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COACHING HANDBOOK

Compiled by:
Chris Batson, National Roving Coach Youth Development Tenpin Bowling




1
st
January 2003




CONTENTS



1. Role of the Coach

2. Code of Ethics

3. Suggested Training Outlines

4. Curriculum for Level A, AA and AAA program

5. Video Taping

6. Forms:
a. Commitment with a Capital C
b. Analysis Chart
c. Checklist

7. Approach and Drills:

a. Four Step Approach
b. Five Step Approach
c. Sliding Problems and Corrections
d. Follow Through
e. Feel Drill
f. Push Away Drill
g. Drills
h. J ust let it Fall
i. Drifting
j. 10 Minute Practice

8. Mental Game
a. Goal Setting
b. Attitude and Outcome
c. Be Prepared
d. Know Yourself

9. Spares, Targeting and Adjusting:
a. Targeting
b. 3-6-9 Spare System
c. 2-4-6 Spare System
d. 5-4-3 System
e. Comparing Spare System
f. Reading Lanes
g. Bowling Adjustments
h. Adjusting your Approach
i. Finding the Line
j. Coping with different lane conditions
k. Hand Position
l. Different strategies to lane play
m. Bowling techniques and styles
n. Break Points 1 & 2
o. Advance Aiming System


10. How to get more Revs


11. Release


12. Thumb Direction

13. Strength Building for Tenpin Bowling

14. Bowling Balls (inside and out)

15. Basic Ball Fitting

16. Speed Control 1 & 2

17. Finger Placement

18. Playing the Gutter

19. Timing and Body Structure

20. Lane Sheet


















THE ROLE OF THE COACH

The task of the coach is to help the athlete achieve excellence ..

Ward and Watts (1977)

Basically the coach offers knowledge and time to athletes and assist them to enhance
their skills and fulfil their potential.

The relationship between coach and athlete is an important one the athlete has the
talent and the desire to develop it, the coach has the knowledge and skill to develop
that talent.
The relationship is one of mutual respect and interdependence.


The athlete-coach relationship (adapted from Bompa, 1983)



ATHLETE COACH
TALENT EXPERTISE
QUALITY OF
TRAINING
PREPARATION KNOWLEDGE AND PERSONALITY
PHYSICAL TECHNICAL TACTICAL PSYCHOLOGICAL

THE STEREO TYPE SPORTS COACH is one who is tough, relentless and
authoritarian acting like a field marshal sending front line troops into battle !!!!

The era has changed we live in an age where the individual has access to
information from books and on the internet. In this age the individual is encouraged
to do their own thing and will therefore question what others would have them do.
The coaches who do not recognize that times have changed in this regard are bound to
have an unhappy time with some players.

The vocabulary of the coach used to include the phrase You do this because I say so
..
The vocabulary of the athlete now includes the word Why?

The old belief that a coach is a stern disciplinarian who drives his group .. Must be
replaced with the belief that the coach is an educated director of .. People who are
striving for goal. He must not drive them relentlessly but should GUIDE them
intelligently towards this goal.

The belief that the only qualification needed to be able to coach is success in a sport
and playing the game is in itself sufficient preparation for coaching. However,
coaches not only need to know the game, the need to know the players and be able to
relate to them.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A RESPECTED COACH

1. Intelligence a coach is required to be a curious, creative, open-minded
adaptable person. Sporting intelligence is developed as a result of
knowledge and experience gained from a multitude of sources. Each
coaching experience should be viewed as an opportunity to learn more.

2. Drive the coach should be an achievement-oriented person who tries to
make things happen rather than wait for them to happen. Athlete respond
positively to coaches who set realistic objective for them and assist in their
achievement.

3. Persistence the coach should have the fortitude to persist in the face of
adversity and frustration. It must be understood that failure is an inevitable
experience at some stage of a sporting career and should be seen as only a
temporary set-back. Mistakes or inability to achieve success in a particular
contest should be used a part of the learning process.

4. Patience Change is often frustratingly slow. Successful coaching
involves working methodically and systematically towards improvements
in aspects of performance that sometimes are a little resistant to change.

5. Enthusiasm a spirited, vital approach to coaching showing obvious
enjoyment for the task is an essential ingredient for coaching success.

6. KNOWLEDGE the coach should have a thorough knowledge of the
rules, techniques and tactics of the sport, particularly when involved with
juniors who should be taught correct methods from the start if their
careers. This is often the main basis for deciding the credibility of the
coach. Modern athletes ask many questions and unless they can be
answered factually the standing of the coach us placed immediately in
jeopardy. Knowledge is gained by being prepared to listen to others and
watch others at work, read widely and attend lectures and seminars on
selected of the sports.

7. Conscientiousness the coach is the standard setter. The quality and
quantity of a commitment in terms of time, thought and effort displayed by
athlete is often directly related to the attitude exhibited by the coach.

8. Confidence successful coaching involves having confidence in oneself
and in the training and instruction method being employed.

9. Emotional Stability a coach must be sufficiently stable emotionally to
remain in control during the highly charged environment that often
surrounds competitive sport.

10. Decisiveness the coach must be capable of deciding the best approach to
take in pursuing both short and long term goals. When a decision is made
it should be adhered to until sufficient evidence shows that it was
incorrect. A different approach taken each week can undermine authority
and confidence.

11. Character the coach should be a person with integrity, sincerity and a
disciplined attitude to the task. The courage to try new approaches and to
face the consequences of experimentation is a desirable character trait.
Significant progress in sporting performance has often been made by
athletes and team who have tried something unconventional and been
prepared to accept the possibility of failure.

12. Organisation the well-organized coach is efficient in time management
and has the ability to organise an individual or team to remain on the path
to established objectives.

13. Preparation the well-prepared coach should know the training plan in
advance.

14. Sense of humour relaxed and confidence coaches relate positively to the
lighter side of training and competition and can also enjoy a moment when
the joke is on them.

15. Appropriate role model the coach should be an appropriate role model
for the athlete to follow.



COMMUNICATION

Coaching is a two-way process. Both coach and the athlete must be prepared to
transmit and receive information from each other. Too often coaches transmit but
do not receive information. Being a good listener is essential coaching skill.

Communication to athlete must be simple and concise. The most use method of
communication verbal is often the lease effective. Visual information is much
easier to decipher, more easily retained and should be used whenever possible.

Feedback provision of useful feedback is a critical feature of good coaching
behaviour. Unless athletes know what is expected of them it its difficult for them
to perform in an appropriate manner. Feedback should be immediate and accurate
in order to perform maximum effectiveness.

Positiveness an optimistic approach should be followed. This should emphasise
on what is being done correctly rather than simply offering a list of errors and
limitation.

Encouragement the coach reassurance of the athletes level of ability and
suggest that positive outcome will eventuate from their efforts.

Empathy the coach should understand the athletes feeling and be capable of
understanding what it is like to be in a particular situation.

Private criticism public criticism of an individual should be avoided. Criticism
should be privately informative, constructive and potentially beneficial to the
athlete.

Performance related comments the coachs comments should relate to the
specific aspect of performance rather than to the character of the individual
athlete.

Consistency mood swings and employment of double standards for different
athlete and different occasions should be avoided.

Credibility open lines of communication in which the coach is prepared to
answer questions about any aspect of the program develops trust among the
athletes. Honesty and sincerity produces credibility. No coach will have the
answer to every question and should be prepared to say I dont know, but I will
find out for you rather than concoct a potentially fake answer.

Sensitivity - coaches should understand the feelings of the athlete who not only
has commitment to the sport, but also to work or study and to the family.
Avoid Sarcasm coaches should avoid degrading, disrespectful comments about
an individual.

















Coach's Code of Ethics
1. Respect the rights, dignity and
worth of every human being.
Within the context of the activity, treat everyone equally regardless
of sex, disability, ethnic origin or religion.

2. Ensure the athlete's time spent
with you is a positive experience.
All athletes are deserving of equal attention and opportunities.

3. Treat each athlete as an
individual.
Respect the talent, developmental stage and goals of each
individual athlete.
Help each athlete reach their full potential.
4. Be fair, considerate and honest
with athletes.


5. Be professional and accept
responsibility for your actions.
Language, manner, punctuality, preparation and presentation
should display high standards.
Display control, respect, dignity and professionalismto all involved
with the sport - this includes opponents, coaches, officials,
administrators, the media, parents and spectators.
Encourage your athletes to demonstrate the same qualities
.
6. Make a commitment to providing
a quality service to your athletes.
Maintain or improve your current NCAS accreditation.
Seek continual improvement through performance appraisal and
ongoing coach education.
Provide a training programwhich is planned and sequential.
Maintain appropriate records.

7. Operate within the rules and spirit
of your sport.
The guidelines of national and international bodies governing your
sport should be followed. Please contact your sport for a copy of its
rule book, constitution, by-laws, relevant policies, eg. Anti-doping
Policy, selection procedures ect.
Coaches should educate their athletes on drugs in sport issues in
consultation with the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA).
8. Any physical contact with athletes
should be:
Appropriate to the situation.
Necessary for the athlete's skill
development. *


9. Refrain from any form of personal
abuse towards your athletes. *
This includes verbal, physical and emotional abuse.
Be alert to any forms of abuse directed towards your athletes from
other sources whilst they are in your care.

10. Refrain from any form of
harassment towards your athletes.
*

This includes sexual and racial harassment, racial vilification and
harassment on the grounds of disability
You should not only refrain frominitiating a relationship with an
athlete, but should also discourage any attempt by an athlete to
initiate a sexual relationship with you, explaining the ethical basis
of your refusal.
11. Provide a safe environment for
training and competition.
Ensure equipment and facilities meet safety standards.
Equipment, rules, training and the environment need to be
appropriate for the age and ability of the athletes.
12. Show concern and caution
towards sick and injured athletes.
Provide a modified training programwhere appropriate.
Allow further participation in training and competition only when
appropriate.
Encourage athletes to seek medical advice when required.
Maintain the same interest and support towards sick and injured
athletes.
13. Be a positive role model for your
sport and athletes.


.

Coaches should......
Be treated with respect and openness.
Have access to self-improvement opportunities.
Be matched with a level of coaching appropriate to their level of competence.
All levels must do stretching exercises before the start of training.

All levels should also do the feel and push away drill at every training session, these
exercises should be alternated. Please read the drills paper this will give you ideas of
what to do.

A level suggested training outline.
2 weeks of the feel drill with no wrist guards.
2 weeks of the push away drill. Then go to finish position and follow the curriculum
but always start the training with the feel drill.
Once a month run a 3 game tournament and record bowlers average, after determining
average put them into same average groups this will help in their mental out look and
encourage the others to achieve.

AA level suggested training outline.
Start each training session with the feel drill.
Run a tournament every month with plastic ball only and if bowler can average over
180 for boys and 165 for girls then they can use reactive balls until the next
tournament.
End each training with the feel drill.

AAA level suggested training outline:
All bowlers should only use reactive balls when they are taking the full approach, if
drills are being done the plastic ball must be used.
Start training with the push away drill and end with the feel drill.
Its very important that you recognize bowlers problem areas early in the year and set
the program for their correction.































NSC/MTBC YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Level A Curriculum
Month

Contents
MARCH






APRIL
Classroom introduction (outline years program and objectives
Objective - Competition at the highest level involves a serious, business-
like approach to the sport. Athletes will realize that there is more to being
successful than simply turning up to compete. They will also realize that
there are several important areas that must be worked on in order to produce
top performances on demand
Discuss rules of conduct, etiquette, attendance regulations, testing and
criteria for advancement to next level of Program. Form for bowlers.
Ball fitting check:
If bowlers have their own bowling ball, check to make sure it fits correctly
if not it should be fixed. If the bowler uses a house ball show them how to
select a ball that is close to their hand and suggest they buy their own. Most
beginners will use a ball that is too light (a recent study shows that the
average weight of the winning ball has risen from 11LB to 14-1/2LB) this is
because of lane conditions and bowling balls.
See video and what to look for.
ON LANE:
Take bowlers down the lane and show them the pins and explain how
far apart because even high average bowlers think that they are close
together and after they see this, this will help them with their spare
bowling.
Step 1: Skill evaluation fills out evaluation form and evaluate
strength. All bowlers should use strength exercise (tennis ball)
See video.
MAY



J UNE
Step 2:
Establish finishing position fundamentals and basic lift and turn release
(Demonstrate finishing position principles. Use the following sequence to
implement teaching methodology
Stationary drill, two step drill, five step approach, (see explanation as to
why five steps and not four) without using bowling ball. Why Five.
Continue the same sequence using bowling ball.
Once finishing position is satisfactory, use kneel down drill to introduce
basic release, graduate to the FEEL drill with no thumb in ball (See
video) followed by the one and two step drill with thumb in ball. Do
not advance to the full approach at this time.
J ULY




AUGUST




SEPTEMBER
Step 3: Practical testing of finishing position and lift and turn release
(evaluate test, give recommendations to students, and implement necessary
adjustments).

Step 4: Establish stance & first step principles
(Demonstrate correct stance, have students pair-up and coach each other.
Demonstrate first step movement, instruct all students. PUSHAWAY drill.
Pair-up students to criticize each other. Demonstrate first two steps without
ball, again pair-up students. Implement full five step approach. Spend
many lessons on this to ensure correct timing is achieved).

Step 5: Establish a two target aiming system
(Use ribbons and tape to set up variations as shown in video. Have students
choose the variations that are best suited to them, practice this over many
lessons).
Explain spare and target systems in brief (THIS IS A MUST)

On Lane: Skill evaluation & video analysis (fill out evaluation chart)
OCTOBER Classroom: Observation of video with each individual
On Lane: Individual correction (based on skill evaluation findings,
implement corrections) See explanation on how to video:
NOVEMBER Classroom: Test revision (review all of the teachings of curriculum in
preparation for test).
On Lane: Competition phase (scoring assessment phase)
DECEMBER Classroom: Examination (theory examination, MTBC will forward exam).
On Lane: Examination (final skill evaluation, send results to MTBC, keep
copy)

*Coach should periodically refer to Commitment form filled by students in order to
determine if students are putting in the effort.

Why five steps approach and not four???

1. Since level A is the beginning of the coaching. This is the best time to introduce
bowlers to five steps because when they reach the next level some may find it
difficult to change. This is mainly due to muscle memory and it can also cause
bowlers to carry the ball into the third step.

2. If they start with the five step it is a matter of refining the timing at level AA.

3. At level AAA, with the bowlers who have problems generating power and
revolutions, we can then try to teach them a power step (this will be explained more
in the AAA level curriculum). Therefore bowlers must take five steps to give them
the opportunity to develop a power step.

Strength evaluation

Due to the new lane surfaces of today (synthetics) the game has become more of a
power game (heavy rolling ball, minimum revolutions on ball =12) and this can only
be achieved with a certain amount of strength in the legs, forearm, wrist and fingers.



1. Walking up and down stairs and flexibility exercises increase the overall
fitness and strength.

2. Squeeze a tennis ball with fingers and palm only. Do no use the thumb.

3. Eliminate the one-step drill as this encourages the bowler to muscle the ball.
Use two-step drill only.
All students must use a plastic ball in the A level




NSC/MTBC YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Level AA Curriculum
Month

Contents
APRIL




Check bowling ball fit Refer to Item 12 of Coaching Guide Ball Fitting
Fill out SKILL EVALUATION CHART, analyse shortcomings and
implement corrections
Push away drill with 2 or 1 step depending on 4 or five step approach.





MAY


Strength exercises:

The kneel down swing with no thumb in ball increases forearm
strength.
This exercise should be done only with an 8 or 9lb ball to start with.

NOTE: THESE EXERCISES SHOULD ONLY BE USED IF
THE BOWLER HAS SUFFICIENT STRENGTH IN WRIST
AND FOREARM. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU
QUALIFY THESE EXERCISES AS IT CAN DAMAGE THE
TENDONS IN THE WRIST AND FINGERS


J UNE






J ULY


AUGUST

Implement ACCELARATED SWING into the pure Pendulum
Feel Drill:
If bowler has enough strength, in wrist and forearm then teach them the
LIFT & TURN RELEASE but again you must ensure that they are strong
enough to do this drill

If not, use the TURN & LIFT drill.

Once release is obtained then use full approach
Video Analysis

SEPTEMBER


OCTOBER


NOVEMBER

Introduce TWO TARGET AIMING SYSTEM using tape tracking and
ribbon visuals

Implement the BASIC SPARE SYSTEM. Have bowlers use the lift release
for 6 & 10 pin conversions

Hand position sparing system


Check technical aspects prior to practical test. Implement corrections

DECEMBER Review all information in classroom in preparation for theory test

Conduct THEORY TESTING & PRACTICAL EVALUATION, go over
theory results with students
Bowlers should only use plastic balls and only use reactive ball after 5 month test.





NSC/MTBC YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Level AAA Curriculum
Month

Contents
APRIL




Check bowling ball fit - Refer to Item 12 of Coaching Guide Ball Fitting

Fill out SKILL EVALUATION CHART, analyse shortcomings and
implement corrections

Hole Sizes Refer to Item 13 of Coaching Guide


MAY


Conduct a lecture on the 3-1-2 & 3-4-5 SYSTEMS and hand position
sparing system.
Implement exercises for your students that provide practical usage of
the systems
Explanation and handouts on lane adjustments and release - Refer to
item No.5 and 6 Coaching Guide Coping with Different Lane
Conditions

J UNE






J ULY


AUGUST

SPARE SYSTEM, handout, have chart present for all practices. Ask
students question as to where they stood for each spare during all practices.
Conduct test.

RELEASE Refer to Item 15 of Coaching Guide

BALL TRANSITION, classroom lecture on all aspects.
Teach students how to tape bowling balls.

Tape axis point, have students observe each others transition and analyse
theirs

Tape line from axis point to 1 from track; observe how many revolutions
relative to the effectiveness of the release.
Leave the axis point taped on the ball

SEPTEMBER


OCTOBER


NOVEMBER

Combine all tape procedures to form the whole wheel.
Systematically, observe all transitional components of the wheel. Have
students point out various changes and their effect on performance. Do not
proceed to next phase of curriculum until you are satisfied with their
understanding.
Conduct test. Check student against ball speed chart using stop watch

PIN CARRY, have students watch ball position in the pit and its relevance
pin carry. Have students watch the head pin movement and its relevance to
pin carry. Have students watch the Pin 5 movement and its relevance. Pin
4 & Pin 3.

Check technical aspects of students prior to practical test. Implement
corrections.
DECEMBER Review all information in classroom in preparation for theory test

Conduct THEORY TESTING & PRACTICAL EVALUATION, go over
theory results with students



Video Taping.

One of the most effective methods of helping you become a better bowler is with the
aid of videotape. It doesnt take long and the results can be beneficial in many ways.
You will need:
Camcorder
Video tape
Piece of bowlers tape
A friend to do the taping
VCR to replay your bowling (a 4-head machine works best to replay in slow
motion and stop action)
When taking the pictures there are two views that are easy to take and provide
excellent vantage points. That would be from the ball side (right-handed bowler
should bowl on the even laneleft-handed bowler on the odd lane). This way you
dont lose your feet behind the ball return.
Some instructors like the front view, but unless you stand on the lanevery
dangerous; you cant get a head on view anyway.
Take four or five video shots from the side making sure to get the entire body all the
way to the foul line. Position the cameraperson near the foul line a few lanes away for
best results. A few shots of upper body and lower body from the side might also be
helpful.
When you finish from the ball side it is time to move behind the bowler for the view
from the back. From this angle you should also take four of five shots of the entire
body from first step to lastkeeping the entire body in the picture frame. Then, do a
few of just the feet and a few of the upper body as well.
The next angle to take includes the release, and this can be taken from behind also.
To do this, first put your piece of bowlers tape on the ball. This will show the exact
position of the fingers during the swing and particularly at the release point. Place the
tape an inch in front of the finger holes (if someone had their name put on the ball it
would usually go in the same place). Place the tape vertically not horizontally as a
name might be placed on the ball.
During your filming from behind, use the zoom lens to catch the ball as it passes the
ankle and is released on the lane. You will be amazed at how clear the tape is and how
easy it is to see what your fingers are doing through the release area.
Now you are ready for your last angle. That would be one from behind and a little off
to the ball side of the bowler. Here, you will follow the bowler to the line with the
zoom lens and catch the ball as it is released and follow it down the lane. From this
angle you can see the revolutions (again the tape helps here) on the ball, the target on
the lane that it was delivered over, the ball entering the pocket and the pin carry. Note:
For this shot you may have to retake the shot several times until the bowler makes a
shot that he/she wants to view.
When you have finished make sure to date the tape and store it for easy access. You
should re-tape every couple of months, or when the need arises.
I recommend that you tape yourselfwhen you are bowling greatwhen you are
strugglingand when you are making a change in your game and want to be sure you
are making headway.
Video taping is an inexpensive and effective method to keep your game sharp and
move forward in your skill development.







COMMITMENT WITH A CAPITAL C

Commitment Conditions Rate yourself on each statement. Then circle the number
(from 1 to 5 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest) that correspond to your
commitment.

This form will be used to review your training input throughout the year.


