer the 2-4-7 system when the lane is relatively dry. Most professional bowlers have the practice of focusing right on the key pin and then just hitting the ball. This method will in no way help you. It works for the professionals because their footwork, swing and aim are superb. They can target a dot, which may be 50 feet away. Moreover practice, experience and dedication would have made them near perfect in the game. *****

Spare Targeting and the Plastic Ball

- 66 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com

right To the right


A plastic ball rolls straight as compared to bowling balls made of any other material. As straight shooting is advised for tackling spares, a plastic ball will be a better option when you target spares. Remember this: Your plastic ball rolls straight. You must practice with the plastic ball, see its path on the drive and then adopt it for bowling Whatever combination of spares may remain, it is important you learn where to stand to focus the strike on specific pins. Remember: Practice, practice, practice! Spare bowling is not just a score booster. It is an emotional booster too, as you will develop a positive attitude and build up confidence on a solid system of striking and shooting the spares. *****

9.3 When Spares Remain... Pin 1 or the head pin is the nearest to target of single pin spares. Pin 10 is visually the smallest target for right-handers. There is a high possibility of the ball falling into the gutter, when impacted by a pin. The best way to tackle it is to take a far left side stance and shooting straight. Pin 10 is easier to shoot by the left-hander. Pin 7 is a much easier ball to target for a right hander than Pin 10, as the ball swings forth from the right side of the body. This spare can be tackled with a wide angle entry drive into the pocket area Target offered by the head pin, Pin 1 is a little more than 13 inches wide, and it is 60 feet away (the width is what you see of the pin) Pin 5 offers a facing width of just under 13 inches

What are Sleeper Pins? Pin 2 and pin 8 together or Pin 3 and Pin 9 together are known as sleeper pins. Pins 2, 5, 8 and 4 are the four corners of a diamond shaped figure. Pins 2 and 8 are diagonally opposite. When these pins are left out, shooting them can be difficult ‌ as the target - 67 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


area (when you aim for a frontal shot) is lessened, to only a little more than an inch. You have to hit very accurately at the Pin 2 so that it can fall along with Pin 8. It is a similar case for Pins 3 and 9 (the diametrically opposite points for the diamond formed by Pins 3, 6, 9 and 5 For both these instances, you can increase the target area to aim at by shooting to attain a wide angle of entry into the pocket, or by a shot from across the alley Pins 5 and 7 require a more difficult shot, again being diametrically opposite in the diamond formed by Pins 5, 8, 7 and 4. However the distance between Pins 5 and 7 is much more than the distance between Pins 2 and 8 The target area for a head on shot is only about half an inch. A straight ball from the right corner can strike at a slightly bigger target area, but much better, would be a hooked ball (entry angle at 6 degrees) Suppose Pins 4, 6 and 7 remain: 8

7

9 5

4 2

10 6

3 1

You would want to hit at Pin 4 so that pin 7 will fall with it at a straight delivery. However, you can hope for an accurate strike by hitting at Pin 6, whose horizontal fall can transfer its falling impact to Pin 4, which may hit Pin 7. The target here is very small and only practice can help you aim well. But if its two points that matter to you, then you can aim for Pin 4 to get both Pins 4 and 7 Pins 1 and 2, Pins 4 and 7 and Pins 5 and 8 are called right-handed spares. Similarly Pins 1 and 3, Pins 5 and 9 and Pins 6 and 10 are left handed spares. As each pair is just behind each other, when viewed diagonally, they make relatively easy targets. Shooting them cross alley can make a complete hit. - 68 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Pins 3 and 10, and Pins 2 and 7 are called baby splits; having one pin between them (Pin 6 is between 3 and 10, while Pin 4 stands between Pins 2 and 7. They can be hit together, or one can be made to slide over to topple the other. Pins 4, 5 and Pins 5, 6 are easy to hit splits and can be targeted quite accurately, shooting between the pins Bucket Split 7

9

8 4

10 6

5 3

2 1

Pins 2, 4, 5 and 8 make the corners of a diamond-shaped figure, and are known together as a “bucket split”. Although the first three pins (2, 4 and 5) are easy to aim and shoot at, you must set your target as precisely as possible, because you also want to topple the pin behind (Pin 8). A cross alley shot - which is hooked – and using a slightly heavier ball increases the chances of a good hit. All the above combinations of spares may or may not be easy to access. Always, when you miss a strike, hit so well that only a single spare remains … that can be accessed by moving a designated number of boards to the left or right and taking aim accurately. Whatever the system you adopt, it is important to determine the starting point from where you will count boards to move left or right. If hand position, overall stance, swing and speed are consistent, then there is no reason why you should not tackle those spares successfully.

**********

- 69 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 10

Hook-Bowling in Detail The Tilted Axis Delivery Hooked bowling has the capacity to enter the pocket on a wider angle. This gives greater potential to make strikes. Two imaginary lines form the angle. One line is the straight path along which you drive the ball. The other line marks the direction of motion of the ball when it hits the pocket. Since the hooked delivery enters the pocket at a steeper angle than the straight ball, it has greater momentum to topple the pins. The straight ball rolls into the pocket, and affords a certain degree of spin and rotation to the pins. This is considerably less, compared to the kind of impact the hooked delivery will have on the same pins. The hooked delivery imparts a greater spin to pins, because of the tilt in its axis of rotation. (The axis is the imaginary line around which the ball seems to spin. It joins the center of gravity of the ball, to the center of the plane on which the ball moves.) This axis is determined by the angle of the bowler’s hand to the lane, at the time of release. This spinning ball, moving in at an inclined axis, manages to transfer its tilt and momentum to the pins, making them tilt and spin too! This increases the chances that the pins which are hit will topple the other pins. Hook bowling is greatly dependent on the bowling lane conditions and the bowler has to perpetually adjust his style of hooking to cater to the demands of the lane for successful strikes. The skill of reading how much potential the lane affords for hook is very useful indeed. You will be able to predict … • • •

the movement of the ball its angle of hooking the impact it will have in the pocket area … much, much better, once you are equipped with this skill.

If your ideal approach-swing-release game plan is not bringing in the results you expected, you will have these common queries •

Is the set up area all wrong? - 70 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• • •

Maybe I need a new ball? What went wrong with the release? Why did the ball roll away from the pocket?

The answer to most of these queries may be the failure to read the changing lane conditions, which could have marred your perfect attempt of a drive. To know how well you can fine-tune your game to cater to different lane conditions, you must first be aware of the possibilities a lane can offer.

The Lane Surface You know that a single bowling lane is 60 feet long (about 18.228 metres). The width is 1.668 metres. Usually the dimensions are exact to the millimetre, to maintain a universal standard. The boards are made of maple and pine. The boards are laminated with linoleum and plastic. Every bowling centre becomes eligible to hold bowling contests, only after being certified after an expert examination. The pattern of coating is measured against the constant standard of friction, designated for the surface. Special equipment is used for these tests. The oil used for lanes and the pattern in which it is applied, determine the factors causing ball movement. The rules followed for oil application are • • • • • • •

Oil application begins from the foul line and proceeds in the direction of the pocket A dry zone is maintained beyond an area covered by oil. The ratio of the oiled area to the dry area is determined by certain rules, for competitions (Discussed in chapter 2) Generally oil is applied for the first 30 feet of the lane from the foul line and the rest is left dry to help the ball turn and hook Oil application is measured in two parameters ‰ Length of the layer, starting from the foul line ‰ Number of layers of oil applied. The lane may have one layer of light oil and another heavy or medium There are many combinations in which oil is applied as medium, medium heavy, light medium, etc

There is no minimum or maximum length within which oil needs to be applied Oil applied is renewed constantly as ball movement distributes the oil around the lane, changing the pattern. - 71 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


*****

Adjustments for Dry/Oily Lanes • • •

If oil conditions cause the ball to hit Pin 1 on the left then you have to move further left to get a good strike If Pin1 is hit on the right, you have to move further right to adjust your stance for a better hit Using a hard plastic ball to hook on an oily lane may deflect the ball from the intended path. For that lane you may have to get another ball.