1 Willing to sacrifice other things to excel in sport



1

2

3

4

5
2 Really want to become an outstanding athlete (e.g. a
know and recognized top player)


1

2

3

4

5
3 Never let up or give up (e.g. determined to get the
point, make the move, or to complete the routine


1

2

3

4

5
4 Take personal responsibility for mistakes and work
hard to correct them


1

2

3

4

5
5 Give 100% effort in practice (e.g. preparation for
competition, after wins, losses and errors)


1

2

3

4

5
6 Give 100% effort in games (whether down or up in
points)


1

2

3

4

5
7 Put in extra preparation time or training time, before,
after or between regular practice sessions


1

2

3

4

5
8 Push hard even if it hurts



1

2

3

4

5
9 Feel more committed to improvement in my sport than
to anything else


1

2

3

4

5
10 Feel more successful, or gain more recognition, in my
sport that in anything else


1

2

3

4

5
















ANALYSIS CHART


NAME
RIGHT HANDED
LEFT HANDED
BALL CORRECT GRIP
BALL WEIGHT

STANCE -
Feet straight to target YES N0
Both knees bent YES N0
Ball in correct position YES N0
Wrist straight and firm YES N0
Shoulders square to target line YES N0
Shoulders level YES N0
Eyes on target YES N0

APPROACH -
Number of steps
Length of steps Long Short Moderate
Tempo Fast Moderate Slow
Walk straight YES NO
Drift RIGHT LEFT
Arm straight YES NO
Backswing GOOD HEIGHT TOO HIGH TOO LOW
Balance YES NO

RELEASE -
Firm YES NO

FOLLOW THROUGH -
In line to target YES NO
Height GOOD TOO HIGH TOO LOW INCONSISTENT




















CHECKLIST

NAME:
Date Practice 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score



































































Four Step Approach. The First Step Examined

The first step is called the KEY STEP because it contains the PUSHAWAY. (The key step in
the five-step approach is the second step.) It begins with your feet alongside each other in
your setup and ends when your SWINGSIDE HEEL -- the foot on the side of your bowling
arm -- touches down on the approach. Your PUSHAWAY absolutely must be taken from a
stable setup. Here are some essential tips.

BEGIN YOUR FIRST STEP WITH YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT. When your mind is quiet and
after you have focused on your visual target, begin your first step with your swing side foot.
On the AND after four of your cadence, step out with your swing side foot so that its heel
makes contact on the count of "one."
BEGIN YOUR PUSHAWAY AS YOU TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP. As you lift your heel off of
the approach, push your ball briskly forward into the push away. If your foot and your ball are
properly timed, your push away will have good stability since your foot is almost directly under
your ball.
USE BOTH HANDS TO PUSH YOUR BALL DIRECTLY IN LINE WITH YOUR SHOULDER
AND YOUR TARGET. To do this, you will have to reach across your body with your balance
arm. Support most of the weight of your ball your balance hand. Keep your forearms parallel
with the floor; never push your ball downward.
Picture a table, approximately chest high, in front of you. Your push away is simply placing
your ball onto this imaginary table.
KEEP YOUR BOWLING ARM RELAXED AT THE SHOULDER J OINT. Do not grip your ball
tightly, or you will have unnecessary tension in your hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder joint. Use
your balance arm to move the ball and help relax your bowling arm.
KEEP YOUR BACK UPRIGHT AND FIRM. You should counteract the tendency of your upper
body to follow the ball. Keep your back muscles taught; picture "arching your back." Think
"lead with my chest" and repeat it to yourself.
KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS BACK AND LEVEL. Hold them stable. Again, think of your
shoulders and backbone forming a RIGID "T" on which you allow your bowling arm to swing
freely.
KEEP YOUR KNEES STRAIGHT BUT NOT LOCKED. Use a normal heel-toe walking stride.
Neither force your heels down (stomping) nor walk on your toes (shuffling).
END YOUR PUSHAWAY WHEN BOTH ELBOWS ARE LOCKED. Keep your balance hand
touching your ball until both arms are fully extended (straight) at the final PUSHAWAY
DESTINATION.
END YOUR FIRST STEP ON YOUR SWINGSIDE HEEL. J ust as your elbows lock into
position, the heel of your swing side foot makes contact with the approach. There is no need
for the toe to touch down as yet.






Four Step Approach. The Second Step Examined


The second step is your BALL FALLING INTO THE SWING step. It begins with your
SWINGSIDE HEEL down and ends with your SLIDING FOOT HEEL down. Your ball falls
from the fully- extended push away destination to the lowest point in the DOWNSWING. You
are holding the same body segments stable as you did in your setup and first step.
LET YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT ROCK FORWARD FROM HEEL TO TOE. Your ball should
begin to fall into the swing as your SWINGSIDE TOE is moving down toward the approach.
LET YOUR BOWLING ARM SWING FREE AT THE SHOULDER J OINT. It is possible to do
three things to you ball as it is going down into your DOWNSWING. You can speed it up
(accelerate) or slow it down (decelerate) by overuse of your muscles; or you can let it be
pulled down only by gravity -- the PENDULUM SWING. The pendulum swing is desirable
because it allows you consistent timing. Picture a weight freely swinging from a string. This is
the impression one should get from observing a swinging bowling ball.
NOTE: If you cannot hold your ball during the downswing without gripping it tightly, it may not
be fitted properly or it may be too heavy or both! See a skilled pro shop professional to correct
the ball fit before the habit of "muscling the ball" becomes ingrained and ruins the timing and
consistency of your pendulum swing.!
LET YOUR BALANCE ARM MOVE TO AN OUT, DOWN, AND BACK POSITION. Your
balance arm is extremely important in establishing a stable PIVOT for your swing plane. This
means that your shoulders will be square to your target line and level with the approach. Your
TAKEAWAY begins from the elbows-locked, fully-extended push away. As your ball begins its
descent into the downswing, your balance arm simply follows the ball's movement, but takes
its own, final position out from your body, slightly down, and toward the back. Maintain this
position until you "break" from your follow-through.
KEEP YOUR BACK UPRIGHT. J ust as in your setup and first step, you should maintain an
upright posture. Lead with your chest; keep your back arched to counteract the weight of your
ball falling into the swing. Look at your visual target out of the bottoms of your eyes to help
you keep your head and shoulders back.
KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS AND HIPS MOVING FORWARD AS A UNIT. Do not allow your
shoulders to outrun your hips.
KEEP YOUR LEGS STRAIGHT. Walk slowly. Use a normal walking gait and do not yet bend
your knees.
END YOUR SECOND STEP ON YOUR SLIDING HEEL. J ust as your ball reaches the lowest
point in your downswing, the heel of your sliding foot makes contact with the approach.











Four Step Approach. The Third Step Examined


The third step is your BACKSWING STEP. The swing side foot moves forward as the ball
moves from a position perpendicular to the approach to a position at the top of the backswing.
The third step is also the ANCHOR, or PREPARATORY, STEP for your fourth step and slide
(the FINISH).
As the heel of your swing side foot contacts the approach, the ball should reach the top of
your - YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT ROCK FORWARD FROM HEEL TO TOE. Your ball should
begin to fall into the swing as your SWINGSIDE TOE is moving down toward the approach.
LET YOUR BOWLING ARM SWING FREE AT THE SHOULDER J OINT. It is possible to do
three things to you ball as it is going down into your DOWNSWING. You can speed it up
(accelerate) or slow it down (decelerate) by overuse of your muscles; or you can let it be
pulled down only by gravity -- the PENDULUM SWING. The pendulum swing is desirable
because it allows you consistent timing. Picture a weight freely swinging from a string. This is
the impression one should get from observing a swinging bowling ball.
NOTE: If you cannot hold your ball during the downswing without gripping it tightly, it may not
be fitted properly or it may be too heavy or both! See a skilled pro shop professional to correct
the ball fit before the habit of "muscling the ball" becomes ingrained and ruins the timing and
consistency of your pendulum swing!
LET YOUR BALANCE ARM MOVE TO AN OUT, DOWN, AND BACK POSITION. Your
balance arm is extremely important in establishing a stable PIVOT for your swing plane. This
means that your shoulders will be square to your target line and level with the approach. Your
TAKEAWAY begins from the elbows-locked, fully-extended push away. As your ball begins its
descent into the downswing, your balance arm simply follows the ball's movement, but takes
its own, final position out from your body, slightly down, and toward the back. Maintain this
position until you "break" from your follow through.
KEEP YOUR BACK UPRIGHT. J ust as in your setup and first step, you should maintain an
upright posture. Lead with your chest; keep your back arched to counteract the weight of your
ball falling into the swing. Look at your visual target out of the bottoms of your eyes to help
you.


















Four Step Approach. The Fourth Step Examined


The fourth step is called the FINISH. Your step begins as your ball begins its movement from
the top of your backswing. It ends when your slide comes to a stop.
During the slide, you release your ball with your thumb first, and then lift with your fingers. The
finish is on the "equals side of the equation", with all four steps being the equation which
results in the delivery of the ball. LET GRAVITY TAKE YOUR BALL DOWN INTO THE
FORWARD SWING. Use no additional acceleration to increase the speed of your ball in the
forward swing. As strange as it may seem, you will achieve plenty of ball speed if you will
simply allow your ball to come forward uninhibited. The faster you accelerate the ball in the
forward swing, the more you will have to squeeze the grip to hold onto the ball. Such will
amplify problems with timing and ball fit.
CONTINUE HOLDING YOUR BALANCE ARM OUT, DOWN, AND BACK. The more your
balance arm is extended, the more lift you can give to your ball.
MAINTAIN AN UPRIGHT POSTURE. Try to avoid leaning forward any more than 20 degrees
from the vertical. Still, no twisting is allowed. Good posture will help your project your ball
further down the lane.
KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS AND HIPS MOVING FORWARD AS A UNIT. Thinking, "lead with
my chest" will help keep you from leaning forward. As your knees bend during your fourth
step, your shoulders and hips move downward as a unit.
BEND YOUR SWINGSIDE KNEE DEEPLY AS YOU STEP AND SLIDE. Begin your swing
side knee bend as soon as you start to take your fourth step. This will force your sliding foot to
take a position directly under your centre of gravity, giving you the good balance you need for
leverage at the release.
Without a deep swing side knee bend, your sliding foot will step to the outside, with a loss of
balance and leverage. If your legs tend to straighten as you slide, see a skilled shop
professional and have your ball fit checked.
USE YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT AS AN ANCHOR TO PUSH YOUR SLIDING FOOT
TOWARD THE FOUL LINE. A slide is not a leap and a skid to a stop; it is a systematic push.
Slowly extend your swing side leg behind you; this determines the speed of your slide. Leave
your swing side foot in the same position as it was when it touched down in your third step.
Lead with your chest, allowing your shoulders and hips to move forward as a unit. Picture
your fourth step as being taken on a "tightrope", with your sliding foot in front and your swing
side foot in the back.
The swing side leg straightens at a rate which determines the speed of the slide. Finally,
enough cannot be said about the role of the balance arm! It has been demonstrated that, if
the ball is in time with the slide at the release, the greater the extension of the balance arm,
the greater the lift imparted by the fingers. Not only does the balance arm keep the ball
following the trajectory of the target line, it plays a role in maximizing leverage!
If you have taken your first three steps correctly, you could take your last step (the FINISH)
with your eyes closed and achieve a good shot! During the finish, your upper body is still
upright, and your balance arm remains in the position it reached during the second step. Take
your fourth step very slowly, bending your swing side knee very deeply.
RELEASE YOUR BALL WITH THE THUMB FIRST, THEN THE FINGERS. Your thumb
should clear the thumbhole before your fingers, and then your fingers should impart rotation
to the ball.
LET YOUR BOWLING ARM FOLLOW THROUGH IN LINE WITH YOUR SWING. Your
follow-through is simply a continuation of the swing. Do not pull it in toward the centre of your
body.


THE FIVE STEP APPROACH:
You only change the amount of bowlers steps if they are
having problems achieving a balance point at the foul line.
Four is good if balance is good.


















































1. The First Step Examined:
The first step is a SMALL sliding of the foot forward to allow the bowler to be able
to place the ball into the beginning of the push away. The five step approach generally
creates better timing and gives the bowler enough room (from their body) to swing the
ball freely and create a free pendulum swing.
Do not pause, keep going into the push away.
2. The Second Step Examined:

The second step is called the KEY STEP because it contains the PUSHAWAY. (The key step
in the five step approach).

BEGIN YOUR SECOND STEP WITH YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT. When your mind is quiet
and after you have focused on your visual target, begin your second step with your swing side
foot. On, AND after four of your cadence (pattern of steps), step out with your swing side foot
so that its heel makes contact on the count of "two."
BEGIN YOUR PUSHAWAY AS YOU TAKE YOUR SECOND STEP. As you lift your heel off
of the approach, push your ball forward into the push away. If your foot and your ball are
properly timed, your push away will have good stability since your foot is almost directly under
your ball.
USE BOTH HANDS TO PUSH YOUR BALL DIRECTLY IN LINE WITH YOUR SHOULDER
AND YOUR TARGET. To do this, you will have to reach across your body with your balance
arm. Support most of the weight of your ball your balance hand. Keep your forearms parallel
with the floor; never push your ball downward or upwards.
Picture a table, approximately chest high, in front of you. Your push away is simply placing
your ball onto this imaginary table.
KEEP YOUR BOWLING ARM RELAXED AT THE SHOULDER J OINT. Do not grip your ball
tightly, or you will have unnecessary tension in your hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder joint. Use
your balance arm to move the ball and help relax your bowling arm.
KEEP YOUR BACK UPRIGHT AND FIRM. You should counteract the tendency of your upper
body to follow the ball. Keep your back muscles taught; picture "arching your back." Think
"lead with my chest" and repeat it to yourself.
KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS BACK AND LEVEL. Hold them stable. Again, think of your
shoulders and backbone forming a RIGID "T" on which you allow your bowling arm to swing
freely.
KEEP YOUR KNEES STRAIGHT BUT NOT LOCKED. Use a normal heel-toe walking stride.
Neither force your heels down (stomping) nor walk on your toes (shuffling).
END YOUR PUSHAWAY WHEN BOTH ELBOWS ARE LOCKED. Keep your balance hand
touching your ball until both arms are fully extended (straight) at the final PUSHAWAY
DESTINATION.
END YOUR SECOND STEP ON YOUR SWINGSIDE HEEL. J ust as your elbows lock into
position, the heel of your swing side foot makes contact with the approach. There is no need
for the toe to touch down as yet.

3. The Third Step Examined

The third step is your BALL FALLING INTO THE SWING step. It begins with your
SWINGSIDE HEEL down and ends with your SLIDING FOOT HEEL down. Your ball falls
from the fully- extended push away destination to the lowest point in the DOWNSWING. You
are holding the same body segments stable as you did in your setup and first step.
LET YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT ROCK FORWARD FROM HEEL TO TOE. Your ball should
begin to fall into the swing as your SWINGSIDE TOE is moving down toward the approach.
LET YOUR BOWLING ARM SWING FREE AT THE SHOULDER J OINT. It is possible to do
three things to you ball as it is going down into your DOWNSWING. You can speed it up
(accelerate) or slow it down (decelerate) by overuse of your muscles; or you can let it be
pulled down only by gravity -- the PENDULUM SWING. The pendulum swing is desirable
because it allows you consistent timing. Picture a weight freely swinging from a string. This is
the impression one should get from observing a swinging bowling ball.
NOTE: If you cannot hold your ball during the downswing without gripping it tightly, it may not
be fitted properly or it may be too heavy or both! See a skilled pro shop professional to correct
the ball fit before the habit of "muscling the ball" becomes ingrained and ruins the timing and
consistency of your pendulum swing.!
LET YOUR BALANCE ARM MOVE TO AN OUT, DOWN, AND BACK POSITION. Your
balance arm is extremely important in establishing a stable PIVOT for your swing plane. This
means that your shoulders will be square to your target line and level with the approach. Your
TAKEAWAY begins from the elbows-locked, fully-extended push away. As your ball begins its
descent into the downswing, your balance arm simply follows the ball's movement, but takes
its own, final position out from your body, slightly down, and toward the back. Maintain this
position until you "break" from your follow through.
KEEP YOUR BACK UPRIGHT. J ust as in your setup and first step, you should maintain an
upright posture. Lead with your chest; keep your back arched to counteract the weight of your
ball falling into the swing. Look at your visual target out of the bottoms of your eyes to help
you keep your head and shoulders back.
KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS AND HIPS MOVING FORWARD AS A UNIT. Do not allow your
shoulders to outrun your hips.
KEEP YOUR LEGS STRAIGHT. Walk slowly. Use a normal walking gait and do not yet bend
your knees.
END YOUR SECOND STEP ON YOUR SLIDING HEEL. J ust as your ball reaches the lowest
point in your downswing, the heel of your sliding foot makes contact with the approach.








4. The Fourth Step Examined:
The fourth step is your BACKSWING STEP. The swing side foot moves forward as the ball
moves from a position perpendicular to the approach to a position at the top of the backswing.
The fourth step is also the ANCHOR, or PREPARATORY, STEP for your fourth step and slide
(the FINISH).
As the heel of your swing side foot contacts the approach, the ball should reach the top of
your - YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT ROCK FORWARD FROM HEEL TO TOE. Your ball should
begin to fall into the swing as your SWINGSIDE TOE is moving down toward the approach.
LET YOUR BOWLING ARM SWING FREE AT THE SHOULDER J OINT. It is possible to do
three things to you ball as it is going down into your DOWNSWING. You can speed it up
(accelerate) or slow it down (decelerate) by overuse of your muscles; or you can let it be
pulled down only by gravity -- the PENDULUM SWING. The pendulum swing is desirable
because it allows you consistent timing. Picture a weight freely swinging from a string. This is
the impression one should get from observing a swinging bowling ball.
NOTE: If you cannot hold your ball during the downswing without gripping it tightly, it may not
be fitted properly or it may be too heavy or both! See a skilled pro shop professional to correct
the ball fit before the habit of "muscling the ball" becomes ingrained and ruins the timing and
consistency of your pendulum swing!
LET YOUR BALANCE ARM MOVE TO AN OUT, DOWN, AND BACK POSITION. Your
balance arm is extremely important in establishing a stable PIVOT for your swing plane. This
means that your shoulders will be square to your target line and level with the approach. Your
TAKEAWAY begins from the elbows-locked, fully-extended push away. As your ball begins its
descent into the downswing, your balance arm simply follows the ball's movement, but takes
its own, final position out from your body, slightly down, and toward the back. Maintain this
position until you "break" from your follow through.
KEEP YOUR BACK UPRIGHT. J ust as in your setup and first step, you should maintain an
upright posture. Lead with your chest; keep your back arched to counteract the weight of your
ball falling into the swing. Look at your visual target out of the bottoms of your eyes to help
you
5. The Fifth Step Examined

The fifth step is called the FINISH. Your step begins as your ball begins its movement from
the top of your backswing. It ends when your slide comes to a stop.
During the slide, you release your ball with your thumb first, and then lift with your fingers. The
finish is on the "equals side of the equation", with all five steps being the equation which
results in the delivery of the ball. LET GRAVITY TAKE YOUR BALL DOWN INTO THE
FORWARD SWING. Use no additional acceleration to increase the speed of your ball in the
forward swing. As strange as it may seem, you will achieve plenty of ball speed if you will
simply allow your ball to come forward uninhibited. The faster you accelerate the ball in the
forward swing, the more you will have to squeeze the grip to hold onto the ball. Such will
amplify problems with timing and ball fit.
CONTINUE HOLDING YOUR BALANCE ARM OUT, DOWN, AND BACK. The more your
balance arm is extended, the more lift you can give to your ball.
MAINTAIN AN UPRIGHT POSTURE. Try to avoid leaning forward any more than 20 degrees
from the vertical. Still, no twisting is allowed. Good posture will help your project your ball
further down the lane.
KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS AND HIPS MOVING FORWARD AS A UNIT. Thinking, "lead with
my chest" will help keep you from leaning forward. As your knees bend during your fourth
step, your shoulders and hips move downward as a unit.
BEND YOUR SWINGSIDE KNEE DEEPLY AS YOU STEP AND SLIDE. Begin your swing
side knee bend as soon as you start to take your fifth step. This will force your sliding foot to
take a position directly under your centre of gravity, giving you the good balance you need for
leverage at the release.
Without a deep swing side knee bend, your sliding foot will step to the outside, with a loss of
balance and leverage. If your legs tend to straighten as you slide, see a skilled shop
professional and have your ball fit checked.
USE YOUR SWINGSIDE FOOT AS AN ANCHOR TO PUSH YOUR SLIDING FOOT
TOWARD THE FOUL LINE. A slide is not a leap and a skid to a stop; it is a systematic push.
Slowly extend your swing side leg behind you; this determines the speed of your slide. Leave
your swing side foot in the same position as it was when it touched down in your third step.
Lead with your chest, allowing your shoulders and hips to move forward as a unit. Picture
your fifth step as being taken on a "tightrope", with your sliding foot in front and your swing
side foot in the back.
The swing side leg straightens at a rate which determines the speed of the slide. Finally,
enough cannot be said about the role of the balance arm! It has been demonstrated that, if
the ball is in time with the slide at the release, the greater the extension of the balance arm,
the greater the lift imparted by the fingers. Not only does the balance arm keep the ball
following the trajectory of the target line, it plays a role in maximizing leverage!
If you have taken your first four steps correctly, you could take your last step (the FINISH)
with your eyes closed and achieve a good shot! During the finish, your upper body is still
upright, and your balance arm remains in the position it reached during the third step. Take
your fourth step very slowly, bending your swing side knee very deeply.
RELEASE YOUR BALL WITH THE THUMB FIRST, THEN THE FINGERS. Your thumb
should clear the thumbhole before your fingers, and then your fingers should impart rotation
to the ball.
LET YOUR BOWLING ARM FOLLOW THROUGH IN LINE WITH YOUR SWING. Your follow
through is simply a continuation of the swing. Do not pull it in toward the centre of your body.

Leaning forward in your slide causes an abrupt, short slide. An abrupt
slide reduces the efficiency of energy transfer to the ball and causes
aiming problems.
CAUSES:
1. The most common cause of leaning forward in the slide is leaning forward in your
stance. You may be leaning forward in anticipation or because you are holding the
ball too far in front of your body. Whatever reason, you wind up leaning forward
throughout your approach and running to maintain balance.
2. Imbalance resulting from a loss of synchronization between your pendulum arm swing
and stride. Typically your swing is ahead of your stride and you are leaning forward
attempting to catch up with the ball. Or the balls weight is pulling you forward as it
approaches the release.
3. However, it is possible that your swing is behind your stride. In this situation, your
slide is ending before you are ready to release the ball. As a result you could be
leaning forward in an attempt to keep your body moving until your swing reaches the
release point.
4. Finally, you may be leaning forward because your ball is too heavy. In this situation,
the balls weight pulls you down into a leaning posture as it is extended forward during
your push away.
CORRECTIVE MEASURES:
The first and easiest thing to check is ball weight. Make sure that your ball is not too heavy to
control comfortably
Monitor your approach for the loss of synchronization which is causing your swing (and the
ball) to be ahead or behind your stride. The problem will very likely be found in your push
away and first step. You may also be "muscling" the ball during the forward part of your swing,
causing your swing to move ahead of your stride
Stand erect throughout your approach and slide. At no time should you allow your body to
bend forward. As your weight comes forward from your right foot into your last step, stride
down into your sliding stance and begin sliding on the ball of your left foot. As you slow to a
stop, all of your weight should be centred over your left foot.
Hold the slide stance pose with your weight over your left foot until your arm follow-through is
completed.




















FOLLOW THROUGH

Bowlers here have been taught to bring the arm up on release and try to touch their
ear. This is wrong as it encourages the bowler to pull the fingers out of the ball and
over turn the ball. You have to teach bowlers to try and to touch the roof when they
follow through.


(Demonstration on follow through)



By getting them to try and touch the roof it will keep their fingers in the ball longer
and give them a better feel and ball projection down the lane.











































Feel Drill:

The feel drill is done with no thumb inserted into the bowling ball.
Kneel down like the release drill and have the bowler place the ball on the approach,
level to the back knee.

With the fingers only in the ball push the ball forward keeping the palm in contact
with the ball and follow through with a straight arm and straight up, keeping the palm
facing upwards.



The important thing here is to make sure that the bowler achieves some revolution on
the ball with the fingers and wrist. This can be seen by watching the ball roll across
the approach.

Why do we need to do this exercise?

This exercise gives the bowler a feel of the hands staying in contact with the ball at
release and the weight of the ball on the fingers because the first thing a bowler feel
when they bowl is the ball and the last thing they feel is the ball.





















PUSHAWAY

With the push away, the ball should be at the beginning of the pendulum swing when
the key timing step (first step four stem approach) (second five step approach) is
completed.
You can see how this exercise is done by the pictures below.





Why do you need to do this exercise?

This exercise is very important as it creates good timing and ball placement (too many
bowlers here carry the ball into the third step). If we start right, we can finish right. If
we start wrong we will finish wrong!!




























Drills:

Drills are marvellous training aids because they save you time. They are effective because
they force you to focus your attention on THE FEEL of one or a set of specific movements,
rather than on the general feeling of the entire delivery! If you use the following drills regularly
as part of your practice routine, you will reach your goals much quicker.
UPPER BODY (PUSHAWAY, PENDULUM SWING, AND TAKEAWAY) DRILL
This drill may be done on the lanes or at home. If you use this drill at home, try to do it in front
of a full-length mirror so you can keep an eye on the level of your shoulders, and the position
of your arms during the swing. Be careful any time you swing a ball; check around you to see
that your swinging ball will not hit anything!
Objective: to feel your ball swinging freely from your shoulder and to train your balance arm in
a proper takeaway.
Directions: (Facing the mirror), take a stable setup, just as you would during your normal
delivery. Without taking any steps, push your ball out into the fully extended push away
position until both elbows lock. Then, let your ball fall into the swing by pendulum action only.
Release your ball with your balance hand and let your balance arm move to a position out,
down, and slightly back, away from your body. Let the ball fall at the same rate as the
downswing. Keep your back upright and do NOT assist or retard the ball in any way. J ust let it
fall.
Keeping your elbows locked, let your ball swing forward from the top of the backswing. Do not
"yank the ball down" from the top of the backswing! Meet the ball with your balance hand, and
hold your ball at the extended push away destination for a second. Then, return the ball with
both hands to your original setup position. Repeat this drill several times.
During regular practice, if you round off (point down) or otherwise misdirect your push away in
any way, do this drill a couple of times, followed immediately with a full delivery?
LOWER BODY (FOOTWORK) DRILL
This drill may be done on the lanes or at home. If you use this drill at home, do it in on a
smooth surface, being careful not to scratch your floor when you slide.
Objective: to train in slow, flowing heel-toe steps to a well-balanced finish, with an upright
posture.
Directions: Take a stable setup, but hold your ball firmly at your midline; do not put your
fingers or thumb in the holes. You will keep the ball in this position during the entire drill.
Begin counting a cadence in the following manner, "one AND two AND three AND four AND
one etc. You will take four steps.
On the AND after four, step out with your swing side foot so that its heel makes contact on the
count of "one." Take normal heel-toe walking steps, concentrating on the feeling of your
weight being transferred from the heel, through the arch, to the toe as you walk forward. Do
not place one foot in front of the other or step from side-to-side. Do not shuffle and do not
hesitate between steps. Your HEELS should touch down precisely on each count of your
cadence.
Take your first three heel-toe steps without bending your knees. Then, take your fourth step
on the toe of your sliding foot, bend your swing side knee, keep your back upright and SIT
TALL. Push your sliding foot forward, using your swing side foot as an anchor.

Focus your attention on the feeling of your push and its effect on your hips and bowling
shoulder. Feel the superior body balance resulting from both feet remaining on the approach.
Repeat this drill many times, attempting to stay motionless at the end of the slide.
During regular practice, if your footwork on a previous delivery was not as it should be, do this
drill a couple of times, followed immediately with a full delivery
FINISH (LAST STEP, SLIDE, RELEASE, AND FOLLOWTHROUGH) DRILL
This drill is called the ONE-STEP DELIVERY and should be done on the lanes, since you
actually roll the ball. This drill is also a good way to warm up before beginning any bowling at
game speed.
Objective: to refine the finish by eliminating all previous steps; to troubleshoot the delivery
from any problems with the finish.
Directions: Take a normal, stable setup with your feet together. Do everything above your
waist that you do in a normal delivery. But, take no steps until your ball reaches the top of
your backswing.
When your ball is motionless at the top of the swing, begin to step forward with your sliding
foot, bending your swing side knee very deeply, and sliding at the same time. Maintain an
upright posture and lower your hips.
Keep your swing side foot on the approach. Use it as an anchor to push your sliding foot
toward the foul line. Keep your balance arm out, down, and back. Repeat this exercise as
many times as you desire; pay particular attention to the feel of your the shoulders, hips, and
back in lending stability.
During regular practice, if your finish is not stable -- especially if you step to the side after
delivering a ball, do this drill a couple of times, followed immediately with a full delivery.

































JUST LET IT FALL:
J ust let it fall! Easily said, harder to execute. I guess our whole lives we try to keep
things FROM falling. We fight against gravity every day. That invisible force that
holds us all firmly planted to the earth. But in bowling gravity can be our biggest
asset. If I had to pick the one single thing that I find wrong with the most people's
games that come to me for help, it's just that. They will not just let it fall. I am talking
about the first couple feet of travel by the ball. Different bowlers have different ways
of getting the ball into motion and that's just fine. But once the ball starts it's
downward motion you need to let it fall freely. It is a very natural tendency to hold the
ball back. To slow it from falling at the speed of gravity. To make matters worse, the
more pressure we have on us to make a good shot or if the lane condition will not
allow us much room for error, we tend to slow the ball down even more. When the
pressure is on, our brain tells us we want to be very precise in our shots. So we
unconsciously hold the ball back or slow it down in the drop swing. That is the last
thing we need to do. If anything we need to loosen up our arm swing when the
pressure is on. Remember, there is nothing more precise than gravity. For those of you
that tend to pull the ball inside your target when the pressure is on, you are most likely
a victim of this. When you hold the ball back, the total length of your swing shortens.
Your ball does not go quite as high in the back swing and so the ball arrives at the line
too soon. Making you have early timing and you throw the ball inside of your
target.
I suggest people hold their balls about waist high and push slightly up and out so
you will have a rounded motion at the end of your push away. This keeps the ball
smooth. But how ever you start the ball in motion it is extremely important that you
let the ball fall as fast as gravity will take it. Believe me, most of you don't. The
benefits of letting the ball fall freely are:
1. Increased ball speed without adding any muscle power. This is really great for
many of the ladies.
2. Improved accuracy do to the fact that falling objects always fall in a straight
line.
3. More consistency in ball speed and arm swing timing because gravity pulls at
the same rate every day 24 hours a day.
4. Less of a tendency to throw the ball slower or pull the ball inside your target
when the pressure is on, or the oil pattern is not allowing much area.
5. You will have much less of a tendency to pull the ball behind your back.
6. I believe if you do this, you have much less of a chance of developing tendonitis
in the forearm or elbow area.
Or if you already have tendonitis, letting the ball fall at the speed of gravity
will in most cases allow it to heal.







Let the ball
fall freely
from point A
to point B.
Most people
have a
tendency to
hold the ball
back here.

J ust let it drop, pull down
slightly if you have
to
At this point the ball
should feel weightless to
your
hand
Now just relax and let the
ball flow up to the
backswing

So all we have to do is let the ball drop at the speed of gravity. How fast is that?
Well it's thirty two feet per second squared. But you don't have to know that.
Everyone that has tried this sees a positive change in their game right away. The
problem is, unless you teach yourself what to look for, you can't tell if you hold the
ball back or not. You can't feel it because it's so natural for you to do it. A simple test
you can do to see if you are holding the ball back is to simply pull the ball down.
When you push the ball away and it starts to drop then help the ball down by pulling it
down into the swing. You will most likely see the ball fall much faster than before.
But it's not so much because you are pulling it down because in most cases gravity
will outrun your hand. Yes you can pull harder than gravity if you try and that's not a
good idea ether. But I have found that most people that I ask to pull the ball down do
not out run gravity. They at best just keep up with it and that's the idea. The way I test
myself to see if I am holding the ball back is to see if I can remove all the weight of
the ball out of my hand on the way down. If I can make the ball feel weightless to my
hand then my hand is falling at the same rate as the ball. Imagine there is a thumb tack
between the ball and the palm of your hand. If you can keep the ball from pushing the
thumb tack into your hand on the way down then your hand is falling at the speed of
gravity. The only time I should feel the weight of the ball is very near the bottom of
the swing. Keep in mind I am only talking about the first couple feet of ball travel
from the push away. I am not talking about the back swing at all. I feel in most cases
you should mostly just let the ball fall from the back swing too, but that is a whole
different thing.






Drifting Part 1

J ust about everyone has their on style of approach. Most people drift toward the
inside of the lane when they walk.
Some bowlers have learned to do this on purpose, while others have just turned out
that way. There are several
reasons why some bowlers and coaches believe this inside drift is best. Some bowlers
wander all over the place as
they go to the line. Still others drift differently depending on what line they are
playing. Whether or not I think drifting
is a good or bad idea is a whole other article. Keep in mind that when I say drift, I
mean the bowler does
not walk in a straight line. You can walk caddy corner across the approach and still be
walking in a straight line.
The most important thing, whether you drift or walk straight. You must do it the same
every time for the same shot
line. If you start your approach standing on the 20 board with your slide foot, and end
up on the 25 board at the foul
line, then you need to end up on that same board every time. Playing the same line,
you can't end up on 25 one shot,
27 on the next shot and 26 on the next. If you do, each of those shots will result in a
different path to the pins. At the very
least you are looking at some single pin leaves on balls that you thought should have
been strikes. Yes you may be able to
twist your body around and hit your target at the arrows while varying your approach
3 boards. But it is your accuracy at the break point that will really suffer. Granted on
some of the easier, walled up league shots, you may get away with "spraying" the ball
that much and still get to the pocket. On a strong wet - dry condition, where it is very
wet in the middle and dry on
the outside your carry will suffer greatly. If you ever bowl a megabucks tournament,
or try any level of the PBA you will have very limited success if you end up on a
different board each time. Bowling in those events, where the oil patterns are
flatter, and accuracy is a must, you will be looking at wash-outs and big fours not
strings of strikes. This variance in the drift pattern is often overlooked when players
are having a hard time getting the ball to the pocket. Most better bowlers take great
care to start their approach on exactly the same board each time. Some even down to
the half board. They know they would not fare too well, if they started their approach
on a different board every shot. But I have found that very few bowlers think about
the other end of the approach. Ending up on a different board each time, is exactly the
same as starting
out on a different board each time. I can ask a player what board the started on and
most of the time they can tell me. But if
I ask what board they ended up on most have no idea.
So how do we know if we end up on a different board each time? It's easy, just
look. Go up and throw a few shots.
Make note of what board you started on and what board your sliding foot ended up on
at the foul line. Do this with a line
that crosses the 2nd arrow.

Throw a whole game and write down what board you ended up on each time. Do this
same test with 3 different types of shots. The first will be a normal 2nd arrow shot.
The second should be a straight down and in shot over the 1st arrow. The third should
be a deep inside shot with the ball hooking as many boards as you can.
Write down your drift pattern for each type of shot. You need to know your drift
pattern for planning a line anyway. If you find out you don't end up on the same board
each time, then you've got some work to do. J ust as bowlers have a pre-shot routine
where they may wipe off their ball and maybe juggle their dry sack....they need to
start a post-shot routine. While still standing at the foul line they need to make note of
the break point the ball just hit, the board at the arrows the ball just crossed and what
board their slide foot ended up on.
Be sure to watch for part 2. Part 2 will give you some ideas on how to end up at the
same spot each time and how to learn to walk straight if you wish. Also part 2 will
show you how your drift pattern can make you miss your target as
you move deeper chasing the oil



















Drifting Part 2

First you have to learn what your feet are doing on the way to the foul line. The
best way to learn this is to
have someone video tape you. This way you can see what each foot does at each step.
When I do bowling clinics I always
bring along a good video camera. It quickens the learning curve a great deal. Believe
me, you can't feel what your feet are doing. They operate entirely on muscle memory.
One way to see what your feet are doing is to look down at your feet as you make
your approach. This seems hard but I have not had anyone fall on their head yet. Try it
a few times without the ball and make your approach. J ust look down at your feet and
notice where each step goes. Chances are it's the same foot each time that's in error.
After you do it a few times without your ball, try it with your ball. J ust stand on the
middle dot and look at a target like the 3rd arrow just to get your bearings. Then look
down at your feet and force yourself to make your approach without looking up until
the ball is delivered. Your peripheral vision will keep you from falling on your nose.
Well it does for most people. It will take a few deliveries for you to get used to
looking at your feet, so don't give up too fast on being able to do it. If your left foot
steps too far left each time then you will know it. It is a good idea to stop as soon as
you see yourself take a wrong step and start over. You have to make your feet go
where you want them to go, until they get the hang if it. A very common misstep is to
not step in on your last step. If you don't step in toward the centre of your body as you
push into your slide you will end up off balance and to the left of where you should
end up if you are right handed.
I suggest you pick a dot at the foul line that you wish to end up on. As you approach
the foul line looking at your feet, pick up that dot as you near it and slide to it. Don't
be satisfied until you can nail that dot every time. Now believe me, as soon as
you start looking at your target again your feet will go back to their old habits. You
can train your feet to do anything you want, but it takes some time. Another little trick
is to take a bright coloured sponge with you to the lanes. One that is only
about one inch wide. Place that on the board you wish to slide on, just on the other
side of the foul line. You can see the sponge in your peripheral vision and you can
walk toward it, even if you are looking at your target. If you would like to learn to
walk straight, which comes in very handy if you are playing the twig, just make your
feet touch the same board with each step. Once again stand in the middle of the
approach. Straddle the 20 board with your feet and make an approach looking down at
it. With each step, force yourself to step in enough that you touch the edge of the 20
board each time. It's like walking the yellow line for the cops only you don't go to jail
if you can't do it the first few times. Bowler's that drift way to the left (right handed)
can have a really hard time when they have to square up on the gutter. If you read my
tip on playing the twig you will see why. If you need to land your ball on the 3 board
at the foul line and have the ball ride the 3 down the lane to the break point, you will
be in big trouble if your sliding foot is ending up on 12. Your feet operate totally on
muscle memory. They have to be trained how to do something different. If I raised all
the steps in your house a half inch you would fall up them for the first few days. Then
your feet would learn they need to raise up just a little higher each time. Learning new
foot work in bowling is the same way. It takes some time so don't give up. If you
find that you can nail your foot work just fine without the ball in your hand but go off
course when you actually throw the ball then that tells you something. It means you
are working against your ball as it swings not with it. You need to check your swing
timing and maybe even your swing plane.

10 Minutes of Practice

The time has come for you to get 10 minutes of practice on your pair of lanes before the real
action starts. What do you do? Do you stand in your favourite spot and aim for your favourite
target and see if your ball goes into the pocket like you hope it will? That's what most people
do. But, I suggest an entirely different tactic.

To start with, learn what it looks like when your ball starts to read the lane. To do that, you
need to practice before the day of the tournament. It would be helpful if you put a piece of
bowlers tape on the centre of your ball (between the finger holes and thumbhole) so that you
can watch your ball roll. If you throw the ball really slow and watch the tape as it rotates
around the ball you will see immediately when your ball starts to grip the lane surface. Make
sure you remove the piece of tape before you throw that ball during any type
of competition.

The idea is that you want to go up and throw the ball at about 1/2 your normal bowling speed.
When you throw the ball that slow, the ball will start to read (grip) the lane as soon as it starts
to leave the oil and enter the drier part of the lane.

What we're looking for.. Where is the lane a little oilier and where is the lane a little drier? So,
here's what we do. Slowly walk up and throw the ball between the first arrow and the gutter at
about 1/2 speed, and watch the ball closely to see how far the ball goes down the lane before
it begins to hook.

Make a mental note of how many feet down the lane the ball went before it started to hook.
Lets say it went 25 ft. Now on your next shot, move your feet 5 boards in and move your
target 5 boards in and throw the ball the same way. This will have you throwing the ball down
the 8 board or around the 2nd arrow. We don't have to be exact in our shots at this point so if
you just get close that's ok. Note we made a parallel move with our feet and target so we are
pretty much trying to throw the ball down the boards more than swing the ball.

Again, make a note how far the ball travels down the lane before it begins to hook. Lets say it
went 35 ft. The next shot we continue by moving in 5 boards with our feet and 5 boards with
our target and we throw the ball again. This will have you throwing the ball around the 13
board. Let's say the ball started to roll this time around 40 ft.
If you have time you can do the same thing and throw the ball right down the middle of the
lane. The idea here is that we're trying to get a mental picture of what type of oil pattern the
lane plays like. If the ball goes a little longer with each shot then we know we are bowling on a
typical house shot or wall type of pattern.

Use a medium hooking ball not your most aggressive or plastic ball to gauge this.

Next thing we do, we shoot at a 7 pin and a 10 pin. Now armed with the info, we have an
idea how the lanes were oiled, we can now find our strike shot to score well today. This
exercise will tell us right away in practice not during the tournament if we have an out of
bounds or an area we need to get to or an area that we need to avoid. Remember during our
first four shots, we don't care if the ball ever comes in contact with the pin we only want to
watch the cover of the ball to see where it reads the lane and how far down the lane.

Now in our remaining practice time, we find a line to the pocket and I suggest that you throw
the ball a little harder than you think you throw the ball. The reason for that is, I have seen
countless times when guys in practice will throw strike after strike and when they turn the
lights on, the ball goes thru the nose or washes out then they come back to say, 'boy the
lanes really changed from practice.' What really happened is when we turned the lights on
and the balls mattered, we threw the ball a little harder or added more revs because it counts
now and its us that changed, not the lanes.
Remember, it takes 2 people to bowl a game in a tournament. You and the lane man. The
lane man already did his job, but he's not talking. We have to find out on our own what he's
done. It is a big advantage if we can find that out during practice instead of the first spare we
miss because we didn't know what the lane man did.