Lane Assessment Basically, reading the lane is checking for oil distribution, and knowing the kind of surface the lane has. But you cannot see the oil on the lane. Even if you can see some of it close to the foul line, there is no way you can detect it 40 feet further! So, to read lanes, you don’t make a visual analysis of the oil presence on 39 boards of its 60 feet. No. You analyze ball reaction on that particular lane. This indicates how the oil may have been distributed. The different variables which influence ball reaction: ¾ Oil pattern ¾ The previous games played, and how the oil patterns may have changed because of that ¾ Lane surface and condition ¾ The weather ¾ Quality of your bowling action As the ball rolls down, learn to determine its break point- the point when the ball starts to hook. Then you will know whether it hooked at the right time, early or late. If the hook came earlier than it should have, then it is possible that ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

The ball just rolls out The energy does not reach the pins The speed of the ball could have been greater It needs more spin and a more inclined axis of spin The oil on the surface was probably less

If the ball hooked a little late then - 72 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


o o o o

There is more oil on the lane than you expected The ball skids too much The speed is more than necessary The spin is high

Based on these observations you can 9 9 9 9

Lessen or increase the speed Add or decrease the spin you transfer to the ball Adjust your position for the presence of less/more oil Impart less/more force to the swing

The adjustments you make can be summarized in the acronym ARSE. 9 9 9 9

Angle needs to be changed Rotation must be lessened or increased Speed may be adjusted Equipment needs to be changed

Try and remember the kind of surface, which consistently gave you a good strike. When the surface does not afford a good hook, check out why it is so. Then make use of the ARSE adjustments so that you are able to bowl just as you intended to. ***** Lane adjustments for great bowling The popularity of bowling has never waned. Technology affords better and better alternatives to equipment, strategies and analyzing trends. It is not easy for all to keep abreast of them, to know the latest manner in which you can get around a specific problem. But you can manage to have a proficient knowledge of 9 9 9 9

Lane layout Adjustments Bowling balls Drilling patterns in the balls

There are numerous alternatives at your disposal to adjust your game plan for the lane conditions ‰ ‰

Your hand position at release can be changed to have a well timed release If the lane is more oily, reduce your pace of approach, speed it up when the lane is dry - 73 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


‰ ‰ ‰

The surface of the ball can be sanded to make it duller and increase friction … this enables a higher tendency for hooking The ball surface can be polished to increase its shine … this reduces friction and controls an over-hooking ball When the oil is in a blocked condition, find out where it is. Then you can allow the ball to drift along till it reaches the drier area, where there is a good backend reaction

In a spotty condition (the reverse of a blocked condition, when the oil is on the outer edges and the inner lane is dry), bowl straight, as the oil near the pocket is not congenial for hooking. Use a urethane ball for bowling in a spotty condition.

High-Score Lanes Synthetic lanes do not soak oil. Oil gets distributed across the lane, or the ball carries it off. Friction raises the potential for the hook; a drier back end allows ball to hook better in the lane closer to the pocket. Earlier, the lanes were intentionally patterned this way to get a better hook. But then, high scores were not “naturally” made … the lane had been engineered for it. This was nicknamed “adult bumper bowling”. Score well on the basis of your game plan, not by relying on a customized lane for inflated scores. Always strive to recognize and adjust to lane conditions. Remember you have a range of options you can access to get into the groove of bowling well. Practice and more practice will build in you the confidence to bowl well, irrespective of awkward or un-supportive lanes. *****

- 74 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


HookingTechnique – How Much to Hook? There are two factors which decide the extent and quality of the hook. One is lane condition. The other, more important factor is the position of your hand when you release the hooked delivery. The extent of hook varies enormously from person to person and even from game to game. How then do you determine the “right” hook, every time? One principle is always constant for successful hooking. The delivery must get to Pin 5. Pin 5, apparently seems to stand as the strongest pin, the most difficult to topple. If you have toppled it, then you have hooked well. Whatever the kind of ball you bowl with, once you strike Pin 5, there is a better possibility of a strike. If Pin 5 stands after you have bowled, it will combine with other pins to make difficult spares. Spare combinations like 2-4-5-7-8, 5-10 or 5-7 are not easily converted to scores. The simple rule for determining how much to hook is – have enough hook to hit Pin 5.

Short hooks/Wide hooks Your fingers create the hook conveyed to the ball; rotating them to various positions can alter both the style and extent of the hook. There are a few known styles of hooked delivery, determined by the amount of rotation the ball receives, by the position of fingers during swing and release.

Power players These bowlers deliver widely hooked deliveries. There is a great momentum conveyed to the ball by the bowler’s use of arm, fingers, wrist and legs. The power of the hook is a direct translation of the excessive force of the limb movements. The maneuver: • •

Middle and ring fingers trace the 6, 7 or 10 o clock position. The thumb exits before the forward swing

Some power players of the Professional bowling Association (PBA) use this maneuver. 9 The middle and ring fingers trace 8, 9 or 10 o clock 9 The wrist remains at a cocked position, though only slightly 9 The thumb is placed as far as it can be stretched away - 75 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


9 The fingers assume the position, maybe right at the beginning of the pushaway 9 Sometimes they space out to the specific position at top of the backswing 9 A few inches before release, the thumb exits 9 If the thumb remains in the ball even after the swing crosses the ankle, hooking potential is affected The style: Power players rely more on power than accuracy to make the strikes. Delivering a wide hook, they cover a wide pocket area, increasing the possibility of a strike. There are two kinds of styles adopted by power players: the open-handed hook, and the cupped-hand hook The former style is usually adopted by the bowlers of today, while the latter characterized the style of yester years. The speed generated by the open-handed hook is higher than that of the cupped hand style. Peter Weber is a power bowler. The grace of his stance, swing and release, belie the sheer power generated into the ball at release. Rudy Kasimakis, a bowler of renown, generates a vigorous spin to the ball. The ball has the effect of a missile in the pocket area as Kasimakis manages to drive with formidable speed and spin on the ball. Controlled power, channeled straight into the pocket, has been the key to success of all the great power players. They coax the ball into a good spin, pack in speed and torque and deliver it with explosive impact on the 10 pins. Power, not accuracy, drives the ball to the strike. The advantage: The most significant advantage of being a power player is that you can combat the everchanging oil patterns (in an alley where many have bowled), by moving a little to the left of the approach (right-handers) or further right (left-handers). This will enable you to: 他 change the path of the ball suitably 他 reduce the possibility of an early hook 他 attain a break point further away *****

- 76 息 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Strokers Strokers deliver the ball with delicate precision, rather than driving it powerfully. While the powered delivery takes the ball across a large number of boards, the stroked delivery does not cross many boards. Strokers allow the ball to enter into the pocket with a shorter hook, which is very effective. This style reduces a later entry of the ball into the pocket. A ball entering late into the pocket leaves behind spares that are difficult to convert. The maneuver • • • • • • •

A free armswing coupled with firm wrist movement The hand position is the same all through the approach and swing The middle and ring fingers trace 7, 8 or 9 o clock The thumb is at the 2 o clock position The fingers rotate to 3 o clock, in a counter clockwise direction, at release The thumb should not go beyond the 12 o clock position, even on the follow through … doing so will translate into an extra amount of spin, which will make the shot less powerful than it ought to be. A power bowler may move the drive 10 to 20 boards, but a stroker manages an effective shot while taking the drive over 4 to 5 boards

Advantage stroker A stroker keeps movements simple, uncomplicated and to the minimum. A clever rotation of fingers at the strategic moment is all that affords a hook to the delivery and a greater possibility of a strike. There are a number of advantages to being a stroker • • • • • •

Stroke players execute shots with characteristic grace. A great approach, easy stroke, error free release and a gentle follow through define the style of a stroker. It is no surprise that such a polished game brings in consistent success An adequately powerful drive compensates for the reduced spin (as compared to power bowlers) to help make a strike Accuracy and consistency qualify every shot of a stroker As the ball enters the pocket on a shorter hook, avoiding steep angles, difficult spares are few and far between The energy consumed in stroke bowling is much less than in power bowling The technique of infusing power to a stroke delivery rewards a bowler with a great scoring ability. Bowlers who adopt this form of bowling have been top scorers in most categories.

The PBA Star Strokers - 77 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The list of superstar strokers includes Dave Husted, Brian Voss, Mike Aulby, David Ozio and Norm Duke. Among those who combine power and the stroke technique are Jeff Lizzi, Danny Wiseman, Parker Bohn III, Rick Steelsmith and Chris Barnes. Two factors will serve you as memory-joggers when you get down to read a lane: • Recognize a lane, based on ball reaction, from one of the several you may have played in • You are not likely to forget the integrated movement of muscles for a good, mediocre and bad throw. The muscle action on a new lane must help you associate it to the stored data in your memory and analyze its implication. To hook effectively, you have to know how to synchronize approach, swing and release to the rotation of the fingers, which create the spin. You have to practice diligently to understand the potential of the lane to turn and hook the ball. You must work at becoming adept at making the requisite adjustments to bowl well, no matter what the lane has to offer.