MENTAL GAME:
As Sport is, by it's very nature, a competitive event it means you must constantly
strive to better your performance - or accept the fact that, either you will never reach
higher levels or, if you are already at those higher levels, that others will catch you up
and overtake you. Your attitude determines how you react to this situation. Regardless
of whether you are a beginner or compete at international level differences in attitude
can directly affect your chances of achieving higher levels of success
Probably one of the most misunderstood and ignored areas of bowling is the mental
game. J ust what is the Mental Game?
To excel in ANY sport, you must not only possess the physical ability to accomplish
the task, but also have to possess the right frame of mind. This not only includes when
you are excelling, but more importantly, when you AREN'T excelling. The ability to
react, adjust and overcome your problems applies not only to bowling but to life as
well.
There are five basic components that make up a Successful Mental Game:
Stress Management/Proper Breathing
Self Talk
Self Imagery
Concentration
Self Confidence
Life can be stressful. Competition in itself brings with it's own acute stress. These 2
factors often translate into poor performance during competition. The use of relation
tapes can help alleviate the stress caused by outside influences. To reduce pressure
during actual competition, try deep breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can be
effectively utilized to eliminate nervousness and promote successful performance.
Breathe deeply, hold it in for a few moments, then slowly exhale. This should be
performed a few times while waiting to bowl.
Self Talk Each of us has that little voice in the back of our mind that either offers
encouragement or negative thoughts. Generating a positive mental attitude takes
conscious thought and effort, and a good way to do this is to talk positively to
yourself. Often negative talk is demonstrated by the way a bowler reacts. If a bowler
has hands clenched, teeth together in a tight grimace, eyes downcast, it is reasonable
to assume negative thoughts are going through the bowler's mind. It is said that a
bowler's worst critic is himself! If this is the case, the individual should view self
criticism as positive suggestions toward improvement & growth, not self
recrimination.
Self Imagery A bowler should be thinking of a clear mental picture of the path the
bowling ball will take down the lane. This is the 1st stage. After the Line in the Mind
is visualized, (s)he should develop a clear mental picture of actually executing the
necessary motions to realize the end goal of making a strike or converting a spare.
Self Imagery Is Basically Visualizing The Act Instead Of The Result. You should
imagine yourself performing the actions & achieving the proper angle necessary to
make the strike, instead of imagining the ten pins falling down at the pin triangle.
Concentration During actual competition, you should have your mind focused on the
game itself. You do not need to be unsociable with your friends during competition.
After all, one of the greatest motivations to bowl is the resulting fellowship with other
bowlers. Some bowlers need to "get into themselves" in order to compete
successfully; any distractions will inhibit their performance. Others only realize their
optimum potential when they are relaxing & having fun with their friends at the same
time. Keep you mind focused, but you do not have to block out the world, if that is not
what you need to bowl your best competition game.
Self Confidence = Competence. If bowlers possess the knowledge, and have
practiced and trained their bodies to translate this knowledge into proper actions, they
will possess confidence in their abilities. Yet self confidence is also a direct result of
the other four facets of a successful mental game we just covered. If you:
Effectively Manage Stress Before & During Practice;
Reinforce a Positive Mental Attitude by Positive Inner Thoughts;
Develop Positive Mental Thought Pictures Geared Toward Success;
Concentrate on the Game at Hand without Being Distracted; you will be
confident in your abilities.
(Special competition section) Determining Optimum Arousal Levels:
Arousal levels refer to the emotional states a person may be in at the moment of
competition. Many people mistakenly think that the higher the arousal level, the better
they will perform. This is Not the case. A person can become over-aroused, a state
often referred to as being "psyched-out" or over motivated. An OVER-AROUSED
person experiences poor performance because:
The body tightens due to overall muscle tension.
The perceptual field narrows.
(S)He worries about worrying.
If a person is UNDER-AROUSED, performances will also be poor because:
Adrenaline levels are too low to activate the muscle potential and optimum
reaction time.
The brain functions sluggishly.
Concentration is decreased.
The desire to excel is diminished.
How can you find your Optimum Arousal State?
When you have played a successful game, take the time to review how you felt
during competition, and how you feel, now that it's over. This is the state you should
strive for. Not too hot, and not too cold; psyched-up, but not psyched-out.









Attitude Impacts Outcome
PMA - Positive Mental Attitude: you've heard it before. We will
present a chart showing the relationship between your attitude
and the chance of achieving success.

Because sport is, by it's very nature, a competitive event it means you must constantly
strive to better your performance - or accept the fact that, either you will never reach
higher levels or, if you are already at those higher levels, that others will catch you up
and overtake you. Your attitude determines how you react to this situation. Regardless
of whether you are a beginner or compete at international level differences in attitude
can directly affect your chances of achieving higher levels of success.

Attitude
This chart was produced by the USOC (United States Olympic
Committee) for their athletes.

The graph provides an excellent visual comparison
between the Can-Do attitudes of the successful bowler
compared to that of a person looking for an excuse, a way
out, a way round the challenge. "If you say you can't,
you're probably right" is a famous quote by Henry Ford,
nothing is ever absolutely certain, though, so the chart
puts a very small likelihood of success against the
can't/won't attitudes.
Notice, however, that even at these lower level attitudes the
bowler is quite close to a positive change - once he or she gets
over the denial stage, realises that they don't know (but would
like to learn) they can ask for help. A coach or a fellow team-
mate can provide the help but the bowler has to be ready to
accept the advice, if they are still stuck in the denial
(can't/won't), the advice will fall on deaf ears.

If you say you
can't, you're
probably right
Your attitude
determines your
altitude
A quitter never
wins and a
winner never
quits



BE PREPARED:

Something to consider that is often ignored, is the need to have an "accessory
kit" of some sort in your bowling bag or, as part of your bowling equipment.
Lets look at what might be included in your accessory kit. Some of this
material may need no explanation, some may. You may also have other items
that you would include in your kit.
TOWEL: Use to wipe ball and dry hand. Best if the towel has two
distinct sides. You then keep from wiping your hand on the side that is
meant for the oil from the ball.
ROSIN BAG: Keeps the hand dry.
SCISSORS
NAIL FILE
NAIL CLIPPERS
PEN KNIFE OR SIMILAR ITEM
SHOE LACES
THUMB PATCH: Nu-Skin or Super Glue work well. If you use Nu-Skin
and get tired of the nylon patches falling off, pack a two inch square
piece of sheer panty hose and cut patches from it. The panty hose will
allow you to cover the entire area and a little moreit also will adhere
to the skin better than the nylon patches that come with the Nu-Skin.
MEDICATION: Advil, aspirin, etc.
EXTRA SET OF FINGER INSERTS: If you use the rubber inserts in
your finger grips
SUPER GLUE: Anytime an insert (thumb or finger) becomes loose,
you can put it back in place.
THREE BLADED BEVEL KNIFE: Like you find in the pro shop. Used
to make subtle adjustments to finger holes or thumb holes.
RAT TAIL FILE: In case your thumb or finger holes get too small you
can open them up with the file.
BOWLERS TAPE: White for the front and black for the back of the
thumb.
TAPE TOOL: A special plastic tool that is designed to quickly put tape
in and take tape out of the thumbhole. Can be purchased at most pro
shops.
BANDAIDS
SAND PAPER OR SCREEN: This may be used in place of the bevel
knife to modify the size of thumb and finger holes.
BALL CLEANER
BALL POLISH: Remember, you cannot alter the surface of the ball
after you have begun your competition
RECORD KEEPING MATERIALS: Some bowlers like to keep records
of how they did. Lane conditions, equipment used, scores, etc. A
notebook or pre-prepared form works well.
EASY SLIDE: Be careful to use in small amounts and do not get it in
an area where another bowler might accidentally step in it or get it on
their hands.
BEING PREPARED gives you the best opportunity to perform at your highest
level.


Know Yourself:

It comes out of nowherejust when you least expect it. It takes control and
you are at its mercy? Have you never taken the most smooth and effortless
approach, and just at the moment of releasethe DARK SIDE prevails? Of
what do I speak?

You know, when some unknown force causes you to let go of the ball far too
late and the hand goes way too far around the ball. The result is a ball off line
and/or pathetically weak when it hits the pins. Yes, bowlers, anytime you let
go of the ball follow through and as you look at your bowling hand you see
the back portion of it staring you in the face, you can claim to have seen the
dark side. Overturning the ball is an all too common fault many bowlers
experience. If this is a problem for you, here are some potential solutions.
The source of the problem may be found in a number of areas.
1. If, when you bowl and relax the thumb pressure, you drop the ball
much too soonadd tape to the thumbhole for a more snug fit.
2. ARM SWING: An arm swing that is controlled can also contribute to the
overturning of the ball at release. It goes hand-in-hand (no pun
intended) with establishing the correct grip pressure. To eliminate the
control in your swing try this: Experiment to see if your starting position
can be improved by moving up in half-shoe increments. Take several
shots at each new starting spot. You should find one fairly quickly that
allows you consistency, balance, and a great release.
3. One last word about the dark side. Take a piece of white tape and
put it on the back of your hand. After each delivery, check your hand in
the follow through position. If you see the tape, welcome back to the
dark side. If you dont see the tapeTHATS GOOD, and your
bowling scores will reflect that positive change in your game.

Pressure shots

How do you throw a quality shot when the pressure is really on? You have to
strike on the next ball to win a tourney or shoot a 300 game What you do
under pressure has to be learned in practice. After all how often do these
shots come up? First, you take a look at your individual game. I am willing to
bet that you can find 2 things that are "KEY" to you making a great shot.. Two
things, that if executed well, makes the shot as a whole a quality one. We will
call these two things your "2 KEYS".
Your first key needs to come at or near the start of the approach. That key
for you may be something like "OK short first step" or "OK strong push away"
or "OK let it drop free"...
The second of your keys need to come at or near the end of your approach.
That for you may be "OK get out early" or "OK extend" or "OK stay down
low"...
Your keys often are your problem areas. The things you get lazy about doing
some times and they creep into your game; causing you to make bad shots.
After you have found your two keys use them in practice for every ball you
throw. When we are really bowling well we don't have to think at all. J ust go
up and do it. Everything just flows. Even when that is the case you still need to
focus on your keys every 2nd or 3rd shot.
Here is the reason: If you are bowling league and you have the first 11
strikes in a row you can start to wonder as you get set for your last ball how in
the world did you throw the first 11?
This is why you must do your "Keys" even if you are striking at will.
Sometimes, we can throw a ton of strikes even when we are not on our best
game. If you don't do your keys then you can wonder if you were doing them
all along. Assuming you were using your two keys during the game, this is
what you do when the pressure is on. You get set on the approach and the
only thing you think about is your first "key". Let's say that is OK, good push
away". So at the start of your approach you say to yourself ( out loud is OK )
OK, good push away" and you do it. After you have done your first key and
you have executed it well, you switch your mind to think only about your 2nd
key. Let's say that is a deep knee bend. You are half way through your
approach and now you say "Deep Knee Bend". That is all you think about and
you do it. You will do it well and at the right time because that is all you
have been thinking about for the past few seconds. You do your deep knee
bend and you got it. A great shot when it counts the most. One reason this
works well on high pressure shots is because you keep your mind busy. You
don't have time to have negative thoughts or worry about tossing a bad shot.
Your mind is simply too busy thinking of your keys and doing them well.





























SPARING SYSTEM

The reason for this sparing system is because of todays lane conditions where there is
generally a lot more oil in the middle of the lane (between Board 10 to Board 30).

Starting point for all spares is arrow 4 (target).

Assuming that the bowler bowls a straight ball and they had to spare Pin 5, using the
4
th
arrow as the target and standing on Board 30 on the approach , they would release
the ball over the 4
th
arrow with the thumb straight up (towards the pin).

Assuming the bowler has a five board hook and they had to spare Pin 5, using the 4
th

arrow as the target and standing on Board 35 on the approach (a five board adjustment
with the feet), they would release the ball over the 4
th
arrow with the thumb straight
up (towards the pin).

These adjustments are reversed for the left handed bowlers.

These adjustments have a three-fold learning effect:

1. Bowlers learn how to move feet to adjust to a particular lane condition
2. Bowlers understand what the ball does when thumb is in different
positions at release
3. Bowlers learn how important it is to have control of their release






























Targeting Systems
Strikes and Spares: the scoring systems rewards them with bonus
points, so you want to find a strike line and make all spares you
leave. You can do this by guessing and experience, but there are
better ways that work very well.
Whether you are a 150 average bowler looking to move up to a 180 or a 190 bowler
striving to average 200, knowing just a couple of these systems can help you score
more than your opponent. Read on for more information...
Systems
System Description
3-6-9
This spare system uses simple left-right
adjustments in your starting position
2-4-6
This spare systems changes your target but works
just as well (if not better)
5-4-3
This system changes your angle of entry to the
pocket to carry more strikes
Comparisons
Side by side comparison of the 3-6-9 and 2-4-6
systems
KISS
Keep it Simple Stupid! Hard & Fast with a cheap
plastic ball works well too.
Unless you have someone to teach you these systems you may have learned to simply throw "at" your spare: but
there are better ways. There are arrows at specific points on the lane, they are they for a reason and
these systems make use of them. Think of spares as opportunities - ways to improve your score, with
the bonus of the next ball you throw being added on for every spare you make. On the downside,
missing simple spares reduces your score. Throwing "at" your spare can work for simple, single-pin
spares but, for more complex spares these simple systems can increase your accuracy, help you make
more spares and, thus, add those extra pins to your score.
Lines:
These systems use "lines", which you can see drawn on the diagrams. Of
course, when you are bowling you can't draw lines on the lane, so have to
imagine it ("the line in your mind" as some call it).
All lines have two ends: these end points are where your feet are
on the approach and where the ball hits the pins. We also use a
third point, your target, e.g. an arrow or a specific board between
two arrows Note: These systems are not written in stone: sometimes they can let you
down - for example, if there is more oil in the middle of the lane, angling your ball into that
'puddle' may create more skid. But, by combining these systems you can be really creative
in choosing your shots: e.g. use 5- 4- 3 to make a fifteen board j ump left and then use 2- 4- 6
to adj ust that new line to pick of a spare using a completely different part of the lane. I f
your opponent isn't able to do this you have a competitive advantage. To be confident, of
course, you must practise this.
Targeting:
The bowling lane and approach contain DOTS (dowels) and ARROWS which are visual aids
to proper alignment for strikes and spares. These aids are positioned on numbered boards.
ON THE APPROACH
There are three sets of seven dots on the approach. The first set located approximately 15
feet from the foul line; the second set is 12 feet away; and the third set is approximately 3
inches away. In some centres, the outermost dots are missing at the 12- and 15-foot levels.
The centre dot in each set is larger than the rest. You use the first two sets to help you
choose where to stand on the approach for strikes and spares -- your SETUP LOCATION.
The third set will help you or an observer determine exactly where your ball touches down on
the lane -- the TOUCHDOWN POINT.
The numbers of the boards upon which the dots are placed are indicated in figure 1. In order
for all bowlers to communicate correctly, right-handed bowlers need to count from right to left,
while left-handed bowlers need to count from left to right. For purposes of explaining strike
targeting below, we will limit the number of playable boards at 20. Therefore, the sequence is
5, 10, 15, 20, 15, 10, and 5. We will change our illustration when we talk about spare
shooting.
ON THE LANE
There is a set of SEVEN ARROWS located approximately 15 feet from the foul line and a set
of TEN DOTS located approximately six feet from the foul line. These are parts of the
RANGEFINDER targeting system innovated by Brunswick during the second world war.
The board numbers are indicated in figure 1. Note that the approach dots and the lane arrows
are in line with the pins, while the lane dots are not.
HOW TO ARGET FOR A STRIKE WHILE IN YOUR SETUP
You may use either the arrows or the dots as your VISUAL TARGET -- the point where you fix
your gaze. The following method uses BOTH -- the way the Rangefinder system was
originally intended to be used. The sequence is shown in figure 2.
1. First, choose your intended target line starting from the approach dots at the foul line and
ending with the arrows at 15 feet; your target line is approximately 15 feet long. Let's pick a
12-to-8 target line; your ball touches down on board 12 and crosses board 8 at the arrows.
walk toward your target.
2. Next, extend this path in your mind's eye all the way back to your setup position on the
approach. It crosses board 16 at the level of your setup. walk toward your target.
3. Position your bowling shoulder and your ball directly over this extended target line. in this
case, both would be over board 16, with your forearm in line with your target. walk toward
your target.
4. Square your shoulders so that they are 90 degrees to your forearm. walk toward your
target.
5. Square your feet perpendicular to your shoulders and parallel with your target line to
ensure that you will walk parallel with your swing. walk toward your target.
6. Since the lane dots at six feet are closer and easier to see, drop your gaze back to these
and use them as your visual target during your delivery. Since these dots are closer to each
other, you can more effectively "fine tune" where you place your ball along your target line.
walk toward your target.
7. When you start to move, make sure to push your ball toward your target and walk toward
your target.






The 3-6-9 Spare System
Spare are crucial: at the highest level you simply cannot miss spares
while, if you are new to the sport, making more spares is the
simplest way to raise your average to the 180 level.
The 3-6-9 is probably the most widely known and easiest system to learn and use. By moving your feet
three, six or nine boards (thus the "3-6-9" name) from the spot you stood to shoot your strike you can easily
convert all but the hardest spares. That's all there is to it. Read on to find out how it can work for you.


How to use the 3-6-9 System
Far-Side
*
Spares The 3-6-9 System Near-Side
*
Spares

Adjust
from
Strike-
Line


You have two key
lines from which
you'll make
adjustments: your
Adjust from corner-
pin
*
Line


boards outside. For near-
side spares adjust off your
corner-pin line, moving 3
or 6 boards inside.



















































The 2-4-6 Spare System
This simple spare system involves moving your target two, four or
six boards to cover any combination of pins. That's all there is to it.
This system is not as widely known as the more popular 3-6-9 system but has advantages that you
can use to improve your lane-play skills. Read on to find out how it can work for you.


How to use 2-4-6
Using the 2-4-6 System
The 3-6-9 is
probably the
most widely
taught spare
system. The
2-4-6,
though, is
slightly more
accurate.
Instead of
moving your
feet, here
your feet
will remain
on the same
spot and you
visually
adjust your
target.
This can have
advantages. If you
can't move your feet
because the ball
return is in your
way, or you're on an
end-lane and there
is a wall, moving
your feet may create
problems. Also, if
all players are on
the same target it
will dry out faster:
being able to
change your target
can help you get
into fresh oil.
For example, if your strike-line
(yellow) is 17-10 (feet on board 17 in
the stance and ball delivered over
board 10, i.e. 2nd arrow) you can
deliver your ball two boards more
inside (making your line 17-12) to
take out the next pin (2-pin for a
rightie, 3-pin for a leftie).
Similarly, a four board shift in the target will
take out the four pin (6-pin for a leftie) and a six
board adjustment will cover the seven pin (10-
pin for a leftie).
J ust like with the 3-6-9 system you can adjust
off your corner-pin line to pick up spares on the
other side of the lane.
Summary
Your starting position is
unchanged; keep your feet on
the same spot on the
approach, but visually target
two, four or six boards off
your key line to pick up
spares.










The 5-4-3 System
You've got a good spare game and get can your ball to the pocket
but aren't carrying as many strikes as you'd like. The 5-4-3
system will enable you to change your angle of entry to the
pocket so you can carry the strikes you need to raise your
average.


How to use it
The 5-4-3 System
Spares are the
foundation of a
good game: if you
miss a spare you
are effectively
handicapping
yourself, giving
your opponent
free pins. But,
unless you string
strikes together, a
spare-game will
limit you to being
a 180 average
player.
To raise your average
over the 180 mark you
need to put two or more
strikes together. You
know that sometimes a
pocket ball doesn't
strike: depending on
your style and the lane
condition.
All the lines on the
diagram are hitting the
pocket, but not all of
them will have the
same strike rate. The 5-
4-3 system lets you
jump around the lane
with confidence so you
can find the optimum
strike line and carry the
strikes to break into the
200 averages.
Too much angle runs the risk of
leaving splits or 3-6-10
combinations: moving to an inside
line can reduce the angle of entry.
Alternatively, if you don't have enough
angle of entry your ball hits like a wet
marshmallow (leaving five pins or 2-
10's). Moving to an outside line
creates more angle.
The 5-4-3 system is more complex
than most spare systems but, with
practise, will give you the confidence
to play all parts of the lane and
increase your time "in the zone".
Summary
By moving your feet in five
board jumps and your target
by three boards you can use
the whole lane to find the
best angle to carry the
strikes you need.





Comparing Spare Systems
You know by now that spares can put pins on your average and
that a solid spare game is essential if you are to compete
successfully at tournament level. But which is the best system?
There is no one single best way, you have to use what works best
for you.
Here we will compare the 2-4-6 and 3-6-9 systems side-by-side.






3-6-9 System
Comparing
Systems
2-4-6 System

Some people prefer to
use the one system
over another, finding it
easier to keep their
target the same, or
alternatively keep their
feet in the same spot.

With the 3-6-9
system you keep the
same target and
move your feet to
the left or to the
right. You move your
feet in jumps of
three, six or nine
boards.
To use the 2-4-6
system you deliver
the ball more to the
left or right of your
base target. The target
changes by two, four
or six boards.
Once you've got a
system that works
best for you it's time
to start zoning in on
the strike line faster.
The 5-4-3 system can
help you do that.