********************

- 78 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 11

Choosing Your Equipment

The ball you use for bowling comes in various colors and weights. They are usually expensive and can also be custom made for you. Bowling was done with wooden balls, long, long, ago, and with rubber balls till quite recent times. You may still find some rubber balls in the older bowling centers. Barium, and/or similar elements, usually makes up the core of the ball. The core determines the weight of the ball. This core is enclosed with a shell of a material, which is called the coverstock of the bowling ball.

Ball material There are four types of material of which balls are made today, to cater to the demands of a vast range of playing techniques and lane conditions: 1. Plastic 2. Urethane 3. Reactive - 79 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


4. Particle

Plastic The ball made of polyester material is called the “plastic” ball. Plastic bowling balls have been around for the past four decades. The “house balls” (balls stacked in a bowling center for your use) are mainly of the polyester material. A polyester ball • Is less expensive and usually more durable. • Is hard and of a low friction quality • Maintains a straight path, because of its low friction. • Is ideal for beginners who tend to bowl straight • Used by seasoned bowlers for spare shooting and in dry lanes

Urethane The urethane (actually poly urethane) ball made its appearance about 30 years ago. It was the result of a search for a ball with a softer cover and more hooking capability. A urethane ball: • • • • •

Has a higher frictional property than the polyester ball Tends to have a higher hooking capability Can be controlled in its hooking potential by polishing or getting it sanded Is ideal for players who start to learn hook bowling Is popular among seasoned bowlers for hooked drives on dry lanes

Reactive Resin A more recent entrant to the bowling scene, reactive resin, can make the ball perform favorably on a lane surface, which is a combination of dry and oily areas. It is made, by adding resin particles, to a urethane coverstock. The reactive resin ball • • • •

Has a greater hooking ability than the urethane ball Moves the ball more efficiently on an oily lane Can provide an effective back end action because of a greater possibility of skid, and a good hooking potential Is the most preferred coverstock for the seasoned bowler on any lane condition - 80 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Particle Urethane balls are easier to control, while the reactive resin balls equip the bowler with the power to adapt to different lane conditions. The particle ball is a combination of materials, which can integrate both these qualities within one coverstock. The coverstock of the particle ball is made of polyurethane material, with resin content. To this resin are added textured particles of ceramics and glass. The blend of materials provides the particle ball with the following formidable assets, although restricted to an oily lane: • • • • •

A smooth grip of the surface of the lane A hooking style which can be kept in control The extent of hook is much larger than that provided by balls of other coverstock materials The same potential for back end action as the reactive resin ball has Smoothness of execution, all through the bowling action

Experiments are currently being carried out - varying the particles’ quantity and size - to extend its’ excellent capability to dry, medium and other types of lanes. The most significant part of bowling for a perfect strike is the precise time of the break, and the energy carried by the ball for the pin impact. So when you choose a ball, give a lot of thought to the matter of how the ball breaks and when it does, rather than deciding to buy it only in terms of the hook it can provide. Many ball manufacturing companies make it a practice to have a team of professional and amateur players attached to the companies. They test the ball to design it exclusively for different lane conditions and for different professional levels. They extensively use computer software to develop the ideal coverstock for the ball. CAD (Computer Aided Design) helps design the core of the ball. Technological advances and the growing popularity of the game have resulted in the design of 27 kinds of bowling balls to counter the vagaries of 27 kinds of lane conditions! Each ball is characterized by its’ unique physical features and the way it conforms to a specific lane condition. You know that changing the position from where you bowl, controlling the swing and managing to bowl at the precise time, are all adjustments you make to come up against varying lane conditions. A ball which can help you bowl better for the same lane can be chosen once you know how to identify it … - 81 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


There are three main aspects of a ball design : 1. The covering surface of the ball 2. The thumb finger weight 3. The side weights

More About the Coverstock The outer covering of the ball can be hard or porous. A hard ball, with a low porosity, does not allow the ball to grip on to the surface of the lane. A ball with a soft covering and a high porosity level enables the ball to have a grip on the lane. What does this mean in terms of bowling?

Hard or Soft Material? The soft porous variety: 9 A soft and highly porous ball helps you bowl well in oily lane conditions by enabling the ball to ‰ revert from skidding into a roll quite early ‰ have a grip on the lane ‰ continue to have a firm grip on the lane when it hooks 9 Using the same soft covered porous ball for a dry lane will affect the shot adversely 9 The early roll and the ability of the ball to grip on to the lane will lend it a high hooking ability, more than you intended 9 On a lane which is neither too oily or too dry, the porous, soft ball will deflect to the left, and you hit the left of Pin 1 9 On a very dry lane the ball may just move right into the channel, with too sharp a hook The hard, low porosity variety: 9 On dry lanes the hard covered ball does not hold on firmly to the lane. As a consequence the hook will be a controlled and desired one 9 It manages to skid for a longer time and brings in the hook later 9 On an oily lane the ball will skid longer than necessary and the hook is delayed. 9 A perfect release will be marred by the undue delay in the ball’s reaction

- 82 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


A poly urethane ball is highly porous, good for oily lanes, while a polyester or rubber ball serves well in dry lanes

The Thumb Finger Weight Weighting is a term which refers to the placement of the drilled holes with respect to the weighted core of the ball. When the weight block is concentrated closer to the drilled hole meant for your thumb, the ball is said to have thumb weight. A ball of this type is capable of reverting out of a skid, and gets into a roll relatively early. This helps it perform well on an oily lane. A finger weighted ball has the core of its weight concentrated nearer to the two drilled holes meant for your middle and ring fingers. Compared to a thumb weighted ball, a finger weighted ball skids for a longer time and takes longer to revert to rolling. Bowling with a finger weighted ball on a dry lane helps you perform better For a medium lane, which is neither too oily nor too dry, a ball which has its weight concentrated at a point equidistant from the thumb and finger holes, would be ideal.

The Side Weight The side weight describes position the thumb and finger holes are drilled - whether to the left or to the right – relative to the weighted core. If the thumb and finger holes fall to the left of the weight block of the core, the ball will be heavier on the right side. This is called right side weight. Conventionally, the right side weight is considered positive. Similarly if the thumb and finger holes are drilled on the right of the weighted core, then the ball will be heavier on the left side. This is called left side weight. This is considered negative. A bowling ball with a right positive weight has a good hooking potential can acquire an increased rate of sideways spin. A ball which has no side weight (when the weight block is equidistant from all the three drilled holes) does not offer any tendency to hook. A ball with a left side weight manages to deter the hook appreciably and helps the ball roll over more. (The rules of the left and right side weights are reversed for left-handers) - 83 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The House Ball When you set out to bowl the first time, chances are you will bowl with the ball the bowling center provides. This is called the house ball. There are numerous balls to choose from. You will wonder about the right color, weight and material of the ball you have to choose. You may also wonder why that the ball seems to roll normally in spite of the three holes in it, and why the balls of different weights seem to be of the same size. How would you know the ball for you? What do you see in the ball racks of the alley? Shining balls in different colors, with their weight inscribed on them. Some bowling centers offer you guidance as to which ball you should opt for, as a first time bowler. But to many people the bowling ball still remains something of a mystery. What is it made of? Why doesn't it go out of balance with those big holes in it? How come the balls are all the same size, yet differ in weight? Bowling centers usually stock polyester balls for the beginner. They come in a wide variety of colors weights (ranging from six to sixteen pounds). Most centers have balls of specific weights in specific colors

Ball Dimensions The Weight: Theoretically, a bowler should bowl with a ball which is equal to 1/10th of his weight. Children can bowl with balls weighing 6 to 8 lbs, women bowl with balls weighing 10 to 12 lbs, while men use balls of weight 15 or 16 lbs, unless they are of a slight build, in which case they should choose a lighter ball. This simple test can tell you whether a ball is of the right weight for you • • •

Keep elbows locked and arms parallel to the floor Keeping palm facing upwards, place one hand on top of the other Hold the ball on your palms - 84 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• •

If the ball can stay on your palms, without shaking, for five seconds, then this ball is not too heavy. If it is not possible, then the ball is too heavy for you to control, so try a lighter ball

Now take a tentative swing of the ball. If the swing is easy on your muscles, and if the maximum weight of the ball is felt at the lowermost point of the downswing, then you have the right ball.

Drilled holes The ring finger hole is 1/8’ further from the thumb than the middle finger hole. This distance is called the span. House balls are usually drilled for the right-hander.