At the very beginning of a bowlers development,
probably the first time they bowl they learn to aim.
Primitive systems are developed, but most adopt
aiming at the pins as their system of choice.
Invariably there is an established bowler in the
group who advises them to aim at the second arrow
and stand in the center of the lane. The rationale
being that its easier to hit something 15 away than
something 60 away. The new bowler adopting the
new system notices that it is easier to hit the target
but becomes confused later when they notice that although hitting the target twice in a
row the ball ends up in a different place at the pins. This confusion is explained as
ending up at a different place at the foul line, thus dissecting the target from a
different angle. So the bowler proceeds to spend the rest of their bowling career
attempting to arrive at exactly the same position. Although some great players achieve
near perfection, for most this
goal is unattainable. A one-
board error at the foul line
translates into a two-board
error at the pins, the difference
between a strike and a split.
Elite players progress through
the one target system to a two-
target system, eventually
adopting a more
comprehensive system that
allows for instinctive foul line
correction. These advanced
systems either establish a
visual line to the break point or
the strike pocket, or an area
located at the break point.
Different styles of play require
different aiming systems e.g.
the Power Game players
should adopt an area located at
the break point where as
Straighter Game players prefer
a visual line or a two target
system. Its important to
understand and remember that
any aiming system is a
reference much like the lines
of the highway. This manual
will outline most of the
existing aiming systems and
finally analyze the players
ability to spontaneously
calculate, its implementation into their game and the consequences of omitting or
relying on its advantages too much.



Adopting a one-target system is much like shooting a rifle with only one sight. A
hunter would never expect to hit a target with only the sight at the end of the rifle, so
why do bowlers expect to strike consistently by aiming at the arrows or the dots. In
fact evolving from aiming at the pins to aiming at the arrows does more harm than
good. At least by aiming at the pins it allows athletes to spontaneously, instinctively
correct themselves. In addition, drifting right during the approach is easily, though not
precisely, adjusted, with a re-direction of the arm towards the intended target (the
head pin). When using the arrow as the target this instinctive ability is now directed to
hitting the target, in doing so missing the goal (strike pocket). Even though this is a
primitive and unacceptable long term aiming system it keeps the beginner around the
head pin & achieving a more constructive result. This helps their self-esteem and
keeps them in the game long enough for them to develop a more advanced aiming
system. In summary then, even beginner bowlers should be encouraged to design an
aiming system that requires two targets.




There are many variations of the two target system the most common are as follows;
Foul line to arrows
Foul line to dots
Foul line to break point
Dots to arrows
Dots to break point
Arrows to break point

Before deciding which system to use certain things must be taken into consideration.
The style of play, the area of the lane the player wishes to use, the ball reaction and
the tendencies of the players game. With an outside line the target system should be
closer to the player, conversely an inside line requires an extended aiming system
(sighting further down the lane). Straighter Game players can use any of the two-
target systems, where as the Power Game player should use a system that includes the
break point. If the player is having trouble extending the ball down the lane due to the
balls dynamics and/or surface, a target system further away from the foul line will
assist that goal, again the opposite (targeting closer) is recommended for the need for
an early rolling ball. If a player hits up on
the ball and as a result usually gets earlier
roll, then the systems further down the lane
will best match-up. Bowlers that create an
extended skid should look closer to provide
an earlier laydown point. For many players,
as their technical & tactical games advance
into elitism the two-target system becomes
somewhat inadequate, so they develop either
visual lines to the break point or in the case
of the Power Game player, an area system
that encompasses the break point.




Line bowling is highly recommended for the
Straighter Game player. Visualizing a line
from either the stance or foul line to the break point provides the perfect reference for
the Straighter Game players corrective system. The visual line works as a reference
much like the lines in the road, by observing the reference the player can detect during
the approach whether they are walking the reference line or not.

If they find they are off line they instinctively adjust by using their sub conscious
corrective system, as described in the Instinctive Foul Line Correction section
found later in this text. When establishing a visual aiming system for a player the
coach can either tape the visual line (place the tape every 8ft or so) on the lane or
place a ribbon from the foul line to the break point.

These aids visually assist the athlete to picture the reference, as the player advances
take sections of the visual aids away until no aids are required for the bowler to
picture the target line. This nurturing usually takes about 15 sessions.




















When
talking
about
aiming
systems typically your first thought is accuracy. When
addressing the bowling environment for the Power Game
player accuracy becomes less and less significant. With
lane conditions the way they are (providing varying
degrees of steerability to the pocket) and bowling
equipment as powerful as it has become the old terms
like: threading the needle or splitting your target in
half have gone by the way of the dinosaur.


The reason the Power Game has become so dominant on most house conditions today
is because there is usually steer ability! To execute a power release, and a high
revolution rate, plus plenty of ball speed, requires all kinds of additional movements
that are different from your traditional Straighter Game. When youre executing all
these additional movements something will always be sacrificed and usually its
accuracy!

However the question remains?
What do you do when this doesnt
work? This is why as coaches and
bowlers its important to
understand, teach and learn both
games. The A game can be the
Power Game and the B game can
be the Straighter Game. Whatever
game works best that day will be
the style the bowler must adopt.

Lets assume the player has
mastered the very difficult
techniques of the Power Game and
the condition he is playing on today
requires its use. He must first ask
himself, what should I look at?
What should I be thinking
when Im standing on the
approach? If he thinks in terms
of cutting his target in half with
pinpoint accuracy he is
defeating the purpose of the
Power Game. He should think
in terms of selecting a
breakpoint, which will give
him the highest strike
percentage and getting the ball
to that area. Thats really all
that matters. The break point
area should be between 3-5
boards across and about 8
inches down the lane. This
method allows players to stay loose,
implement foul line correction, and
maintain their individuality without
trying to be the model of perfection.
Remember, however, there are still
several key fundamentals that you
must master to be a good bowler,
period. These fundamentals will allow
you the opportunity to have a high degree of consistency and repeatability. But again
the advantage of the Power Game is that pinpoint accuracy becomes less important!

The easiest way to determine where this area is located is to watch others who are
striking a lot. Even if there games are different from yours there is still a lot that can
be learned. Watch closely where their ball is turning toward the pocket. Is it 34 feet on
the 6-board? Is it 38 feet on the 10-board? Wherever it is you simply visualize a 4x
8 rectangle on that area. Now your challenge is to make the necessary adjustments to
match up this breakpoint with your style and the equipment you may be using.

Once youve established where this 4x 8 rectangle is you can draw an imaginary
line from that rectangle back through the arrows to the foul line. By doing this you
will see and feel the angle and path your ball needs to take. This angle becomes the
most important part of your success. A common system used in the Power Game is to
get the ball to the desired location by simply moving the eyes closer or further away.
With this technique bowlers dont have to move their feet. By keeping their eyes on
the same board or target. If they want more angle they should bring their eyes 1 foot
closer and if they want less angle move their eyes 1 foot further away. Without the
proper angle their ball cannot get to its final route, which is the rectangle.

The angle to the rectangle can change based on several things.

#1. If a player delivers the ball to that spot on their first shot and the ball doesnt hook
enough to get back to the pocket they can:

Move right with their feet creating less angle to that spot
Change to a stronger bowling ball so it will hook more when it gets there
Slow down their ball speed giving the ball more time to recover
Apply more rotation to their release which most times will create more
backend reaction
Also they can apply any combination of the above

#2. If they deliver the ball to that spot on their first shot, and their ball hooks too
violently and goes high, or even Brooklyn, they can:

Move left with their feet creating more angle to that spot
Change to a weaker ball so it will hook less when it gets there
Increase their ball speed giving the ball less time to hook
Apply less rotation to their release which most often will create less backend
reaction
Again, they can apply a combination of all of the above

As you can see there are several tactical decisions the bowler will have to make
during the process of utilizing the rectangle concept, however the most important
element is to focus on feel and visualization. The primary concern is getting the
ball off the hand in a clean and smooth movement. If bowlers maintain power and
proper angle to the right (right handed bowler) they will be successful.




The bowlers ability to react instead of premeditating their actions is a key when
trying to help them become an elite player. Most bowlers have a desire to control
their actions to the point where they mistrust their unconscious abilities, instead
trusting in the methodical approach of conscious thought. The control that they
cherish so fervently can only be found in their ability to trust their instinctive
programming. To improve our instincts we must devise ways to program precise
information onto our brains memory bank so that the trial and error corrective
system can adjust itself.

In bowling, the information that we require to program our instinctive skills comes
from being able to acquire information from our own body, early enough in the
swing so that the body can detect the swings intended line of flight and adjust its
release position to compensate for any discrepancy. Many high-average bowlers
have these abilities but are unable to fully understand them or how they work. We
call these unconscious attributes foul line correction.

Foul-line correction is not a god-given talent that players either have or dont
have; rather, it is a learned skill. When we are young we all possess these abilities
but as we grow older and acquire more information we depend more and more on
the logical process and conscious control. In the next few pages you will develop
a better understanding of foul line correction, and acquire a method to promote the
foul line correction skills.

We will examine two basic types of foul-line correction: one that is used by
players that delivery the ball parallel to their optimum target line (parallel line
adjustment) and the other that adjusts to by dissecting the break point from a
different angle (dissecting line adjustment). Bowlers use these adjustments
constantly without realizing or appreciating the skill they are utilizing. Lets get on
to the practice methods that will help your students attain the foul-line correction
skills and confidence to implement them.



The first adjustment to learn is the parallel line
system. This method of bowling is based on
having three closely aligned lines to the pocket.
One line, which we will identify as the optimum
line, a second line which is located just inside the
optimum line (which is delivered with a hand
position that creates a slightly smaller hook), and
the third line which is located just outside the
optimum line (which requires a hand position that
delivers a slightly larger hook). Both adjustments
are delivered parallel to the intended line.
Many bowlers have their own name for a similar
method of aiming. Although it may seem a
difficult task to teach whether the swing is inside
or outside the intended line, the bowler is usually
pleasantly surprised at how attainable this skill can
be.

One of the ways to be able to heighten awareness
of the swings direction is once the bowler has
determined their ultimate line; they should practice extreme inside and outside
swings relative to the ultimate line. This will make it easier to detect the subtle
differences in the swings direction and therefore speed up the related response,
giving the brain that little extra time to make the corresponding adjustment (either
release and/or ball speed change).

One of the many advantages of this method is that the pressure to be perfect is
eliminated, since the bowler does not care which of the lines they use for the shot,
their only concern becomes being able to detect which line they are now lined up
with during the execution of the delivery.

The hand position adjustment is done below the threshold of conscious thought
and is performed by the subconscious. By feeding in the correct information on
previous shots over an area, the subconscious is able to adjust its release to
produce the required amount of hook. Each lane condition bowled on will require
varying amounts of hook, but the adjustment the hand makes remains the same,
which certainly helps the brain in programming this adjustment.

When relating to the outside line the optimum release, it is
important to recognize an error that is often made. Bowlers
have a tendency to use their biggest hooking release over the
optimum line. The problem with doing this is that there is no
passing gear left in the engine when they need that little extra
when finding themselves outside their intended line. Always
have a little extra hook available in the release in case its
needed.

This method of aiming is most widely used by curve ball
bowlers, while the next method discussed, the dissecting line system, is used
mainly by bowlers that produce a late hooking ball, namely hook bowlers.

The jest of what we are attempting is, to have the bowler recognize as early as
possible whether or not he/she are in line with their intended line of flight. If they
determine that they are not in line, then they can employ some form of adjustment
to compensate. The use of the ultimate line in the parallel line system assists them
to be aware of their position on the lane, so that the brain has a tangible reference.
When driving, we use the lines on the highway line for this sort of reference to
help determine our position on the road.

Another analogy to the ultimate line reference he center line in curling which is
used by curlers to give them an awareness of the center of the sheet during their
delivery. To carry the analogy one step further if a curler were to hit the broom
without the center line reference, any deviance to the left or right would result in a
misdirected shot, similar to the bowler hitting his target without giving
consideration to his position at the foul line.

Targeting the Goal

As we discussed earlier in this text, one of the major flaws in the traditional
methods of teaching people to bowl is the insistence on using spot bowling as the
method of aiming. Following is some additional reasons why the one-target
system is counterproductive.

When you concentrate on the target alone it becomes the short-term goal, since we
strive to complete our goals, hitting the target becomes our dominant thought
instead of the true goal of hitting the pocket. The goal should not be hitting the
target; otherwise this eliminates the instinctive corrective powers of the brain to
adjust itself to the pocket. It will instead adjust itself to hit the target without
taking into consideration where the ball will end up 60 feet away.

Use the target system as a reference point only to help you visualize the ultimate
line to the pocket. The visual image of the ultimate line is the reference the
subconscious needs to refer to when calculating the specific foul-line correction
required.

Another reference point that is most beneficial when plotting the ultimate line is
the point where the ball initially starts to hook. This is important for three
reasons. The first being that this makes it easier to visualize the ultimate line
since the line you are trying to visualize is perfectly straight from the foul line to
the break point. Secondly, this creates an awareness of the break point itself,
which helps to expose its relationship to pin-carry. Thirdly, this opens the door to
a second form of instinctive line adjustment, which we will call the dissecting line
system.



The dissecting line system is used by most Straighter Game players and is used by
them to compensate for drifting on the approach. It is based on the break point
being one of two references for the instinctive foul-line correction system and the
other being the strike pocket. The two things a
bowler should never divert his attention from are
the pocket (his/her short tem goal) and the break
point (his/her reference point).

As a right-hander, when drifting slightly right
he/she should maintain the break point and
pocket as their reference points and either
decreases the amount of hook and/or increase the
ball speed. This will keep the ball in the pocket
area. The release adjustment is achieved by
decreasing the angle of the rotation of the
bowling ball, by eliminating the rotation around
the ball made by the fingers during the release.
This is usually described as staying further
behind the ball.

If they drift left, a larger hook is now required to
get back to the pocket area. The correct release
adjustment would be an increase in rotation
around the ball in order to reach the 4 oclock
position with the fingers before applying the
upward lift on the ball.

It should be pointed out that we are using the lift
release in this particular example of hand
adjustment. Turn releases, lift and turn and turn
and lift releases require slightly different adjustments, but the main point is that
when a larger hook or a smaller hook is needed the bowler must adjust their
release to gain the compensation they desire.

When the bowler is practicing, he/she should concentrate on creating awareness of
these foul line adjustments. Similar to the exercise in detecting swing
discrepancies, while practicing dissecting line adjustment an exaggerated drift on
the approach will aid the bodys ability to detect subtle differences. Have the
bowler practice some deliveries drifting inside their line and then some drifting
outside their line. Remember that when they drift outside the line they should
decrease the angle of the balls rotation in much the same way they do when the
swing is inside the ultimate line in the parallel line corrective system.

An elite bowler can use both the dissecting and parallel line foul line adjustments.

Once the pupil has become familiar with the parallel line foul line corrective
system and the dissecting line foul line corrective system, and are able to
distinguish between the two, they can now attempt a third aiming system which
requires the bowler to combine those skills into one system, which we will call the
triangle line system.




The triangle line system is based on the visual reference being a straight line
drawn directly to the pocket. Then, by using the maximum hook hand position
they can roll the ball away from the straight line
reference point as far as they are able and yet
still get the ball back to the pocket.

By doing this they have created an asymmetrical
triangle between themselves and the pocket. In
doing so they have determined the two extremes,
which can be used to reach the pocket. Now
they are in a position to deliver the ball
anywhere in between those two extremes and
still hit the pocket, providing their corrective
mechanism fits the correct hand position to the
ball path used. This system works well
providing the information they program into the
brains computer is correct and decisive.

By combining information on the release used,
the path the ball took, the ball speed used and
where the ball hit the pins, the brains corrective
mechanism, not unlike a guided missile, makes
the required changes and tries again, each time
getting more information and consequently one
step closer to the correct combination of
variables, until eventually it knows what release
and what speed to use over each line. This is
why as a practice continues the foul line
correction skills become more evident and results improve.

Many great instinctive bowlers are patient enough to know that the results will
eventually happen as long as they dont become impatient and start feeding in
guesses instead of precise information.

Many bowlers produce inconsistent results because of this exact mistake. They
demand results before the brains computer has the necessary information, or
because of earlier incorrect input, the brain starts to become confused.

The amazing ability that the brain has to correct itself is what, as coaches and
athletes, we must learn to capture and use to our advantage.

Teaching Juniors Foul Line Correction

Using these types of systems allows the bowler the freedom to experience the
game; they need this to sustain their enthusiasm over a number of years. It
entertains them, since it is never repetitive, and simply allows them to experiment
just like they did when they were children. By using these systems it increases the
demand on their brains instinctive capabilities.

When I was a kid, one of the games I would play with my friends involved using
two milk bottles as targets, standing 60ft apart from each other and rolling a tennis
ball at my opponents milk bottle. Of course, we kept articulate score and bragged
constantly about the outcome. J ust to complicate matters though, we would play
on the side of the road. Now since it rains quite often in England, the roads were
constructed with a slope towards the gutters, this added another dimension to the
game giving it some real pizzazz. You see, you could roll the ball high on the
slope and curve it a lot or you could take a smaller slope to the milk bottle and
curve it less. Over time I was able to make an interesting observation about how
my opponents reacted as the competition became more intense. They seemed to
lean towards using less of the slope as the pressure mounted, as if this improved
their chances of success. Id spend hours playing that game and to this day I
believe it contributed to my fascination with bowling and I recommend it highly
for young children.

In observing bowlers over the years most also seem to trust the shorter route to the
pocket when placed in pressure situations. It can be said that there are a lot of
similarities between this game from my childhood and what we should be trying
to achieve in bowling.

Foul line correction is based somewhat
on rolling the ball higher up the slope,
the difference comes in the ability to
hook the ball more or less, this variation
in hooking rests solely with the bowlers
skills instead of having it built into the
surface. I have found though that young
kids have been able to relate to seeing
bowling in this manner and those have
instinctively developed the ability to
vary the hook. This thought process has accelerated their development
considerably, at the same time made the game more interesting to them, since now
the emphasis is on experimentation and experiencing.

The way I explain this thought process to them is by visualizing the game being
played on a lane that slopes towards the center, the further you roll the ball away
from the pocket, the more you hook it.

The idea that the lane slopes towards the pocket is not too far fetched.
Considering that when you bowl on tapered oil patterns (more oil conditioner in
the center of the lane), the ball is rolled over higher friction areas to the outside of
the lane, thus creating the same reaction as a steeper slope. Doesnt it?

Allow students to judge the hook, teach them to hook it more or less and then just
have them walk up to the line and hook it as much as they think they need relative
to the direction of their swing. From the point of view of the bowler, the practice
session should proceed something like this: I think Ill roll it wider and hook it
more, I think Ill aim inside the last shot and hook it less.

One of the ways to attain foul line correction skills is to allow the swing to
automatically determine the amount of hook. Try this experiment, stand up, and
line your swing up with a target, free swing towards that target noting the angle of
your hand. What you should notice is that the inside swing produces a hand
position with less rotational angle thus producing less axis rotation and
therefore less hook, of course this is providing the lane concedes
enough friction for the ball to create traction. The swing itself
will allow the bowler the luxury of foul line correction, all
that is required from the bowler is to let go and trust their
intuitive skills.

A drummer in a band couldnt synchronize a beat if he had
to give conscious thought to what he was doing. He plays
by having no conscious thought and relies on the brains habit mechanism, which
seems to play automatically.

Theres a tremendous power associated with concentrating on the end result and
allowing the means to fall into place.

If you as coaches can the bowler to just concentrate on getting the ball to
hit the pocket (without thought of line, speed, release, or any of the
other elements related to the means), then the brain will find a
way to achieve its goal. This is one of the keys to foul
line correction. We all possess this ability, to varying
degrees, granted, but it is the skill of being able to tap into
the mechanism that separates the so-called natural athlete
from the rest of the pack.

When we allow ourselves the freedom to operate spontaneously, we tap
into the wonder of the most advanced computer in existence, the human brain.

In bowling, we even refuse to step onto the approach without conscious approval
first, robbing ourselves of the uncanny efficiency of the brains ability to
spontaneously calculate.

We must just allow this mechanism to work and not consciously try to make it
work. Teach your students to be daring enough to allow themselves to experience
self-observation, and to observe the brains instinctive abilities. They will amaze
themselves and approach the game from a new perspective.










































































Different
Strategies to Lane
Play
The way to play lanes
and make adjustments
has changed a lot in
recent years. This is a
result of changes in the
bowling environment due
to the modern oil patterns
and bowling balls.
Today there is always
more than one way to
play any lane condition.
This is a nice result from
all the different balls in
the market. A bowler can
use a weaker ball and play a straighter line to the pocket. Or, a bowler might decide to
use a stronger ball and hook it more. But it really is more involved then just selecting
a ball and a target on the lane. Today, I want to show you different ways to attack any
given lane condition.
In just about all bowling centre today the lanes are oiled with a heavier concentration
of oil in the middle of the lane and less oil on the outside boards by the gutters. There
is an abrupt change from a light amount of oil on the outside to the heavy oil in the
centre. This abrupt oil change usually is located between the 8th to the 12th board on
a freshly oiled lane and then it will move in as the lanes are bowled on. The goal in
bowling is to find this oil line and use it to create an area on the lane in which you can
throw the ball and have it get to the strike pocket. Most bowlers lay their ball down in
the heavy oil and cross the oil line. This uses the extra friction on the outside boards
from the lighter oil to help the ball to hook more. If the ball is pulled a little inside of
the target, the heavy oil in the middle helps to reduce the hook. This allows the ball to
still end up in the strike pocket. You will create tug area as your margin for error to
get to the strike pocket. A lot of times this technique works well with a polished ball
which will slide more in the oil and save energy for more hook and snap on the dry
outside boards and/or dry boards down the lane. A sanded ball can also be used, but it
will hook sooner with less direction change on the backend.
There is a totally different strategy for playing this same lane condition in a different
part of the lane. A bowler can also play this same lane condition by keeping the ball in
the heavy oil in the centre of the lane for the entire distance of the oil pattern. With
this technique a sanded ball will usually work better, but the goal is to move in much
deeper so that the ball never touches the drier outside boards. A stronger ball is
required. In this scenario if the bowler misses wide of their target, the ball will go out
to the drier boards and hook back more. The result is a ball that still wants to end up
in the strike pocket. The secret is to use a much stronger ball and make sure that you
move in deep enough so that a well thrown ball never has to reach the dry outside
boards in order to hook back to the pocket. Use the drier boards to the outside for your
mistake area. This creates swing area in which to hit the pocket.
So you now have a strategy to create either tug area or swing area. Depending on
the lane condition, one will probably work better then the other. You need to find
which works best for your style and on the lane condition your centre utilizes.
The second major item that alters how bowlers are forced to play lanes is how the oil
moves due to bowling activity. A lot of this has to do with the new bowling balls. All
modern balls have a flaring ball track due to the core designs. This allows the ball to
hook more but creates changes in the oil movement. This has drastically altered how
the lanes will play and change over the course of a league session. Balls with flaring
tracks pick up more oil as they travel down a lane. The flaring track can be seen as
many tight rings of oil on the ball. You can see more oil on the ball. The oil is mostly
picked up in the heads which is the area of the lane just past the foul line. As this area
gets drier the ball starts to hook early. If the ball hooks early, it will probably hook
high on the head pin. The bowler needs to constantly adjust for this changing lane
condition. The usual adjustment is to move your feet and target in a little deeper into
the centre of the lane to find more oil. This works most of the time. Sometime the oil
picked up by the ball in the heads results in the oil moving down the lane in the form
of carry down. This makes the backbends tighter. The normal adjustment of moving a
little deeper to find more oil might result in the ball sliding too much and missing
wide of the pocket. The correct move might be to just move your feet in deeper to
catch more oil in the heads but leave the target the same. This can allow the ball to
hook around the carry down oil and miss the carry down oil on the backend of the
lane.
Sometimes the traditional moves on the lane do not work as the oil transitions in the
course of play. But bowling has a lot of adjustments. A ball change will work a lot of
times. Remember the strategy of changing to a different area of the lane to switch
from tug area to swing area, which probably includes a ball change. The better
bowlers can alter how they release the ball to create more or less hook with a hand
position change or ball speed adjustment.
Bowlers need to learn that they will bowl much better if they learn to move their
stance on the approach and target on the lane. The goal is to move in order to find the
best area to play the lane to create the maximum margin for error and still hit the
pocket. Beginner bowlers must learn that they do not want to play the second arrow
all the time. The modern sport of bowling has changed into a sport requiring not only
a good physical game to repeat shots but also a good mental game. The ability to read
the changing lane environment and make the correct adjustment, as fast as possibly, is
just as important as making a good shot. Learn to look for the changing lane
conditions. If you make a good shot and the ball hooks a little high, tells you that it is
time to make a move. Learning to make the necessary adjustment quickly will result
in a competitive edge for you over your opponent.




























Bowling Adjustments
All these adjustments are summarised in the simple phrase: ARSE, Angle, Rotation, Speed and Equipment. If the
ball doesn't react as best it the usual adjustments are a) to change Angle, moving in usually gets a little more oil
and more skid/distance b) change Equipment, use duller higher friction surface for earlier roll. Better bowlers can
change the speed and rotation too. So, how do you play wood? Watch, look, observe and get a feel for the ball
reaction: when it's good remember it, when its bad ask yourself how it's different - does the ball break too soon or
too late. Then use ARSE to make the adjustment which will best affect the reaction.
Does that help a little?
Successful athletes in any sport are stronger and faster than their
opponent. This advantage is, however, more than purely physical.
Better bowlers accept that bowling is ALL about adjusting: when
you accept the NEED to adjust you will enjoy your bowling better
and not only recognise when to change but actually make the
changes faster than your opponents.

This short section will discuss the key adjustments you need to be able
to make. Now, if you just bowl leagues in one bowling centre you may get the
same high-scoring condition each week: you can use the same ball, same line,
same speed each week and never really need to make any drastic changes. If,
however, you venture on to the tournament circuit and bowl in different centres
with different conditions you have a choice: fight the lane and try your same-old-
style or make a move to find the optimum shot. So what do you want to do? If
your choice is to accept the need for adjustments please read on...

Oil is put down on the lanes to create a condition which protects the lanes but, during
play, the oil moves around - changes. So what do you do? Complain, yes you can do
that but it will do no good - the oil has already changed and your opponent will see
you getting frustrated and know that your Mental Game is slipping, to their advantage.
If, as in league and tournament play, your opponent is playing on the same pair of
lanes that's about as fair as it can get isn't it? So what do you do? You don't complain,
instead you use your knowledge to make an adjustment...
Adjustments: you can move left, half a board or ten boards, change your target,
change your speed, change your ball - where does it ever stop? I teach four key
adjustments all summed up in a nice acronym that Susie Minshew coined in one of her
articles. If you want to increase your ability to remember the memory-men teach us to
associate a word with a picture (mental imagery/visualisation) so get ready for one of
the easiest to remember acronyms Ive heard...

ARSE - Angle, Rotation, Speed & Equipment
So when you start to struggle, when you can't carry strikes as well as you did at the
start of the game, don't panic but recognise that the lane is changing and you need to
adjust: remember your ARSE and you have four things you can change straight away
to create a better shot. Four key adjustments which should help you in any situation.
Fred Borden is adding Loft to his Knowledge is the Key 2000 work so maybe, if you
subscribe to that idea, you can think of "ARSEnL".
Adjustment Description
Angle
Usually, during the course of a game, the ball will lift oil off the lane,
or push it further down. This means that your "line" to the pocket will dry
up and your ball will hook earlier (more friction between it and the lane). A
simple move is make a slight move left with your feet (left-handers reverse
this process) to create some more swing. You change the shape (angle) of
your line to the pocket. You can make a parallel move left, to get your ball
back in some fresh oil. These are "bumps", when you've bumped left enough,
though, you may hit a dried out line created by another bowler - you then
need to "jump" left, i.e. instead of tweaking your line a board or two, you
jump five-ten-fifteen boards left.
But then what do you do when you've moved as far left as you can? Simple, remember your ARSE
- you've still got three more adjustments.
Rotation
More axis-rotation (hand up the side of the ball in the release) will
create skid to get the ball down the lane and stronger hook. In the days
of reactive-resin cover stocks fewer people employ this, preferring to let the
ball roll off their palm for a 45-degree rotation which creates a strong but
more controlled hook. On heavier oil where the ball skids longer and doesn't
move into a hook/roll use less rotation, bringing your hand more up the back
of the ball.
Speed
On drier lanes delivering the ball with more speed will help it get
further down the lane before it reacts to hook into the pins. Watch
racing drivers, they slow down in the rain (on wet conditions): why? Because
there's less friction. Your ball needs friction to hook and roll. So, on oilier lanes
a slower ball will help create the earlier reaction you need to stop your ball
sliding all the way. Remember the skid-hook-roll pattern: if you throw a hook
ball and it is not moved out of the skid and into the roll you will not carry the
strikes you need to win.
Equipment
To adjust your Rotation or Speed requires skill and practise. As with
golf it can be easier to choose the correct equipment: on oily lanes you need
more friction so choose a ball with a duller surface and later, when it dries out,
go to a shinier ball (less friction will help it get down the lane). Since Reactive
ball came on the scene the old static weight have become less important.
Matching the ball to the condition is not that hard, though the manufacturers
can easily confuse you with complex terminology.
KISS (keep-it-simple) and remember youre ARSE and you'll be
able to make the right adjustment.











Oiling Patterns
Most league bowlers are aware of a few
different lane conditions. When you bowl
tournaments, though, this knowledge is
essential: at this level spares are assumed to be
a certainty - you have to strike! You have to
find the best strike line for the lane condition
and, then, to adjust faster than your opponent, as that condition
breaks down



Bowling Ball Tracks
A bowling ball rolled down the lane will come back
with a line of oil round it - this is your ball track
and the pattern it makes is useful information as
to what kind of bowler you are, how you should
get your equipment drilled and prepared to cope
best on a range of conditions.
We will explain here the difference between these tracks and show how they
evolve into the complex flare patterns of todays reactive balls. Armed with the
knowledge of what your ball track means you can choose and prepare your
equipment so you struggle less on certain oiling conditions.

Bowling Ball Track Pictures

Background
A ball rolled end-over-end straight down the lane will probably have a track between
the two finger holes and over the thumb: this ball would make a noise going down the
lane - as it rolls over the holes - we would call it a "thumper". But once you develop a
certain level of skill your release can impart rotational energy on the ball to create
hook or spin. J ust by looking at the oil track we can tell what kind of bowler you are,
what your hand does at the moment of release, how your ball will react on different
lane conditions and, by implication, where you will find it difficult to score on certain
conditions.







Semi-
Roller

This is the most-
usual track for
hook bowlers
today, with the track being just to the side of the
fingers and thumb. Because the ball is not
rolling over the middle of the ball it is "tilted" a
little as it rolls and impacts with the pins. This
tilt creates extra mix as it sends the pins in a
more horizontal direction, into each other. This
style is used by stokers and can be used with
moderate to high revs for more hook potential.
Flare

Modern balls
(since the mid-
1990's) have
introduced the
concept of
"dynamic
imbalance"
which means the
ball moves off it's initial track and migrates to a
new track with each roll of the ball. This means
that more of the dry surface of the ball touches
the lane for increased hook potential. Extra hook
means it can be difficult to achieve consistent
reaction so there is a balance between control
and power: you can often hear crankers
complain the lane is "dry" while the low track
bowler may say there is too much oil!
Cranker

A bowler capable
of generating
high revs by
getting the thumb
out and keeping
the fingers in the
ball can
generated an
inverted track. This is not seen that often.
Spinner
Many bowlers, trying to
achieve more hook will
mistakenly overturn the wrist:
this has the effect of creating
more axis-tilt - the ball spins
more than rolls and the track is
reduced in size. A smaller track means there is less of the
ball surface in contact with the lane, which means less
friction and accordingly less hook. This style will find it very
hard to score on heavy oil conditions and need to use dull
surface aggressive balls. Carried to the extreme, though, it
develops into what we call a "helicopter" ball and is capable
of averaging 200+on any lane condition.
Backup Ball

. A right handed hook bowler will
hook the ball fromthe right to
left, into the pins. A backup
bowler has a "reverse" hook,
laying the ball down with reduced
revs in the middle of the lane
letting it fade right into the pocket. More ladies than men use
the backup style and if delivered with slow speed it can hook
significantly


Full-Roller
This style was successful in
the past, but is generally not
seen as often with modern
lanes and equipment. It is
characterised by the track going between the fingers and
thumb. If you measure the length of this track you will find it
is equal to, or very close to, the circumference of the ball (27
inches). Generally a full-roller style will have only moderate
revs and mediumhook.



















Coping with Differing Lane Conditions

Lanes can vary from game to game and, sometimes, within a few frames. There is
often a difference as to how the changes are dependent on where the lanes are situated
within the bowling centre.
Again, a considerable change can be found from one centre to another. Whether you
are bowling in the morning, afternoon, evening or late at night can make a great deal
of difference.
Different brands of bowling balls react in different ways on similar conditions, so
there is so much to be aware of and to understand. Many times you must have seen a
bowler who looks good during the approach and delivery, but doesn't score so well as
bowlers who may not inspire with their approach, style, etc. The latter probably
understands to a better degree how to cope with the changing conditions.
Let's think about the main basic conditions you may encounter on the lanes: Very
Oily, Medium Oil, Dry and Patchy, so let's go through a normal routine.
You move to your stance position, determining where you are going to place your feet
in relation to the two lines of location dots on the approach so that you can line up
your target with your eyes, then making sure you know on which board this start
position is, because you will want to make your foot adjustments from the original
position.
SLICK LANES
We will start off with freshly oiled lanes. Because of the amount of oil (lane
conditioner) there would be a considerable skid (slide) element and your ball might be
late in hooking, or not at all. The same problem could arise with oil build up because
there has been little linage, or humidity is high in the centre. Clues to look for would
be if your first ball consistently misses the head pin on the right if you are right-
handed, or to the left for left- handers, and when you ball comes back there is a good
oil track on it.
Do not think that you are necessarily bowling badly, or the lanes do not suit you.
Firstly, make a simple adjustment on the approach. Bearing in mind that the board
you noted as your guide board for your foot position in your stance, right-handers try
moving your feet to the right, say two or three boards, but keep to your same target.
Left-handers should try moving the feet stance position to the left, again keeping the
same target.
By moving outwards, as it were, you will be moving your angle line for right-handed
bowlers further to the right and left-handed bowlers will be moving the angle line
further to the left, thus causing the ball line to finish at the pin deck closer to the head
pin and, hopefully, into the pocket itself.
However, if by the initial move the ball does not arrive in the 1-3 pocket for right-
handers, 1-2 for left-handers and right-hand- ed back-up bowlers who should be using
the left side of the lane, and hit the head pin dead on the nose or crossed over, then the
original correction movement was too great. In this case, you need to move back a
half or full board towards your original position.
On the other hand, if the original move of two to three boards was not sufficient to
bring the ball back into the pocket, then you would have to move your feet position
out a little further.
In all these moves you must be aware of the number of the board which you have
moved to and also that you hit your target (arrow). If you are not consistent in hitting
your target, then any corrections you make will be worthless. In fact, you will be
trying to make corrections on faults and will become hopelessly lost.
DRY LANES
Maybe you are confronted by dry lanes and then your ball can hook too soon because
it grips the lane much earlier. Right-handed bowlers could miss the pocket and even
cross over the head pin, going too far left. Left- handed and back-up bowlers may be
missing their pocket and crossing over to the right. If this is the case, then the simple
correction is to move the foot position towards the centre of the lane, keeping the
same target and rolling the ball out towards the target, thus creating a greater angle to
the Strike Zone. As before, the movement of the feet in the stance position may be a
board, two or three, or even more in some circumstances. This movement will be
determined by the number of boards you are missing your pocket zone by.
MEDIUM LANES
Let's now consider conditions in between, oiling in moderation. The corrections
required may be as little as half a board or one board movement of the feet in the
direction I have previously mentioned, depending whether it is an over reaction or
under reaction of the ball.
PATCHY LANES
Finally, you often find the lanes are in a 'patchy' condition. These can be caused by
the earlier linage, the types of ball used, as reactive resin balls will soak up oil as well
as remove it, the heat content in the ball, dry- ness or humidity in the atmosphere and
even draught can cause problems.
These conditions can confuse bowlers, certainly beginners, and just changing the start
position will not necessarily bring the answer. In fact, when these conditions exist,
probably complicated adjustments will be needed, for instance: change of ball, change
of line, using more or less lift, side rotation, loft, etc.
But providing you have a good and consistent physical game, then you can build your
knowledge by watching top bowlers, most of all, gain experience by practice in all the
above situations, learning all the time so that you will be able to make a quick
appreciation of what to do.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Serious regular practice on as many different conditions as you can find in as many
bowling centres as you can visit will gradually build a picture for you as to how your
bowling balls react. That will then be your personal computer for you to draw on
instantly when required.
Be aware that the conditions during league and competition play, which you adapt to
at the time, seldom maintain the sameness throughout the play period. Be alert to
changes as they happen.

























































Hand Position
Hand position is critical to a proper release and roll. You must have heard of "6
o'clock" and "9 o'clock" and a myriad of other hand positions. What does it mean and
how does it affect your game?
The art of changing hand positions is almost gone these days. However with proper
practice technique, is very easy to master and is still the best way to adjust to lane
conditions. Simply turn your forearm until your middle finger is at 6 o'clock and keep
it that way all through the delivery. At the point of release, try to think of letting the
fingers go and the middle finger going "through" your target.
To practice it, go to the lanes and throw at the 10 Pin on your first ball, the 7 pin on
your second. Forget strikes for a couple of games. NEVER score when practicing!
Work only on a technique or timing or some aspect of your game; the score is
meaningless in a practice session. With automatic scorers, get a pair and do not enter
your name - just count total frames.
Once you have got the corners down, move 3-1/2 boards for each pin from the corner
for simple spares.
Once you have mastered the above, lane conditions and different ball "feels" will no
longer be a problem and you will be confident of picking up simple spares!

Adjusting to Lane Conditions, How?
How can you adjust more quickly to a lane that never seems to be the same from
game to game? Professional bowlers need to adjust very quickly to any lane
condition. They cannot afford to waste even a single frame trying to find "their mark".
How do they do it?
1) Do not change the arrow you aim for if you are changing your starting
board. Bowling is a game of triangulation (different angles). By keeping
the arrow you aim for the same and you will be more consistent.
2) If you hit left of the head pin, move left. If you hit right, move right -
again, back to the triangulation. If you were to draw a line between where
you start and where you want your ball to hit the pins, your arrow is
probably at fulcrum point.
3) You may consider shifting your line. Shifting means you change to a
different arrow and move your starting position an equal amount of boards.
This effectively changes your shot from an inside to outside (or visa versa)
shot (i.e., your line is the same, but you are working with a different part of
the alley).
4) If you are using a hard plastic ball (i.e., house ball) and you throw a hook,
the effects of the oil can be really hard to overcome.


Adjusting Your Approach
Another common problem among bowlers is the lack of consistency in their approach.
If your approach is inconsistent, or you cannot adjust your approach position or speed,
you severely limit your ability to adjust to ever changing lane conditions.
So, you've got your new ball, your new shiny shoes and that dandy new bowling bag
yet you still cannot seem to get that ball further down the lane before it breaks or, the
ball seems to just roll way too fast and never gets the chance to break into the pocket.
What to do?
Here are some helpful tips on footwork and making the ball react earlier and later on
the lanes.
Move your feet closer to the foul line to start your ball earlier (feet will be
slower)
Move your feet back from the foul line ball will go longer (feet will be faster)
Finding the "Line"
Dry and wet are, for the most part, independent of 'line'. Loosely speaking, there are
two aspects of lane condition which you have to content with - the front-to-back
distribution of oil, and the left-to-right distribution of oil. The absolute AMOUNT of
oil generally does not matter as much as the pattern, and primarily it is the left-to-
right distribution that will determine where the 'line' is.
What you are striving to do is play the lanes so that your ball has a proper reaction
pattern [this is the front-to-back aspect] and where you can get a little margin for error
by some help from the oil [this is the left-to-right aspect]. What equipment you have
available, how proficient you are at throwing the ball in different ways [raising and
lowering your track, varying the speed, etc] will affect your ability to take advantage
of the oil patterns you are confronted with. This is one of the reasons why you have to
understand your own game and your own capabilities, and why the result will be that
you occasionally have to play a line different than the 'conventional wisdom' proper
line for the lanes.
Getting some 'help' from the lanes is more important than the reaction profile, so try to
find the line which gives you some margin for error... what this means is that an area
of the lanes where if you miss your target a little bit to the right, the lanes will 'help'
and your ball will hook a bit extra; similarly, if you pull the ball a tiny bit the lanes
will help and your ball will 'set' a bit and hold pocket. The problem, of course, is that
your ball may well have an AWFUL reaction in this area of the lane, but whatever
you do in that region you will get a lot of help from the lane doing it over and over
and over, frame after frame.
Once you decide on what area of the lane to play, then begin juggling to find a
combination of equipment and technique that will work on your chosen line. As
mentioned, the more equipment you have and the more skilled you are, the more
ability you will have to be able to find [or make] a good reaction in the part of the lane
where the shot is best.
How do you know when to change your line?
This is a VERY difficult and subtle question, much, much harder than the original
question [of finding the line in the first place], especially if you consider it with its
dual: how do you know when to change balls/release/speed/etc. The first and
*MOST* important principle is *NEVER* make a correction based on a bad shot.
This implies that you have to be a good enough bowler to:
(a) know what a good shot is, and
(b) be able to analyse your own throw and tell if it was 'good' or not.
The answer therefore is - before you can worry about any of this stuff you have to
practice enough so that you are a steady, self-aware bowler and you know when
you're making correct shots.

YOUR ARE NOT SCORING - what do you do?
You need to understand WHY you are not scoring?
Is the ball reacting badly, but you still seem to have good area? Then stay where you
are and change equipment.
If the ball seems to be reacting OK, but you are having trouble getting a consistent
reaction [_ONLY_ looking at the good shots, of course], then it might be time to try a
different line. One easy thing to do is to move a few boards left or right and see how
that area 'feels'. With some experience, you should be able to do this fairly reliably
[that is, if you are playing the X board, you should learn how far to move your feet to
play the X+2 board]..even if the lanes vary, because the change is small you should
stay around the pocket.