Thumb Size: When you insert the thumb into the drilled hole, it should touch the edge of the hole all round its circumference, although it should also allow you to move your thumb freely. This is the ideal thumbhole size.

Finger Size: After you ensure that the thumb fits in well, (slide your thumb in and out to verify this) check out the middle finger size. Now, keep the thumb remaining in its hole. Spread the middle finger across the hole, without putting it in. The crease of the middle joint of your second finger, closest to the thumb, should be ¼ “ away from innermost edge of the hole, while you still have the thumb inserted. Once that is checked out, you can now put your middle and ring finger into the holes. If your fingers can be put into the holes easily up to the second knuckle, then you have a good fit. The fit should also ensure that the fingers are free but firm inside the holes. With all three fingers in the holes (middle fingers up to the knuckle joints and the thumb fully inserted), lift up the ball and turn over your hand so that the weight of the ball is centered on the lower part of your upturned palm. If the measurements and the weight of the ball are suitable for you, the ball can now be held without any strain on your fingers. While checking the ball for size, you put in the thumb first. But this is the only time you do so. Whenever you bowl, you grip first with the fingers and then the thumb. - 85 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


When the ball fits well on your fingers and the weight of the ball is just right, you will feel no strain during a game. Ill fitting balls tend to cause injuries like tendonitis, deep calluses on your hand, and blisters. Muscle pull may also result, because of bowling with a heavier ball.

When You Roll the Ball: In spite of the drilled holes, the ball moves like an evenly-balanced sphere. How is that possible? It is because of weight blocks placed in the ball to compensate for the weight lessened by the drilling. Hence rolling a lightweight ball, at a lower speed may cause it to hook in an unpredictable way. There are two ways you can surmount this problem 1. Either change the ball, or 2. try an end-over-end roll, which may keep the ball path controlled Based on the three criteria mentioned above (its weight, hole dimensions and the way it rolls), you can choose the ball, which helps you bowl well. Before you buy your own ball and shoes you can use the house ball and the house shoes of the bowling center.

Choosing House Shoes House shoes are made of leather soles for both feet. So, a left or right-hander can wear the same pair of house shoes. • • • •

Check the soles of the shoes. The swing-side foot with a traction sole can counter-balance the sliding foot. Rubber soles are better suited for this purpose than leather. So when you get your own bowling shoes, see that the swingside foot has a rubber sole, while the slide heel is encased in a shoe with a leather sole. When you hire the center’s shoes, see that they fit well. Wearing the size either smaller, or larger will make you uncomfortable and reduce the balance of your gait Make sure the shoes have a clean sole. You can rub the sole of your swing side heel with a piece of “Scotch Brite”, to give it a better grip. Use a thin sandpaper to rub away the dirt on the sole of the sliding foot. In case there are particles adhered to it, your sliding will be disrupted.

Once you start bowling regularly, it is advisable to opt for buying your own ball and shoes. How do you go about buying a bowling ball? - 86 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


How To Buy a Used Bowling Ball Sometimes, you may opt for a used bowling ball. It is less expensive and can be as good as a new one. Professional shops often deal in balls, which have been used by bowlers on the competition circuits and are still in a very good condition. Garage sales and pawn shops, offer used balls for sale too, but you may have to be cautious about buying them, as they may be slightly damaged, because they have not been kept in a good storing place. Before purchasing a used ball, you’ll want to thoroughly check it: 9 Check the cover for abrasions made by prior use 9 Check for deep cracks caused by persistent use 9 Determine whether the core of the ball and its cover have been well adhered to each other 9 Tap the ball to detect any hollow sound. If the ball seems all right to you on these checks you can buy it and then hand it over to a professional driller. The driller will re drill and plug the previous holes to prepare the ball for your specific grip.

Selecting a Customized Ball 9 Buy bowling balls, shoes and a carry bag from a bowling pro-shop 9 When you want to try the ball for size, see that your fingers have not been dipped in water for the past two hours. If you have, then chances are the grip holes may get drilled larger than needed 9 Try out some stretch exercises for your hand before you go in for the fit 9 You can stretch your fingers to test their span. You can even practice a few shots before the measurement for the drilling of holes. This will enable placing the holes to suit the correct span of your fingers 9 Before the ball is customized for you, tell the shop operator if you: ¾ have arthritis, or any similar problem ¾ have to work often with a slippery medium or chemicals, such as drying solvents. These are likely to reduce your grip on the ball. The ball maker will make changes in the ball weight and the way the holes fit, to enable a firm grip for you. There are other criteria which can help you select a ball … - 87 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The Core The core of the ball determines the break point of the ball. It is instrumental in making the ball break at a certain point and for the shape of the break. ‰

‰ ‰

‰ ‰ ‰

When the core of the ball is small, it is usually very heavy, with the concentration of the weight of the ball packed into the middle. o This ball is the type which picks up speed well, and breaks early o It can be set on a roll and will proceed in an arcing curve after the break point A ball with a large core will be lighter in the middle as compared to the small core ball The weight of the large core ball is distributed around the middle and closer to the covers of the ball o This ball moves at a slower pace, and tends to have a late break If you want the ball to move up the length of the lane, and have a late but sharp brake, you must get a ball with a tall core. Balls with a tall core break harder, just when they begin to hook So for you the ball to choose would be a tall core reactive resin ball. o This ball can help improve the angle of entry of the ball into the pocket

Note: a ball that moves a long way, and breaks in sharply to the pocket, is usually difficult to keep in control. Therefore, as a beginner, it is better you choose a ball which moves in a normal manner and depends on the swing of your hand to attempt a strike. What you expect from the ball, by way of aiding you drive it in an effective hook, can be discussed with the professional driller. He will be able to provide the right ball for your requirement with customized drilling.

The Polish Another important factor that influences the extent of hook in a ball, is the degree of polish it has been given. Dull-coated balls present more potential for a hook, while the brightly polished ones have a stilted movement during hooking. Whatever the requirement, the surface can acquire a bright or dull coat, at any point of time. This is done in any professional sports shop.

The best choice for you would be … The big question…. Which is the bowling ball for you? The ball you use will depend on the level of player you are; whether you are a beginner, a regular player or an expert or professional. - 88 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The Beginner If you are a beginner, your bowling style is just developing. You may have just identified your strong points and know what style will produce effective results. In this case, the best kind of bowling ball for you would be … • • • •

A polyester ball ( quite inexpensive compared to the poly urethane ball) with a medium polish of the cover stock, not too dull, not too shiny The ball should have no side weight, finger nor thumb weight This means that the weight blocks are placed equidistant from the drilled holes This ball will help you develop a consistency in most lane conditions, though you may have to make certain stance and movement alterations for lane adjustments like 9 Movement to the right or left of the board 9 Applying wrist techniques to lessen or heighten the potential of the hook

The Medium Level Bowler The medium level bowler is very committed to the game and bowls almost on alternate days. He also takes part in competitions. For a bowler of this caliber - with a pronounced style and pretty high scoring potential - the best options would be to have two balls, one for oily lanes and one for dry conditions For oily lanes • • •

A highly porous poly-urethane ball For the right hander (a) Thumb weighted (b) no side weight (c) or positive right side weight For the left hander (a)Finger weight (b) no side weight (c) negative left side weight

For dry lanes •

A low porosity polyester ball

For the right hander (a) Thumb weighted (b) no side weight (c) or positive right side weight

For the left hander (a)Finger weight (b) no side weight (c) negative left side weight - 89 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The Advanced Bowler An advanced bowler is one who regularly participates in competitions and makes a mark in them. He has a distinct style and many techniques in his repertoire which enable him to achieve success in his various tours. Also he will confront a variety of lane conditions when on a competitive tour. For this kind of a player, it is good to have at least six bowling balls. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

One for dry lanes with negative left side weight for oily back ends for the righthander Positive right side weight for left-handers One for dry to medium (pine) dry lanes, with a positive right side weight for righthander(for medium and dry back ends) Negative left side weight for left-hander The balls for the above two conditions should have a hard coverstock of polyester Highly waxed and low porosity texture With finger weights These traits will enable the ball to have a long skid and a roll which comes in late Four bowling balls for oily to medium conditions All four high porosity balls should be of a poly-urethane cover stock, having soft dull finish Two for oily conditions on pine wood with thumb weights One of them with right side weight for medium to dry back ends and the other with left side weight for oily backends (Assume the reverse for left-handers) Two more for dry pine lanes with finger weights One of them with right side weight for dry back ends The other should have left side weight for oily back ends Please reverse these specifications for the left-hander

Professional drillers can get ready your set of bowling balls exactly to your specifications. With these for your arsenal, you are now ready to confront lanes of any description. *********

- 90 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 12

Scoring

The game of bowling The game of American ten-pin bowling is made up of 10 frames. The player delivers two balls in each of the first nine games. In the tenth game the player has a chance of delivering the third ball if he gets a strike or a spare with the first two balls. Each bowler, in the regular order, must complete every frame. The Baker System team game is a modified format of the game consisting of teams of two or more bowlers. • All team members follow each other in the same order, each bowling a complete frame, until a complete game is bowled. • Ten frames are then combined to calculate a team game

Scoring of the game The scoring table has two boxes in every frame, one for each delivery. Only the final (10th) frame has three boxes, for the possibility of strike or spare in the final frame.