Coping with Differing Lane Conditions

Lanes can vary from game to game and, sometimes, within a few frames. There is
often a difference as to how the changes are dependent on where the lanes are situated
within the bowling centre.
Again, a considerable change can be found from one centre to another. Whether you
are bowling in the morning, afternoon, evening or late at night can make a great deal
of difference.
Different brands of bowling balls react in different ways on similar conditions.
Therefore there many factors to be taken into account your understanding of them.
On many occasions you would have noticed a bowler who looks good during the
approach and delivery, but does not score so well as bowlers who may not inspire
with their approach, style, etc. The latter probably understands to a better degree how
to cope with the changing conditions.
Think about the main basic conditions you may encounter on the lanes: Very Oily,
Medium Oil, Dry and Patchy, so let's go through a normal routine.
You move to your stance position, determining where you are going to place your feet
in relation to the two lines of location dots on the approach so that you can line up
your target with your eyes, then making sure you know on which board this start
position is, as you will want to make your foot adjustments from the original position.
SLICK LANES
We will start off with freshly oiled lanes. Because of the amount of oil (lane
conditioner) there would be a considerable skid (slide) element and your ball might be
late in hooking, or not at all. The same problem could arise with oil build up because
there has been little lineage, or humidity is high in the centre. Clues to look for would
be if your first ball consistently misses the head pin on the right if you are right-
handed, or to the left for left- handers, and when you ball comes back there is a good
oil track on it.
Do not think that you are necessarily bowling badly, or the lanes do not suit you.
Firstly, make a simple adjustment on the approach. Bearing in mind that the board
you noted as your guide board for your foot position in your stance, right-handers try
moving your feet to the right, say two or three boards, but keep to your same target.

Left-handers should try moving the feet stance position to the left, again keeping the
same target.
By moving outwards, as it were, you will be moving your angle line for right-handed
bowlers further to the right and left-handed bowlers will be moving the angle line
further to the left, thus causing the ball line to finish at the pin deck closer to the head
pin and, hopefully, into the pocket itself.
However, if by the initial move the ball does not arrive in the 1-3 pocket for right-
handers, 1-2 for left-handers and right-hand- ed back-up bowlers who should be using
the left side of the lane, and hit the head pin dead on the nose or crossed over, then the
original correction movement was too great. In this case, you need to move back a
half or full board towards your original position.
On the other hand, if the original move of two to three boards was not sufficient to
bring the ball back into the pocket, then you would have to move your feet position
out a little further.
In all these moves you must be aware of the number of the board which you have
moved to and also that you hit your target (arrow). If you are not consistent in hitting
your target, then any corrections you make will be worthless. In fact, you will be
trying to make corrections on faults and will become hopelessly lost.
DRY LANES
Maybe you are confronted by dry lanes and then your ball can hook too soon because
it grips the lane much earlier. Right-handed bowlers could miss the pocket and even
cross over the head pin, going too far left. Left- handed and back-up bowlers may be
missing their pocket and crossing over to the right. If this is the case, then the simple
correction is to move the foot position towards the centre of the lane, keeping the
same target and rolling the ball out towards the target, thus creating a greater angle to
the Strike Zone. As before, the movement of the feet in the stance position may be a
board, two or three, or even more in some circumstances. This movement will be
determined by the number of boards you are missing your pocket zone by.
MEDIUM LANES
Let's now consider conditions in between, oiling in moderation. The corrections
required may be as little as half a board or one board movement of the feet in the
direction I have previously mentioned, depending whether it is an over reaction or
under reaction of the ball.

PATCHY LANES
Finally, you often find the lanes are in a 'patchy' condition. These can be caused by
the earlier linage, the types of ball used, as reactive resin balls will soak up oil as well
as remove it, the heat content in the ball, dry- ness or humidity in the atmosphere and
even draught can cause problems.
These conditions can confuse bowlers, certainly beginners, and just changing the start
position will not necessarily bring the answer. In fact, when these conditions exist,
probably complicated adjustments will be needed, for instance: change of ball, change
of line, using more or less lift, side rotation, loft, etc.
But providing you have a good and consistent physical game, then you can build your
knowledge by watching top bowlers, most of all, gain experience by practice in all the
above situations, learning all the time so that you will be able to make a quick
appreciation of what to do.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Serious regular practice on as many different conditions as you can find in as many
bowling centres as you can visit will gradually build a picture for you as to how your
bowling balls react. That will then be your personal computer for you to draw on
instantly when required.
Be aware that the conditions during league and competition play, which you adapt to
at the time, seldom maintain the sameness throughout the play period. Be alert to
changes as they happen.





























Different Strategies to Lane Play
The way to play lanes and make adjustments has changed a lot in recent years. This is
a result of changes in the bowling environment due to the modern oil patterns and
bowling balls.
Today there is always more than one way to play any lane condition. This is a nice
result from all the different balls in the market. A bowler can use a weaker ball and
play a straighter line to the pocket. Or, a bowler might decide to use a stronger ball
and hook it more. But it really is more involved then just selecting a ball and a target
on the lane. Today, I want to show you different ways to attack any given lane
condition.
In just about all bowling centre today the lanes are oiled with a heavier concentration
of oil in the middle of the lane and less oil on the outside boards by the gutters. There
is an abrupt change from a light amount of oil on the outside to the heavy oil in the
centre. This abrupt oil change usually is located between the 8th to the 12th board on
a freshly oiled lane and then it will move in as the lanes are bowled on. The goal in
bowling is to find this oil line and use it to create an area on the lane in which you can
throw the ball and have it get to the strike pocket. Most bowlers lay their ball down in
the heavy oil and cross the oil line. This uses the extra friction on the outside boards
from the lighter oil to help the ball to hook more. If the ball is pulled a little inside of
the target, the heavy oil in the middle helps to reduce the hook. This allows the ball to
still end up in the strike pocket. You will create tug area as your margin for error to
get to the strike pocket. A lot of times this technique works well with a polished ball
which will slide more in the oil and save energy for more hook and snap on the dry
outside boards and/or dry boards down the lane. A sanded ball can also be used, but it
will hook sooner with less direction change on the backend.
There is a totally different strategy for playing this same lane condition in a different
part of the lane. A bowler can also play this same lane condition by keeping the ball in
the heavy oil in the centre of the lane for the entire distance of the oil pattern. With
this technique a sanded ball will usually work better, but the goal is to move in much
deeper so that the ball never touches the drier outside boards. A stronger ball is
required. In this scenario if the bowler misses wide of their target, the ball will go out
to the drier boards and hook back more. The result is a ball that still wants to end up
in the strike pocket. The secret is to use a much stronger ball and make sure that you
move in deep enough so that a well thrown ball never has to reach the dry outside
boards in order to hook back to the pocket. Use the drier boards to the outside for your
mistake area. This creates swing area in which to hit the pocket.
So you now have a strategy to create either tug area or swing area. Depending on
the lane condition, one will probably work better then the other. You need to find
which works best for your style and on the lane condition your centre utilizes.
The second major item that alters how bowlers are forced to play lanes is how the oil
moves due to bowling activity. A lot of this has to do with the new bowling balls. All
modern balls have a flaring ball track due to the core designs. This allows the ball to
hook more but creates changes in the oil movement. This has drastically altered how
the lanes will play and change over the course of a league session. Balls with flaring
tracks pick up more oil as they travel down a lane. The flaring track can be seen as
many tight rings of oil on the ball. You can see more oil on the ball. The oil is mostly
picked up in the heads which is the area of the lane just past the foul line. As this area
gets drier the ball starts to hook early. If the ball hooks early, it will probably hook
high on the head pin. The bowler needs to constantly adjust for this changing lane
condition. The usual adjustment is to move your feet and target in a little deeper into
the centre of the lane to find more oil. This works most of the time. Sometime the oil
picked up by the ball in the heads results in the oil moving down the lane in the form
of carry down. This makes the backbends tighter. The normal adjustment of moving a
little deeper to find more oil might result in the ball sliding too much and missing
wide of the pocket. The correct move might be to just move your feet in deeper to
catch more oil in the heads but leave the target the same. This can allow the ball to
hook around the carry down oil and miss the carry down oil on the backend of the
lane.
Sometimes the traditional moves on the lane do not work as the oil transitions in the
course of play. But bowling has a lot of adjustments. A ball change will work a lot of
times. Remember the strategy of changing to a different area of the lane to switch
from tug area to swing area, which probably includes a ball change. The better
bowlers can alter how they release the ball to create more or less hook with a hand
position change or ball speed adjustment.
Bowlers need to learn that they will bowl much better if they learn to move their
stance on the approach and target on the lane. The goal is to move in order to find the
best area to play the lane to create the maximum margin for error and still hit the
pocket. Beginner bowlers must learn that they do not want to play the second arrow
all the time. The modern sport of bowling has changed into a sport requiring not only
a good physical game to repeat shots but also a good mental game. The ability to read
the changing lane environment and make the correct adjustment, as fast as possibly, is
just as important as making a good shot. Learn to look for the changing lane
conditions. If you make a good shot and the ball hooks a little high, tells you that it is
time to make a move. Learning to make the necessary adjustment quickly will result
in a competitive edge for you over your opponent.




























Bowling Techniques & Styles:
Let's get one thing straight right away: there is NO one way to
bowl, NO right way or wrong way. The bottom line is that people
are different: a small framed lady will have a hard time if she tries
to copy a big strapping eighteen year old cranker. And, on top of
individual differences, lane conditions are different too: one day
the cranker may clean up but tomorrow his style may be too much
and spinner style could clean up.

The different styles exist because people are different, but they are all trying to do one
thing - to have fun and knock pins down. Remember this, you can spend your life
trying to do something you are not cut out to do, but what's the point?
Accept your differences (physical and mental) and make the most of your
strengths. If you can knock down more pins than your opponent, the only problem is
theirs, it matters not how you do it so long as you achieve your goals. I cannot write
down here the "best" way to bowl, because someone will find a better way. Look at
the Taiwanese "helicopter" bowlers - did they find that style written in any book?
Nope. Yet their men and women have won the AMF World cup - is what they do
"wrong" because it is different? Remember the "western roll", the way people used to
do the high jump until Dick Fosbury came along. Be open, not closed, to new ideas.
What's common to each of these three styles is good "Timing" - they may all have
different Timing, but, for their style, it works. As with most things in life nothing is so
clear cut and, for any one style, there are different sub-types, e.g. a power stroker
who's not quite a cranker. we refer to these in-betweens as "strollers" and "croakers".



Why throw a Hook Ball?
Anyone can throw a ball straight down the lane and you can get a
strike, but this style of play will limit most people to a 180
average. Throwing a hook ball is one way of scoring more.


What's wrong with a straight
ball?
Nothing. To say one style is wrong is insulting to those who choose to use it.
Almost everyone who bowls probably learned with a straight ball to start with,
because the other styles require skills which take time to practise and learn. We need
to remember where we started from and - recalling the three 'stages' of man (crawling
on all fours as a baby, walking on two legs as an adult and limping on three, the cane,
in old age) - be aware the we may end up back there in the future.
But the question comes down to one of goals: what do you want out of your bowling,
are you happy with a style that may limit you to about 180 or do you want a higher
average? A ball delivered straight down the middle is likely to leave a split. The other
limiting factor seen with the straight ball is deflection: the ten pins weigh over thirty
pounds and, as the ball cannot weigh more than sixteen pounds, so your ball will
encounter significant amounts of deflection as it hits the pins. As the ball deflects it
becomes harder to 'carry' all ten pins, you will be likely to leave the centre pins
standing. So a straight ball delivery and an understanding of simple targeting systems
can raise your average to around 180, what we call a 'spare-game' because if you
make all your spares you will score around 180-190 each game.
Pluses Minuses
It's simple and
anyone can roll a
straight ball
Straight bowlers rely on spares to
average around 180
Deflection makes it harder to string
strikes together
It's possible to strike, but none is
accurate enough to repeat the shot
consistently
Angle Of Entry
Many years ago someone conducted an experiment to find out what was the best way
to strike. To make the results valid and repeatable they set up a ramp and rolled the
ball - straight - at the pins. What they found was that the angle at which the ball rolled
into the pins was very important: with the optimum angle they could roll strike after
strike after strike. The key learning, however, was that this optimum angle of entry
could not be created by rolling the ball straight down from the edge of the lane - to
create that angle you must use a hook ball delivery.
To roll a hook ball the bowler must develop a 'release', getting the ball off the thumb
and using the fingers to put side rotation on the ball. The ball will skid down the lane,
through the oil, and the rotation will start to move the ball ("hook") towards the pins.
Because the ball is rolling into the pins it is less likely to suffer as much deflection
and more likely to carry the centre pins.
Notes
For spares the straight ball release is ideal, keep it simple & less chance of
hooking away off target
If the condition is such that the hook style is too unpredictable revert to
the straight ball
The Helicopter shot actually uses deflection and spin to mix the pins up
A perfect hook ball only hits four pins! It hits the pocket (1-3 pins for a
right-hander) and rolls through to hit the 5-pin then deflect into the 9-pin.
All other pins are knocked over by other pins moving off the ball and into
them.
See video of hook ball strike and release.


















































Breakpoints 1
When I say breakpoint, I am talking about a spot down the lane where the ball
starts to hook toward the head pin. If you tend to throw the ball pretty straight or
maybe only hook it 4 or 5 boards this will not matter as much to you. But if you hook
the ball more, then you need to learn about breakpoints.
Learning how to use your breakpoint can help you in many ways. It can help you
play the lane in a way that produces the most strikes. It can tell you if it's the lane
condition that is keeping you from getting strikes or if you are actually throwing the
ball badly. This last point in many ways is the most important. I have seen many
bowlers complain because they are not getting strikes, yet they are missing their
breakpoint by a mile.
Using your breakpoint as part of your target line can simplify the game greatly.
Using this method we can shorten a 60 foot lane to only 20 feet. That's because our
break point is going to be 40 to 45 feet down the lane in most cases. If you learned to
bowl before the advent of reactive resin hook monster balls, then maybe you have
never even heard of using your breakpoint as part of a targeting system. When Mark
Roth was setting the pro tour on fire in the 1970's, his plastic yellow dot ball makes a
long sweeping arc toward the pocket. The shape of today's ball path looks much
different. Today's balls go pretty much straight for a long distance then turn sharply
toward the pocket. Even balls and drillings that are called "arching" layouts still fit
into this category. This is mostly due to the slickness of today's oil and to the design
of today's balls.
The shape of the ball path today, looks like a long straight line about 40 feet in
length then a sharp turn toward the head pin. This sharp turn is called the breakpoint.
The breakpoint is not actually a single point on the lane but we treat it as such. Some
balls indeed can go across the lane passing over the 4th arrow and out to the 7 board
42 feet down the lane and just turn sharply toward the head pin. Other balls thrown
will travel the same path and maybe hit the 7 board at the 40 foot mark and actually
reach an equilibrium and ride on that 7 board for 3 or 4 feet then turn toward the
pocket. This riding of the 7 board for 3 feet will not likely be noticed by the naked eye
unless you really look for it. I do a lot of coaching using a good digital video camera
and I can zoom in on the ball like it was 3 feet in front of me.
In the photos below I placed pieces of tape on the 5 board and the 9 board 41.5 feet
down the lane. The lower dark marks on these Brunswick lanes are pre-printed and
start at 40 feet and end at 43 feet. They are placed on the 10 board on each side. When
you throw your ball this is the area where the ball will hook. The area between the two
pieces of tape represent the area of the lane where your breakpoint will have the best
chance of striking.

So how do you find your breakpoint? This is easier on some lanes than others. If
you happen to be lucky enough to bowl on the "Brunswick Anvilane Pro Lane" there
are breakpoint markers printed right on the lane 40 feet down to help you out. It
makes it much easer for a student to see his breakpoint and catch on to the idea
quickly how to use it. Some synthetic lanes have light and dark boards which can help
you pick out where the ball is. The hardest lanes to work with are the synthetic ones
where every board is the same colour. If you bowl on wood lanes there are usually
light and dark boards down the lane that will help you judge where the ball is. To find
your breakpoint simply throw the ball from an inside shot and watch it go down the
lane. Try to see where on the lane the ball stops going toward the gutter and starts to
turn toward the head pin. The first thing you have to learn is to notice how far down
the lane the ball is going. We don't have to know the actual number of feet but we
need to learn how far to look down the lane to expect the ball to hook. You will find
that your breakpoint distance will be about the same everywhere you bowl. Yes if
there is an extremely short or long oil pattern or the oil has been mostly depleted then
your distance will change a little, but in most cases your ball's break point will be
within 2 or 3 feet of the same distance from the foul line.
Now that you can see about how far down the lane the ball is going, try to start
noticing what board the ball actually starts to hook on at the breakpoint. First try to
pick out the 10 board and the 5 board as reference points down the lane where your
breakpoint is. When you are first learning to use your breakpoint try to learn to notice
if you are keeping the ball between the 10 board and the 5 board each time. Practice
watching your ball from the time it crosses your mark at the arrows all the way to the
breakpoint, making note each time of where the ball breaks . Notice I am not saying
use your breakpoint as your target to look at. Use your normal target to look at, but
simply follow the ball all the way down the lane with your eyes. Don't get in a hurry
and look up toward your breakpoint trying to beat the ball down there. J ust watch the
ball roll.

A B C D
The ball above crossed the 4th arrow and goes between the two pieces of tape to the 6 board in
photo A . In photo C you can see the ball reached an equilibrium and actually rode on the 6 board
for about 4 feet before turning toward the pocket. To offer some scale, the little dark marks printed
on the lane are 3 feet long.















































Breakpoints 2
When I say breakpoint, I am talking about a spot down the lane where the ball starts
to hook toward the head pin. If you followed last month's coaching tip on how to find
your break point you are ready to learn how to use it. Keep in mind that this tip is
mostly for bowlers that hook the ball.
First of all, as with everything in bowling, there is no one system that works for
everyone on every lane condition. But you will find that on most lane conditions your
best carry percentage will place your breakpoint between the 5 and 8 boards 40 feet or
so down the lane. This will give you a good angle of attack on the pocket for your best
carry percentage. This also puts the ball outside the river of oil that runs down most
house oil patterns between the two 10 boards. Its very important to have your
breakpoint outside that deep oil. A lot of the 10 pins I see left in league come from the
bowler not getting the ball outside the 9 board at the breakpoint. The ball looks great
to the bowler. He hit his mark and threw the ball well, but there stands the 10 pin.
This happened because the ball hit the 9,10, or 11 board at the breakpoint and never
had a chance to grip the lane well enough or have enough angle to carry. Most
bowlers dont notice where their ball is at the breakpoint so they just feel like they got
robbed.
Now that we have learned to watch our ball at the breakpoint, how do we use it in
a targeting system? First of all decide what part of the lane you are going to play
around the arrows. This will be dictated by the oil pattern on the lane and how much it
is hooking. But lets say we want to cross the lane at the 3
rd
arrow.
Walk up to the foul line and look at the 7 board down the lane where your breakpoint
is. Then draw an imaginary line from that 7 board back through the 3
rd
arrow to your
bowling shoulder. We now have a line to throw the ball down. You can target with
your eyes anywhere along that line but for most people its easier to just look at the 3
rd

arrow. We need to make sure that when we deliver the ball we are facing our
breakpoint so the ball will travel along our imaginary line. Because our balls go
straight once we release them until they get to the breakpoint, we dont have to try and
make the ball follow our line, it just will. The idea of course is to throw the ball, cross
the 3
rd
arrow and continue to the 7 board at the breakpoint, then hook to the pocket.
Now dont expect to actually nail the 7 board at the breakpoint every time. How
accurate you are at the breakpoint will depend on the level of your game. The best
pros on tour can hit a breakpoint about 2 boards wide, while the best armatures will be
closer to 3 boards wide. The goal for a good league bowler should be about 4 boards.

Here the bowler lines up to throw
the ball from around the 4th arrow
to a breakpoint of 7, 42 feet down
the lane. The red line shows the
actual path he wants the ball to
follow. The blue line is drawn from
the breakpoint to where he is
actually standing. The bowler
knows he is going to drift left as he
makes his approach so he takes
that into account.
When you are first learning to
draw a line to your breakpoint, you
may need to walk up the foul line a
see where you need to end your
approach. Get into your finishing
position as if you were just
releasing the ball and see the
direction you need to be facing and
what board you wish to slide on to
follow the red line.
I placed 2 pieces of tape on the lane 41.5 feet
down the lane. One on the 5 board and one on the
9 board. The idea is to go between them. J immy
is a good enough player he can throw between
them, hit them or go around the out side one if I
tell him to.
Notice the ball goes straight for about 4 feet
before it turns left to head for the pocket. So the
breakpoint is not a single point on the lane but we
treat it as such for lining up.