- 91 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The score of the pinfall, strikes, and extra deliveries after strikes or spares (in the 10th frame) get cumulated throughout the game, and the final score is the total you have after the 10 frames are completed.

How are the Scores Credited? •

Except when a strike is scored, the number of pins knocked down by the first delivery of a player, is marked next to the small square on the top right hand corner of that frame in the score sheet.

If none of the pins are hit in the second delivery a dash (“⎯“) is marked inside the square.

The total of the two deliveries will be recorded at once

A strike is made when all the 10 pins are hit by the first delivery of a frame. The number of pins knocked down in the second delivery is written in the small square

What do the Symbols on the Scoreboard Stand For? Symbol Strike Miss Spare Foul

What it means X / F

Counting the Score for Strikes • • • • • •

The credit for the strike (10 points) is added to the total of the pins knocked down in the next two deliveries Two consecutive strikes are called a “double”. In this case, the count for the first strike is 20 plus the number of pins knocked down by the first delivery following the second strike Triple or Turkey: A hat trick of three consecutive strikes is called a triple or a turkey. The count for the first strike is 30. To attain the maximum bowling score of 300, the player must bowl 12 consecutive strikes and 120 pins are knocked down. When all the pins left standing by the first delivery are knocked down by the second delivery, it is called a spare The count for a spare is 10 plus the number of pins knocked down in the next delivery - 92 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Strikes and Spares in the Last Frame • • • •

If the bowler manages a spare in the last frame, then one more delivery is required, before final scores can be tallied When you score a strike or a spare, your score is not credited immediately. The scores of the strikes and spares are added to the score of the next frame as a bonus. If the bowler makes a strike in the 10th frame, he is given two more deliveries If the bowler makes a spare in the 10th frame, he is allowed one more delivery

What are splits? A split is a set up of the pins left standing after the first delivery, the head pin has fallen and at least one pin is down between the remaining pins, for example: • • •

Pin 6 is down in the straight line formed by Pins 3, 6, 10, while Pins 3 and 10 remain Pin 8 is down but Pins 7 and 9 remain Pin 1 is down while Pins 5 and 6 remain, that is, at least one pin is down, immediately ahead of two pins

A split is represented by a circle, (O). Other symbols may also be used.

What is an Average Score? The total score divided by the number of games you have played, gives the average score for that score. The typical average score for a woman is about 153 while the typical average score for a man is about 173.

What is a Handicap? A handicap is an equalizing factor which allows one team or one individual to compete on a level with others of a lesser or greater skill. Adding all averages on the team, and subtracting the total from a predetermined mark, you can calculate the handicap. Scoring for games without handicaps is called Scratch bowling.

What Constitutes a Legal Delivery?

- 93 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


A legal delivery is made when the ball is released from the bowler’s hand, crosses the foul line into the playing lane or territory •

A delivery is made only by manual means

No device should be attached to the ball which either detaches itself from the ball or is affixed to it during its movement, after delivery

A player, with permission from ABC/WIBC, can use special equipment to help him grasp and/or deliver the ball only if it is in the place of his hand which has been lost by amputation or otherwise

The equipment must not provide impetus or mechanical thrust to the ball

Permission may be granted only when the player submits: 9 The doctor’s certificate confirming the disability 9 A diagram and explanation of the equipment being used

What is a Foul? When any part of the player’s body crosses the foul line during or after the delivery, a foul occurs. The ball is in play after the delivery, until the same player or another is on the approach position for the next delivery. When a foul is recorded, the player receives no credit for the pins knocked down, though the delivery is counted for the frame. When objects from the player’s pocket falls on the foul line (pen/card/etc) it is not considered a foul. The player must solicit permission to retrieve the fallen object from beyond the foul line

What is a Deliberate Foul? When a player deliberately fouls so as to benefit by the calling of a foul, he is credited with a zero pinfall score and will not be allowed the following deliveries of that frame

- 94 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


What is Apparent Foul? A foul is declared and recorded if the automatic foul detecting machine or foul judge fails to note the foul, nevertheless it is apparent to : ¾ Both captains of the two teams or one or more members of the opposing team ¾ The official scorer ¾ A tournament official

What is a Dead Ball? When a delivery does not count the ball is called a dead ball. The displaced pins have to be re-spotted, and the player is allowed to repeat the delivery. A ball is declared dead when • • • • • • • • • •

After delivery, it is noted that one or more pins are missing from the deck A human pinsetter interferes with the standing pins before the ball reaches the pins A human pinsetter removes or interferes with a fallen pin before it stops rolling A player bowls in the wrong lane A player bowls out of turn One player from each team bowls on the wrong lane in the pair of lanes allotted for the game A player is interfered with by a pinsetter, another player, spectator, or any moving object, as the ball is being delivered or before delivery is completed At this point the player has the option to accept credit for the pinfall, or have a dead ball called Any pin is moved or knocked, after the player releases the ball, but before the ball reaches the pins The delivered ball is intercepted by a foreign object

What is Forfeit? When there is an unreasonable delay in any game, and if a player refuses to proceed with the game, the game or the series is forfeited

The Approach

- 95 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Any foreign substance on any part of the approach, which impedes other players having normal conditions of play, is prohibited This includes (but is not limited to) ‰

Talcum powder

‰

Pumice and resin on shoes

‰

Soft rubber soles or heels that rub off on the approach

To organize leagues and tournaments, bowling is done and the scoring counted in accordance to the rules mentioned above. The competitions must follow the WIBC bylaws, ABC Constitution Rules and Regulations. The events must be organized on WIBC/ABC certified bowling lanes. Only equipment approved by WIBC/ABC may be used in the tournament. (Source: http://www.bowl.com/bowl/abc/common/rules/searchable.html?file=ch2.html)

**********

- 96 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 13

The Mental Game To attain excellence in any field or activity, you need to have talent, determination, perseverance and patience. But there is one aspect which provides the impetus for these four virtues to reach their highest level of realization: your mental attitude. The right frame of mind infuses you with the enthusiasm, and a perfect sense of balance and poise to come out a winner, in any activity. Bowling is no exception. For this remarkable game, the right mental attitude is particularly important to make you both enjoy and excel in the game. The more you play and learn the intricacies of the game, the more you start depending on your mental make-up to perform well. It has been noted that at the topmost level of playing, 90% of the game is your mental preparation for it. Naturally, anxiety and stress will deter you from reaching the top. The physical and mental aspects of the game should coordinate with and complement each other, to achieve success. The following aspects can help develop a mental attitude that leads to a successful game.

Management of Stress Life goes on with its kaleidoscope of conflicting fortunes and feelings. Not everyone who steps up to the approach line is the happiest person. Add to this the pressure of wanting to make your mark in the game. The odds are you would be both excited and distracted to afford the optimum concentration required for the game. How do you confront such a situation? These are the things you can do 9 Deep breathing exercises help you relax and reduce anxiety. You can do this while you wait for your turn to bowl. 9 Identify the factors that are causing you muscular stress. Practice an appropriate muscle relaxing technique to alleviate the tension 9 Combining breathing exercise with muscle relaxation drills can effectively become a holistic approach to alleviate stress in general 9 Try to acquire the moral support of a positive thinking person, who is just as interested in your goals as you are

- 97 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Positive Self-Talk Making positive suggestions to yourself helps you relax and feel confident before and during a game: 9 On a paper, make a list of positive statements, which encourage you in short sentences 9 List out the positive aspects of your style and performance. Keep them with you and repeat these statements to yourself; this is an effective way to ward off negative thoughts. 9 For instance if you catch yourself clenching and unclenching your fingers, your muscles taught, and with a frown on your forehead, you know yoxu are worried. Talk positively to yourself. You will feel much better and more inclined to play in a relaxed manner 9 A bit of healthy criticism will do you a lot of good, but you should avoid selfrecrimination, which is detrimental to your self-confidence. 9 Make it a point to have these positive thoughts running constantly at the back of your mind. It helps you not just in the game, but also in your general attitude towards life.

Mental Imagery The bowler must have a clear mental picture of his bowling action. 9 Draw a mental portrait of yourself at the set up, during the approach, when executing the armswing, when delivering the ball, and of the follow through, to achieve a perfect result. 9 The picture is of the execution of a delivery, and not of a strike itself. 9 Let this series of events run like a motion picture in your mind ‌ you must have the ability to visualize it in an instant. 9 Such an exercise enables your neuro-muscular system to help organize the muscle action, in preparation of a performance of the standard you desire.

Concentration Concentration is a quality that means different things to different people. There are some who memorize the toughest of lines, with people around them, and with the TV or music system on. There are others who need to learn the lines in complete solitude, in silence, without any other distraction.

- 98 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Depending on how you need to concentrate during a bowling game, you will have to focus your attention on the game. If it is possible only by waiting for your turn silently, without indulging in conversation with the other players, do so. Alternatively, if you can reach the desired level of concentration more effectively by relaxing with friends, then do not hesitate to have a friendly word with the other players. In fact, just a nod and a smile may be adequate to orient you into the right level of concentration, as most players (including you) will be preoccupied with the preparation for the shot, both mentally and physically. During tournaments and competitions, the crowds may distract you. It is by sheer will power, that you will need to maintain a control on your emotions to persistently maintain your calm attitude and concentration for the game. You will have to treat the applause, shouts and loud cheering from the spectators, as a part of the bowling environment. Continue with your game, in an unflustered manner.

Self-Confidence Knowledge, awareness and competence are the stepping-stones to attain a high level of self-confidence. 9 Make it a point to be aware of the intricacies of the game. Have the ability convert the knowledge you have imbibed into a superior bowling action 9 Have a clear cut idea of what you want to achieve in terms of the game 9 Practice diligently and regularly to be sure of your bowling action 9 Concentration, a well-defined mental imagery of the game, positive self-talk and appreciable stress management, naturally leads to the strengthening of your selfconfidence.

The Mental Approach You may approach the game with equanimity, you may be terribly excited, or you may show little interest in the game. There are so many ways to mentally approach a game. The emotional state of a person is too elusive to be standardized across a cross section of people. You can however be aware of the right approach, which can get you the results you have worked for. If you are highly excited •

Your muscles tighten up with the rush of adrenalin - 99 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


• •

Decision making is influenced by strong emotions All these factors lead to an average or poor performance

If you feel disinterest or reluctance for the game • • • •

The will to perform well seems absent A feeling of lethargy dominates the thought processes Level of concentration is low Adrenaline level is decreased enough to discourage optimum muscle coordination and action

Remember the mental approach you had before a successful bowling action • • • • •

Try to lock it in your memory and access it whenever you get ready to bowl Be enthusiastic, but not too excited about the game. Be relaxed, but not so casual as to lose interest in the game Have a realistic but challenging goal, the achieving of it is both possible and commendable Having unreachable goals can gradually tend to make you feel inadequate about your performance

Develop a feeling of equanimity over the results of your performance. If it is good 9 Let it encourage you to perform similarly or better in the future 9 It should not lead to overconfidence or complacency If it is poor • • • • •

Analyze the bowling action. Have the mental strength to face your faults Make a move to critically analyze and correct them Let it not detract you from the enthusiasm you feel for the game You can look forward to a better performance in the future

How the Pro’s Manage - 100 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


When will you rise to the level of very successful professional bowlers, in terms of mental attitude? For it is an excellent mental attitude, coupled with formidable talent that has rewarded them superstar status in the game.

Here are a few factors, which are strikingly common among a majority of bowlers, as regards their mental preparation for a game/competition. These tactics not only build up self-confidence admirably, they also help you relocate belief in yourself after a mediocre performance ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰

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Clearly locate every problem in your game and seek a way to solve it. If certain situations demand changes, have the courage to make them It is important that you are confident about and believe in the change, and it has not been implemented because you saw someone else do so When you encounter a difficulty, try to remember when you had last faced a similar situation, and how you had solved the problem successfully. Implement the same change now Watch tapes of your good performances again and again, so you can sharply identify the specific combination of actions that brings out the best bowling performance in you Be justly proud of your successes, without getting overconfident Look back at your mistakes only to analyze and correct them, never to get discouraged.

Setting Goals An essential part of readying your mental attitude for a game is to set your goal. The goals you set are meant to be achieved. Let the goals be challenging and realistic. There is no point in aiming too high and experiencing disappointment time and again on nonrealization of these goals. Goals should be performance and not result oriented. The way to do it 9 Make a list of the performance goals you want to set for yourself 9 You must have a clear idea of your priorities, you must know how important each of the goals is to you, and how it relates to what you finally want to achieve 9 Now write each goal on a separate piece of paper 9 Under it, list down the strategies you will need to attain the goals 9 Again, under each strategy, you can list out the set of actions which define the strategy

- 101 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Compare every performance with the stated goals. List the goals in such a manner that it is possible to progressively grade yourself for every significant improvement you make in your performance. It is also important to feel encouraged about your progress and honestly deal with your mistakes Carry the list with you, so that you can have a look at the papers often enough. The goals should be clear-cut and well remembered. Why are performance-oriented goals better? Performance oriented goals lay stress more on the execution of the bowling action, rather than the result. It is easy to analyze and correct actions to reach these goals. Motivation is high and anxiety levels easily manageable, as you progressively attain the goals with dedicated practice. It is all about playing the game well, without undue concern of a mandatory win. Consistent good performances will gradually and surely beget consistent success.

- 102 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Chapter 14

Frequently Asked Questions

# Are they any unwritten rules for bowling? Unwritten rules are there. They are what you obey to follow the etiquette of the game. These rules make the game fun for all, and help maintain an easy camaraderie in the atmosphere, so common in bowling centers. ¾ In case you have to absent yourself from a game, inform your team captain, or other team members in advance, so they do not waste time, waiting for you. ¾ Be punctual. Do not make the others in your team or the rival teams wait for you. ¾ Always see that when one player is on approach, another does not begin his game too. In case two players get ready simultaneously, then the bowler on the lane in the left, retreats to allow the other player have the turn ¾ Wear the bowling shoes when you walk in for a game, after removing your street shoes. Never wear wet shoes into the alley. They may tend to stick to the surface of the floor and make you lose balance ¾ Place the street shoes at a place you are instructed to - 103 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


¾ Never play with the personal ball of another player. If you need one, choose the house ball of the center ¾ Avoid teasing or calling out to the player who gets ready for his approach. It is not right to distract him while he needs to concentrate on the game.

# How do I locate a good bowling coach? To locate a coach, you can ask: a) b) c) d) e)

A professional player you know The proprietor of the bowling center you play at Proprietors of other bowling centers Other players who visit the center Representatives of the PBA

A good coach must: a) b) c) d) e)

Be patient Be sharply observant Be capable of identifying and correcting your weaknesses Help you save time with his helpful suggestions and hints Have precise knowledge of ball fits and weights, and what equipment best suits you f) Be effectively capable of solving your problems in bowling g) Be Aware of the precise balance between “the right way to do things” and “the freedom of variation” That is, a coach must be able to help you incorporate changes in your bowling action where it is allowed and be firm about not allowing you to make changes where it isn’t. You can go over to watch the coach teach another student. You can identify a good coach if he or she: a) b) c) d) e)

Analyzes mistakes objectively Suggests changes without references to the personal traits of the player Observes the practice attentively Confidently answers queries, without appearing superior Never avoids repeating and demonstrating instructions when the student encounters problems in following them. f) Does not include unnecessary facts, figures and illustrations to intimidate the student g) Rather, he makes classes interesting with apt references to people who have succeeded and are known for excellent execution, in order to motivate and encourage his students - 104 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


# What is the RG Differential in a bowling ball? RG stands for radius of gyration. Radius of gyration measures the weight distribution of the ball with respect to its moment of inertia. If I is the moment of inertia then RG is the quotient when the square root of I is divided by the weight of the ball. In simpler terms, RG will tell you how resistant the ball is to a rotary motion, because of the concentration of its mass. RG Differential of a ball is the difference between its maximum and minimum RG axis. It will indicate the track flare potential of the ball on the track. Track Flare is the side-by-side rings traced by the ball, as it spins and then rolls down the lane. The phenomenon occurs because the ball continues changing its axis of rotation, in an attempt to revert to spinning round its original axis of rotation. A ball with a low RG Differential has its mass close to its center of gravity. This ball will get into an early roll and facilitate a smooth, well-planned hook. It is ideal for lanes which are oily, where an early hook is preferred. In contrast, a ball with a high RG count will have its mass further away from the center of gravity. This ball will skid for a longer time and the breakpoint comes in later than usual. The ball is best suited for dry lanes and other lane conditions when a powerful but delayed hook is preferred

# How do I clean a bowling ball? You can take your ball to a pro shop for polishing. This does not affect the surface of the ball, as polishing only brings the ball back to its original condition. To clean the ball at home, you can use alcohol. Rub the ball with alcohol. Alcohol is neutral to the material of the coverstock and will not tamper with its measure of hardness or shine. The double advantage of an alcohol-based cleaner is that any excess oil and dirt on the ball are effectively removed, and after a time all traces of alcohol evaporate completely from the surface of the ball. Also, it is relatively inexpensive.

# A friend of mine said his bowling ball was baked. Why would anyone bake it? And how does one dish-wash a ball? Baking - 105 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Your friend probably bowls with a reactive resin ball. The problem with this coverstock is the shell is capable of absorbing oil and dirt only too well, to the extent that the ball’s original reactive nature is almost nullified. Neither can the ball be cleaned, nor sanded back to its original condition. It is in times like this you resort to baking. Baking a ball has no scientific proof to authenticate its effectiveness. Yet “baked” balls have reverted back to their reacting nature. The process is simple enough. The ball is placed in an oven and the heat is maintained quite low. When the oil oozes out on the surface, it is wiped off. The time period of the process depends on the amount of oil absorbed by the ball. You need to keep a stock of towels handy, for the wiping off. After the baking and wiping, rub alcohol on the ball, and wipe it clean to complete the process. There are varied results on urethane balls on baking them. Never ever try baking plastic or polyester balls! They will go out of shape due to the heat. Dishwashing William H Rollins was the first to use and recommend the method of dishwashing the bowling ball. It is a simple procedure. a) b) c) d) e)

Clear the dishwasher of all the clean and dirty dishes Keep it empty Place the bowling ball on the lower rack Add the soap and run the usual dishwashing cycle The procedure rids the ball of excess dirt and oil

# What are foul lights? The foul line is the line beyond which the ball moves towards the pocket. Just like there are boundary or court lines for games like volley ball, the foul line serves as the boundary. No part of the athlete’s body may touch or go beyond the foul line, if he is to make a legal delivery. Automatic foul detecting machines when set up, will at once illuminate the “foul light”, when a player steps on or beyond he foul line. This is accompanied by a loud sound like a horn or a buzzer. - 106 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The foul lights are very useful in competitions. A player learns that his approach is wrong if he steps on the foul line. It is a good practice to learn bowling with the foul lights activated. It instills an automatic awareness of the foul line in the player. He will learn to avoid at all costs. He will also become adept at controlling the unconscious urge to overthrow or overreach while releasing the ball.

# What are two-piece and three-piece balls?

Two-Piece ball: A two-piece ball is made up of two elements, the weight block and the cover stock. A modified two-piece ball is just like the two-piece ball. The difference lies in the weight block. Instead of being made of a single material, the weight block is of the dual density variety. The structure of a two-piece ball is explained in simple terms. A heavy chunk of material, in the shape of a grenade or an inverted light bulb, is placed in a bowling ball size mould. A light bulb shaped core is placed with the narrow side up, with the “bulb” almost at the center. A grenade shaped core is placed with the bottom near the center of the mould. A pencil like object is placed through the weight block, to provide an axis of support. The urethane is now poured into it and allowed to set and solidify, and then the pencillike object is removed out of the hole. The remaining small hole is filled with a plastic of some other color Three-Piece Ball: A bowling ball consisting of three elements is called the three-piece ball. The three elements are its coverstock, the filler material, and the high-density puck. The mold is about 2 inches in diameter and the heavy material is put into it in a liquefied form. Into the ball mold, the high-density material is poured in first, until it resembles a “puddle” on the bottom of the mold. One inch of the heavy density material is poured in. Now the filler material is added. The filler material is a substance of a lighter density. The mold is now covered with a shell of one-inch thickness. The cover stock is of a dense material. This kind of ball is said to have a “puddle weight block construction”. - 107 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


The label of the ball would be over the center of the puddle as it marks the center of the weight inside the ball.

# What is a Pin-In and Pin-Out in a bowling ball? The Pin in a ball is a stem like structure, inside a ball, made of plastic or urethane. It is the top part of the weight block in a two-piece ball or the puck of the three-piece ball. When the weight block is in the perfect center of the ball, it is called a Pin-In ball. This kind of ball has less flare because of the centered weight. When the weight block of the ball is about two or more inches away from the center of gravity of the ball, it is called a Pin-Out ball. Because of the displacement of the weight, this ball has the tendency for more track flare.

# What is the meaning of “angle of entry”? In a pin deck, all 10 pins are so placed that they form the figure of an equilateral triangle. The distance between a pin and its nearest neighbor (Pins 1 and 2), (Pins 2 and 3), (Pins 5 and 9) etc, is 12 inches. The distance between a sleeper (Pins 1 and 5), (Pins 3 and 9) etc, is 20.75 inches. The distance between Pin 1 and Pin 10 is 36 inches. The distance between Pin 1 and the back of the pin deck is 34.1875 inches. If you are a right-handed bowler, and assuming you make a perfect shot, the ball enters the pocket from the 1-3 side. For a perfect shot, the ball will touch only Pins 1, 3, 5 and 9. This is called the angle of entry. This hit is a movement traced in a zigzag shape. All the pins are hit with this perfect strike. If you are left handed than the angle of entry will be described in such a way that only Pins 1, 2, 5 and 8 come into contact with the ball, for an ensuing perfect strike.

# What accessories should I have when I go bowling? As a serious bowler, you should possess at least two bowling balls, a pair of bowling shoes, and a bowling bag to hold them. Besides that, you should also have in your bowling bag … For your hand - 108 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


a) Gloves for those who sweat on their palms b) If you have a weak wrist should definitely consider a hand guard. It supports your wrist to provide the requisite momentum to the ball For your fingers Tape inserts for your fingers: Sometimes your fingers sit in the drilled holes in a loose fit. To take care of this you can use a white textured tape on the grip side of the thumbhole. It helps you have a firm grip, without holding on too tightly to the ball. Keep the tape on, as it enables you to hold on well and bowl in a relaxed manner. When the grip becomes a shade too tight, a piece of the tape can be cut off. a) Smooth scotch tape for the back portion of the thumb in the thumbhole b) Rough tape for the front of the thumbhole c) Sometimes tape is also used for finger holes Ball cleaner Generally alcohol is used for cleaning a bowling ball. Branded products are available in the market to help you clean the ball; check out your local pro shop. Towel A towel is an absolute must for those who tend to sweat. Sweat dripping on the approach or lane, can mar a perfectly played game. You may also have to wipe the ball with a towel after numerous throws in order to clean it This is also useful to wipe oil and any dirt that sticks to your ball.

# What is bevel? The bevel is the process of smoothening out the thumb and finger holes, after they have been drilled.

# What does a “bicycle” stand for in bowling? When a pin is hidden completely by another pin, it is called a bicycle. Other common names for such a pin are sleeper, tandem, double wood, one in the dark and barmaid.

# What is a “cup and collapse” release? - 109 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


This is a special type of release adopted by several famous bowlers. It involves cupping the wrist to hold the ball. There are two styles of the “cup and collapse release” The free swing The ball is placed in the pushaway, as usual, and then allowed to fall into the back swing with the help of gravity. Just at the top of the back swing the wrist is cupped and this hand position is maintained until release. Then the wrist is collapsed all of a sudden. This results in making the ball roll with force, and it carries with it a great strike potential The Controlled/ Semi-controlled swing In the very beginning of the stance, the ball rests in the palm of the hand. The elbow is bent and remains bent through out the swing. At release point, wrist collapses and the fingers drive the ball into the lane Caution: In spite of the fantastic strike potential this kind of release offers, it is usually not advised, because the release places a great strain on the wrist, elbows and the limbs.

# Why should a follow through be “long and low” but not high? Imagine the ball to behave like a landing plane after release. Just like a plane, the ball must glide towards the lane and then smoothly run along the desired track. When the landing is bouncy or badly made, the plane tends to jerk, and lose control over its forward movement. Similarly, a ball that bounces into the track from a higher altitude tends to move off its course. Before urethane balls entered the bowling scene, some players adopted a high follow through. The release starting from a high position gave the ball a pronounced bounce as it dropped in to the lane. The bounce greatly increased the driving power of the ball, and helped make a successful strike. Urethane balls, when bowled in a similar manner, may give you disastrous results. They attain a spin in the air, tend to overreact and then land on the lane to probably veer off from the pocket area. In contrast, a ball released from a low position - and leading to an outward follow through - will skim on the surface of the lane in an uninterrupted manner, carrying with it the force to impact the pins. The whole movement is smooth and continuous, with hardly any chance of the ball moving away from its’ course. - 110 © 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Here are a few more things you need to remember for a purposeful follow through a) Fingers extend outward, and not upward towards the break point at follow through b) The arm is kept extended with a little or no bend at the elbows c) The above stance is possible if the arm swing has been executed smoothly and from the shoulder d) If the forearm has provided the impetus for the delivery, chances are the follow through will not be satisfactory, and the forearm is exposed to undue stress.

# Is there any way I can avoid hurrying to the foul line? You tend to speed up your steps when you have not begun the pushaway at the correct time or when you delay the first two steps of the approach. This is how the problem is created a) You start your first step with the pushaway. b) When the weight of your body is transferred to the right foot, the ball should have been in line with your waist c) When the backswing commences you would begin the second step of approach d) When the push away starts earlier than it should, it is evident by the way your body tilts, instead of being upright e) This also leads to a position when your shoulders jut forward ahead of knees. f) This will compel your feet to move forward faster, in order to balance your body weight and allow the swing How you can correct it a) You must strive to maintain your body upright, when the ball moves out of the stance. b) Your eyes do not have to follow the motion of the ball; focus only on your target c) Move the ball slowly. You must remember to stop the ball at the top of the backswing for a fraction of a second, before it begins to move forward, in the reverse direction for its downswing. The speed of the backswing, if increased, will also speed up your steps d) As you walk forward, the backswing moves away from you. You thus have to move in a practiced rhythm to keep movements in both directions well timed. If your back swing is rapid, you will compensate for it by taking more rapid steps. This is what you have to avoid e) Walk with an erect posture during approach f) Keep shoulders lined to target by keeping it above the knee, not ahead of it g) If your shoulders jut forward, the ball may deflect to the left when you release it - 111 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


Speed, accuracy and the superior quality of the shot can be predetermined, to a great extent, by taking care to see that each movement is well timed, faultless and with just the right amount of thrust.

# How do I calculate the speed of the ball when it is driven down the lane? The most elementary way of calculating speed is by dividing the length of the lane it travels by the time it takes to traverse that length (Speed =Distance/Time). The lane, as you know, is 60 feet or 18.3m in length. If the ball travels this distance in 5 seconds then the speed will be 12 feet per second or 3.66 meters per second. This gives only the average ball speed. When you release the ball, the speed would have been more, but while it moves down the lane, friction posed by the lane has a decelerating affect on it. Another more accurate way of knowing the speed of the ball is by calculating it from a video film. For doing so, you must know the frame rate of the video and the calibration measure on the screen. Calibration is like the scale of the map. Set up a video camera on a tripod, to shoot you from the side. It should neither pan nor zoom the images. The video should constantly also focus on a measure of length which the ball will move through. This will serve as the reference for calibrating the length. Now you have to observe the distance moved by the ball on the video and multiply it by the calibration ratio (a ratio 1:30 implies the length of 30 units is represented as one unit in the picture). With the frame rate also known the speed of the ball can be calculated. (Example: If an object moves 4 inches between the frames and the frame rate is 25 frames per second, then the speed of the object will be 8.4 feet per second) When the ball reaches the pins the speed is about 3.5 miles per hour less than the speed it had at release point. The ball always has the greatest speed at release point. If the speed of the ball is higher than 19 miles per hour, it is considered very fast. If the speed is below 17 miles per hour, it is on a slow movement, and if the speed is between 17 and 19 miles per hour, it is considered an average quantity.

# What are the different styles of stance?

- 112 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


There are different stance positions to accomplish or compensate for different aspects of bowling. For the beginner - the most popular stance: The ball is held at the waist level, and a few inches away from the body. The right arm is at a smooth right angle at the elbow. The body is upright, or leans slightly to the front (taller bowlers). You are poised to make a natural and free-swinging movement for a well-timed release. For tall bowlers: Stance is taken in a half crouch style, as the player is very tall. The player crouches slightly to release the ball from a lower height. However take care not to pull away the ball while it is on its downswing. A short back swing must be ensured to see that the ball is released correctly. For generating speed in a light ball: The ball is held at the chin position, a few inches from the body. As it is a high position, the ball will have a powerful downswing, which will translate into a higher speed of release. It is used when bowling with lighter balls. Take care to see that you continue to maintain a firm grip of the ball, at the lowest point of the downswing.

# What are the different areas in the bowling center called? Bowling Area: The area containing an even number of lanes for bowling is called the Bowling Area. The lanes are set apart in pairs, as a player has to alternate between the two lanes during the course of the competition game. This is set away from the seating area of the spectators. Settee Area:

The area where the bowler waits for his turn to bowl is called the settee area. This area also provides adequate place for the bowler to keep his bowling bag, coat, and street shoes. Please see that the soles of your street shoes do not have a deposit of mud, or any other material, which may soil and mar the approach area for you and the other players. - 113 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


If the bowling center does not provide an exclusive settee area, then you will have to keep your equipment and coats in the seating area of the spectators.

# I am a left-handed person. Why do I miss the targets on the left? One or more than one of the following could be the reason for the same. a) You may be walking more to the left of the approach, which tends to prevent a smooth execution of the arm swing. b) You may be aiming more to the left of the target, rather than the target itself c) If you start too far on the left of the approach, then you will reach a further point to the left near the foul line, at the point of release. d) Maybe your back swing reaches behind your back, instead of moving in alignment with the swing plane. This alters the momentum of the ball and makes it veer away from the intended target. Try to identify, which of these are happening in your case. Once you analyze and correct it, your scoring rate will improve considerably. All the best!

# What are the factors which will help the professional driller decide the measurements of the customized ball? The right fit of the ball is very important for you to bowl with the minimum of strain and maximum of accuracy. The ball is fitted with a grip that is based the size of the holes, the shape of the drilled inserts, and the other internal measurements. There are two more important parameters, which decide the specific nature of the bowling ball to be made for the player. Span: The span is the distance between the holes used for the purpose of the grip. Pitch: The angle at which the holes will be drilled into the bowling ball Basically, the player can hold on to or grip the ball in two styles. The Conventional Grip: a) The thumb fits in snugly b) Fingers are inserted up to the second joint, and make an angle of 90 degrees c) Ideal for straight bowling and for the beginner, or occasional bowler, as the ball does not respond to rotation Fingertip Grip: - 114 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com


a) b) c) d) e) f) g)

The thumb fits in snugly Fingers are inserted up to the first joint In doing so, the knuckle is raised to a slight extent from the ball The first joint keeps contact with the leading edge of the finger hole. Thus the fingers form a 90 degree angle This kind of drilling is custom made on balls for seasoned and skilled players. The special juxtaposition of the fingers provides the right conditions for hooked bowling, as it is easy to afford a rotation for the ball.

Professional drillers also take into consideration, the following factors to fit the ball specifically for you: a) Strength of the elbow, wrist and hand, to identify the ideal weight of the ball, for you b) How flexible your hand is, so as to determine the pitch (Older people have less flexible hands; and people who do a lot of work with hands, have a different degree of flexibility) c) The length of your hand, to decide on the distance between the holes d) Any illness or injury to your hand, which may not facilitate it to function normally (Arthritis, Carpal tunnel syndrome, etc) e) The texture of your hand is no less important to decide the kind of ball, which is suitable for you. f) If your hands are smooth and dry, the driller will incorporate a greater forward pitch for the drilled holes and a lesser extent of reverse pitch, in the ball g) If your hands are rough and moist he will see that the reverse pitch is greater, and the forward pitch is lower. So go ahead, and get the ball custom made for you. With an awareness of the basics, a will to excel, and the patience for consistent practice, the sky is the limit for you! **********

- 115 Š 2004, HowToBowlStrikes.com

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