One of the most important things about having a line to throw down is to know
when we really didnt throw a good shot even if the ball still went into the pocket. The
first day in geometry class they tell you it takes two points to make a line. Using just
the 3
rd
arrow as the only target is not good enough because that is a single point on the
lane. You can cross that point in any direction. That means you could hit the 3
rd
arrow
but only make it to the 10 board at the break point instead of the area of the 7 board.
On a league shot that ball may still go into the pocket, heck it may even strike, but
often it will be a 9 count. On a flatter oil pattern like they are using on the pro tour or
at one of the megabucks tournaments, that shot will be through the nose or even cross
over. Knowing and watching your breakpoint can keep you honest even on the easiest
of lane conditions. If you are paying attention you will know if you made a good shot
or if the lane man got the strike for you.
This is how we use our breakpoint as part of a targeting system. So when you hear
me say are you hitting both targets you will know what I mean. You will have to
make adjustments depending on the lane condition and know what to do if you make
your breakpoint but the ball will not go to the pocket. Using the break point we can
shorten the lane to about 20 feet. That's because we only have to worry about what the
ball does between the breakpoint and the pocket. We need to pay very close attention
to the ball and how it is rolling the last 20 feet of the lane.







































How to Get More Revs


Bowlers are always looking for more hook, and this is not always found in a manufacturer's
latest introduction. By hooking the ball more, a bowler can create more area to the strike
pocket and add pin action for more strikes. Many bowlers look for more hook with
equipment and do not realize the importance of changes in the physical game. This article
discusses the "how-to's" for adjusting the physical game in order to achieve more hook.
Physics of bowling ball motion
Factors that influence ball motion
Ways to get more hook
Understanding Axis of Rotation
How to manipulate Axis of Rotation
Summary


Understanding the physics of bowling ball motion:
The ball is released with two forces coming from the bowler. First, there is force creating
forward velocity in a direction that is toward the pins and approximately parallel to the
boards on the lane. Second, there is a rotational force around the spin axis, which passes
through the bowler's positive axis point (PAP). The rotation on the ball is at some angle to
the forward direction, which is defined as the Axis of Rotation Angle. By changing the axis
of rotation angle, the bowler can significantly alter the direction of the ball path.



Factors that influence ball motion:
Excluding the bowler's release, there are other factors that may influence bowling ball
motion. The other factors are lane condition, bowling ball cover stock, bowling ball surface
preparation, bowling ball core design, and layout of the bowling ball.

Regardless of the bowler's release and axis of rotation, there are numerous lane condition
variables that will influence bowling ball motion. The lane maintenance program that a
bowling centre follows can significantly impact the bowling ball motion. The schedule of oil
application, lane condition, and stripping procedures will all influence affect the ball
reaction.

There are four basic types of bowling ball cover stocks: polyester, urethane, reactive
urethane, and particle technology. In order to find additional information on cover stocks.

The bowling ball surface preparation can significantly affect its ball reaction. In general,
dull bowling balls hook earlier and provide smooth ball motion. Shiny reactive bowling balls
and particle/reactive bowling balls will skid further and provide a sharper movement on the
backend of the lane.

The core design of the bowling ball can also affect the ball motion.

Layout of the bowling ball will affect the ball reaction.

Ways to get more hook:
There are three ways to get more hook:
1. Increase the Axis of Rotation Angle
2. Increase the bowling ball Rotation Rate (Rpm's)
3. Decrease the ball speed


The first way to get more hook is to increase the axis of rotation angle. This is
accomplished by getting the hand on the side of the ball at the release point. By increasing
the axis of rotation angle, the bowling ball will travel in a more lateral direction when
finding friction on the lane resulting in more hook and more angle of entry to the pocket.
The illustration below shows this change in ball motion:



Additional rotation (Revs) will also result in more hook. The increase in rotational energy
will be transformed into more lateral ball motion. Keep in mind that a greater axis of
rotation angle will produce a more significant change in ball motion with changes in ball
rotation (Revs). So more rotation (Revs) will give more hook. The following photo illustrates
the proper setup for achieving more ball rotation (Revs).


In this photo, the bowler has cupped the wrist. The goal is to maintain this wrist position
throughout the approach allowing the fingers to remain under the ball at the point of
release causing more rotation as the ball leaves the hand.

Another way to get more hook is with a slower ball speed:


By throwing the ball slower with the same rotation, there is proportionally more rotational
force. This will increase the entry angle for more hook.

Understanding Axis of Rotation:
For comparison purposes, a 0-degree axis of rotation angle results in no change in direction
when the ball finds friction. A 45-degree axis of rotation angle will have a moderate change
in direction as the bowling ball finds friction. A 90-degree axis of rotation angle will have
the most significant change in direction as the bowling ball finds friction resulting in the
maximum entry angle given the same rotation on all three. Therefore, the axis of rotation
angle is an important variable in determining the hook potential.

The axis of rotation angle refers to the direction of rotation compared to the direction of
the initial velocity. The following illustrations show the differences in axis of rotation angle
for 0-degree, 45-degree, and 90-degree releases.



How to Manipulate the Axis of Rotation Angle:
The axis of rotation angle is determined by the location of the hand at the release point
and is easily adjusted by changing the hand position. If a bowler can learn to manipulate
the axis of rotation angle, they can create a large difference in the amount of hook with
any ball. These small changes in the hand position during the release can significantly alter
the ball's motion and pin action to achieve higher scores. Keep in mind that it is actually
much easier to change the axis of rotation than change the amount of rotation on the
bowling ball.

Click the following links to view photos illustrating the location of the hand in relation to
the bowling ball at the release and the resulting 0-degree, 45-degree, and 90-degree axis of
rotation angle. Please note the difference in location of the bowler's positive axis point
(PAP) which is marked with the white tape.
0-degree Axis of Rotation Angle
45-degree Axis of Rotation Angle
90-degree Axis of Rotation Angle

90-degree Axis of Rotation Angle:
This photo shows the 90-degree axis of rotation angle. In order to create the 90-degree axis
of rotation angle, the hand must rotate to the side of the ball at the release point causing
the spin axis to face straight back at the bowler. This is also called side rotation. This will
create the maximum change in direction once the ball finds friction causing a greater entry
angle with the same amount of rotation (Revs). With the hand in this position, it can be
more difficult to control the initial direction of ball, but accuracy can be achieved with
practice. This release can also make the ball difficult to control at the breakpoint requiring
a more precise shot from the bowler. With the 90-degree axis of rotation angle release, the
bowler can expect to see sharp motion at the breakpoint and maximum pin action.

0-degree Axis of Rotation Angle:
This photo shows the 0-degree axis rotation angle. This ball rotation is achieved by
releasing the ball with the hand directly behind bowling ball at the release point, which
locates the bowler's spin axis on the side of the ball. With 0-degree axis of rotation angle,
the ball rotates in the same direction as the forward velocity. The potential entry angle is
very small because the resultant force from the ball finding friction is straight down the
boards. This will produce the least amount of entry angle with the same amount of rotation
on the ball (Revs). Because the hand is directly behind the bowling ball, there is more
leverage to deliver the weight forward consistently for added accuracy to the target area
on the lane. With the 0-degree axis of rotation angle release, a bowler can expect to see a
more controllable breakpoint with less pin action.

45-degree Axis of Rotation Angle:
This photo shows a 45-degree axis of
rotation angle. Here the spin axis is
not straight back or on the side of the
ball, but rather at a 45-degree angle to the lane.
This
rele
ase
will produce a noticeable change in
direction when the ball finds friction
and a moderate amount of entry angle
with the same amount of rotation (Revs).
With the hand in this position, the bowler
can expect to see a medium backend ball
motion resulting in moderate pin
action. This type of release will be
very effective on a wide variety of lane
conditions.
If a bowler places a piece of tape on
their positive axis point, they can see what
type of release they have. Then practice to change your axis of rotation angle to the
different positions and see the difference in ball reactions. Leave the tape on the ball while
practicing to be able to see if you are moving the axis point to achieve the desired effect.
With a little practice you will have added another tool to you bag of tricks for defeating
different lane conditions.

Summary:
The key to achieving good ball motion and high scores is understanding how and when to
manipulate the axis of rotation angle. Different lane conditions may require changing the
release in order to maximize the target area and achieve the best pin carry. Through
experience and practice, it will become much easier to understand the importance of
controlling the breakpoint while maximizing pin action.

The sport of bowling today is a thinking man's game as the best bowlers in the world are
players who understand bowling ball motion, can manipulate the axis of rotation angle, and
consistently repeat shots. The significant differences from each centre and all variations of
lane conditions make today's bowling environment one of the most demanding times the
sport has ever seen. Bowlers must understand how and when to utilize different bowling
balls, different lane play techniques, and different releases in order to reach the ultimate
objective WINNING.























































RELEASE

The ball cannot be released effectively if the thumb hole is wrong.

Example - thumbhole too big, wrong pitching, thumb hole too tight.

Visual signs of thumb problems:

Bowler uses powder in thumb hole
Bowler looks at thumb after they release the ball
Bowler applies plastic skin before every training session

The above signs will indicate to you as the coach something is wrong.

Visual demonstration (tape)

Lift demonstration (show)













































THUMB DIRECTION

The old way of turning the thumb down at release point is no longer applicable on
todays lane conditions and equipment and balls used.

(Demonstration of old release)


The better way of releasing the ball today is to have the thumb exit at the top of the
ball not turning down.

(Demonstration of lift)



The reasons behind this change in release is because of the harder lane surfaces which
creates more friction and back-end movements of the ball. Today the bowling balls
coupled with the lane surfaces create a lot more friction between ball and lane and as
a result of this generate more hook. By turning the thumb down at release all the ball
does is start its side movement earlier (closer to the foul line) and a weak hitting ball.

By keeping the thumb up at release it generates more torque through the ball and
allows the ball to skid further thus giving more energy near the pins. It also utilizes
the technology built into the new bowling balls of today.









Strength building for Ten Pin Bowling


1. To increase finger and wrist strength hand on table exercise

This exercise should not be used for bowlers that are under 12 years old or a of
small build or if span of bowling ball is under 4 inches as it can damage the
tendons in the wrist and forearm.

Start off with a 10lb conventional fitting ball, insert your fingers in the
ball (no thumb) place your hand on the table with your palm up and try
to lift the ball onto your palm about 5 times.
Keep trying to do this, you may feel a little tender in the forearm the
following day, this is normal.

Once you can perform this exercise easily with a 10-lb ball, then
increase the weight of the ball.

2. To increase forearm strength kneel down swing with no thumb

The kneel down swing is similar to the one currently done during
training but no thumb is inserted in the ball.


3. To increase finger forearm strength and create correct hand action

One step approach with no thumb in ball this is similar to the one
currently done during training but no thumb is inserted in the ball

















Bowling balls
A. Reactive Resin, Plastic or Urethane?
The 3 piece ball construction would be explained as follows:
Take a round mould, with a diameter 2" or so less than a ball, pour in about 1" of
heavy stuff to make a puddle in the bottom of the mould. Fill the mould with a lighter
substance, then remove from the mould and cover with a 1" thick shell. When a
person refer to a 3 piece ball, they usually are referring to the puddle weight block
construction. The label would go above the centre of the puddle as the centre of the
heavy chunk inside the ball.
A 2 piece ball would be explained like this - take a dense (heavy) chunk of stuff
(grenade shaped=hammer, inverted light bulb=nitro, turbo, rhino-pro [purple, teal,
black], and shark) and place it in the bowling ball-sized mould, then place a pencil
through the weight block to hold it. Light bulb shapes go narrow-side up, with the
bulb almost centred. Grenade styles go near the surface, with the bottom of the
grenade around the centre of the mould. Pour in your urethane compound, and allow it
to harden. Then remove the pencil, and fill the hole with some other colour (plastic).
The pencil-hole is the pin mark. If you tilted the pencil, instead of holding it vertical,
the weight block is tilted through the ball, this would be pin out. If you held it vertical,
the pin would be in. The label goes where the top of the mould was, above the actual
centre of gravity of the heavy chunk (and therefore the ball itself).
Some ball manufacturers have combined the two construction methods, creating end-
heavy light bulbs (Nitro, Shark), and "2 piece" looking balls which then have a cover
added over the ball (blue RP, blue crush).
Some of the Ebonite balls a few years back were three piece with a split-T shaped
weight block. Heavy points were under drilling points to keep "true balance". Exotic
weight blocks have been around for years, including the 4 piece weight block in the
Xcaliber (original one), the weight band in the Brown Brunswick Max-10.



As you can see by the above weight blocks selecting
a ball today you need more knowledge than yesterday.




















Fitting & drilling a bowling ball
J ust drilling finger and thumb holes does not mean the ball will fit well enough to be
really comfortable and ensure a good release or enhance your bowling ability.
Ball measuring and drilling is a professional job and needs to be carried out by those
who have gained the necessary knowledge and practical experience to be able to
access your personal style of bowling and your specific requirements for the new
bowling ball.
If you play golf, you would choose your clubs carefully; your tennis, squash or
badminton racquet will be selected for weight and balance; so, nothing less when
choosing your new bowling ball.
If the weight and / or balance is not correct, fit is not exact, you will feel at the least
very uncomfortable and doubt that the ball will help your performance potential.
Many times I have heard bowlers say, "I do not use that ball really, it doesn't feel
right. I can't trust it to do what I want it to do."
It is in your interest to consider carefully where you have your bowling ball drilled.
The ball fitting entails a detailed consideration of the bowler's hand configuration,
natural flexibility and ball release action, plus the specific manufacturer's drilling
recommended drilling patterns.
When talking about the fit of the ball to the hand, I am assuming that you use the
normal design of the two middle finger holes and a thumb hole.
In order to provide the grip that would be most suitable for you, your ball driller will
need to attain the proper relationship between the following:
1. The size of the holes and the distance between them (the span), which is the
distance between the nearest edge of the thumb hole and the edge of the finger
holes.
Of course, the span will vary considerably, depending on which type of grip
you use. The thumb should always be inserted to its full length, i.e. up to the
web, but the fingers will be inserted to the applicable depth for either the
conventional, semi-fingertip or fingertip grips.
As a reminder, the fingers in a conventional grip are inserted as far as the
second joint, i.e. the one nearest the palm of your hand. The fingertip grip
means the fingers are inserted up to the first joint and the semi-fingertip grip
has the fingers inserted up to a point between the first and second joints .
Having a good portion of the fingers grasping the ball helps for a more secure
grip, which means it is easier to relax the thumb and thus also relax the hand.
So, for beginners and lower average players the conventional grip is much
more suitable than the others.
With a fingertip grip, there would be a much wider span than the conventional,
which then accentuates the effects of turn and extension, because in distance
from the thumb, the finger holes are located further around the circumference
of the ball so offering more 'in-built' lift.
2. The alignment of the holes in relation to the centre line and the direction and
degree of the hole pitches in relation to the centre of the bowling ball. The
principle purpose of pitching/angling a thumb or finger hole is to provide the
bowler with a grip that produces maximum ability to apply lift to the ball upon
release.
Forward pitch in the finger holes will cause the fingers to remain in the holes
longer and lift with greater force. Also, the more forward pitch the more the
ball weight shifts to the fingers. Conversely, the more reverse pitch on the
fingers, the more weight of the ball will shift to the thumb.
For the thumb alignment, forward pitch shifts more of the ball weight onto the
thumb whilst having reverse pitch in the thumb hole shifts the weight onto the
fingers. Reverse pitch will enable the thumb to come out quicker, with less
drag. As a rule, the shorter the thumb, the more forward pitch should be
considered. Because thumbs vary in their ability to be bent across the palm of
the hand, when the thumb hole is drilled consideration should be given to the
lateral pitch to accommodate the ease of exit for the thumb.
Lateral pitches are there to give grip comfort and to help with the bowler's
release.
Generally, but not in all cases, the further the thumb is away from the
fingers the more reverse pitch would be required. Conversely, the closer the
thumb is to the fingers, the more likely it will be for a case of forward pitch.
Rarely does the ball 'hang up' on the fingers but pitch is essential to produce
lift, turn an extension. Do remember it does not help to use the pad of your
thumb to control your ball as it will cause you to bend your thumb or 'crimp' it,
which will cause an erratic release.
Also remember that both finger pads need do equal work, not just one of them,
so the drill in should ensure this can be so,
Simply, all this adds up to the fact that the purpose of any grip is to eliminate the
necessity having to squeeze the ball in order to hold it, which at the same time it
should allow for a quick and clean release at the correct moment. These are the
basic requirements which, at the same time, allow the bowler's to use their ability
and knowledge to create a consistent, good and effective release.

















Speed Control Part 1......How to throw the ball slower
Ball speed is one of the most important factors in shooting high scores. Your ball
speed must match up with the lane condition and the ball you are throwing at the
time. If the lanes are too slick for your ball speed, the ball will skid right past the
break point. The break point is of course the spot on the lane where the ball needs to
start griping the lane and start hooking toward the pocket. Think of the break point as
the mouth of a driveway that you need to turn your car into, and you are travelling on
an icy road. At the end of the driveway is a garage with a very narrow entrance that
you must drive you car into. This garage entrance is the pocket to the pins that we
need to hit in order to throw a strike. If your ball speed is too high, just like your car
is travelling too fast on the icy road, it can't make the turn at the break point and drive
toward the pocket.
So if our ball speed is too high for the condition how do we slow it down? A lot
depends on your bowling style. If you use a fairly free arm swing, adjusting ball speed
is much easier. If you use a very muscled arm swing, where you tend to really pull the
ball down from the top of the back swing, adjusting ball speed may be harder for you.
As I have said many times, there is no one way to bowl. But here are some things that
I have found that work for most people. Number one, unless you already hold the ball
very low in your stance, lower your ball. If you only need to slow your ball speed a
small amount then lower your ball two or three inches. If you need to lower your ball
speed a lot, then lower the ball 8 to 10 inches in your stance. It can also help to bend
your knees a little.
The next thing is to move up on the approach about the same amount that you
lowered the ball. When you lower the ball in order to throw it slower, you are
changing your swing cycle, the amount of time it takes the ball to go from first motion
to the release. Even though you are throwing the ball slower, the ball may complete
the swing cycle quicker than before, because the ball is not travelling as far. I have
found that for a lot of people moving up on the approach will keep them in time. Your
brain knows that it is closer to the foul line and it will compress and slow the steps the
correct amount. You will have to practice this and see how well it works for you. You
may find that you have to move up a little more or less to keep your timing correct. If
you really practice this you can change your ball speed in very small degrees.
Some lane conditions require us to only slow our speed a little, while a flooded
condition my require us to cut our normal speed almost in half. I suggest practicing
your slowest ball speed often, if you are a bowler going out and competing at a high
level. Flooded lane conditions are very rare and you will not be ready if you don't
make throwing the ball slow part of your normal practice routine. If you already hold
the ball low in your stance or tend to force the ball a lot, try just moving up on the
approach a little. Try to think of your hand as a passenger on the ball just along for the
ride and not a engine thats pushing the ball forward. When you are trying to throw
the ball really slow it's important that you not do a strong follow through. All you
need is the momentum of your arm swing going through the ball. A strong follow
through or an attempt to rev the ball more, will only result in more forward
momentum and the ball will skid farther and be less controllable. A good way to
practice slow ball speeds, is to throw a plastic ball if you have one, and try to make it
hook more and more by throwing it slower and slower.








Speed Control Part 2......How to throw the ball faster
Last month I talked about how to throw the ball slower. This month I am going to
talk about how to throw the ball faster. There are times when we need more ball speed
to overcome a drying lane condition, or to just make the ball in our hand match up
better to the lane condition. There are basically 3 levels of increased ball speed. The
first is a situation where we need just a little more ball speed. Maybe you notice that
you have depleted enough oil on the lane that the ball is starting to hook a little too
early or that the ball is starting to roll out on you. In this situation you may decide
that you need just a little more ball speed. At this first level we are not trying to break
the sound barrier but just trying to make a minor adjustment. In that case most people
can just hold the ball 3 or 4 inches higher in the stance. I always suggest that most
people try holding the ball about waist high for there normal ball speed. That gives
you somewhere to go if you need to amp it up a little. When you hold the ball higher
you will get a boost of speed from the help of gravity. Gravity is a very powerful
force and raising a bowling ball just a few inches higher in the stance will in turn
make your back swing a few inches taller, which will add the extra speed you need. It
is best to always use more gravity over more muscle because gravity is the most
constant force on the planet. That means that a faster shot that was thrown by using
gravity, is more repeatable than a shot where we just used more muscle to propel the
ball down the lane.
The second level of increased ball speed is more than just a minor adjustment to
get the ball to skid a few more inches. This next level of speed may be needed to
overcome a much dryer lane condition. If we need to amp it up a couple MPH, then
we need to hold the ball even higher in the stance. Try holding the ball anywhere from
6 to 12 inches higher. This will change your swing cycle, so you most likely will need
to move back on the approach, by about the same amount that you increased your ball
height. This will stretch out your steps and make them a little quicker, to better suit
your new arm swing. This helps you keep good timing and is much easer than actually
telling yourself to walk faster or slower. Try holding the ball at different heights and
standing in different places on the approach to see how much speed you can generate
without loosing control. Try to only use the added speed of gravity and not additional
muscle in your swing.
The third and final level of increased ball speed is a big one. This is a last resort
move that we make if the lanes are way to dry for us to overcome with conventional
methods. At this speed level, we will need to apply some muscle. But we need to
apply it the right way and at the right time. We need to apply the muscle in a manor
that compliments and works with gravity. This will make best use of our muscle
power and have the least adverse effects on our approach and accuracy. We still use
the higher ball position and move back on the approach that we used in level two.
This time though we are going to do the big no no. We are going to muscle the ball
down, AFTER the peak of the back swing. This is a critical point and a big mistake
that a lot of people make when they try to throw the ball harder. We need to wait on
the ball to reach it's peak in the back swing and then start to fall on it's own. Then and
only then, do we apply a downward pressure on the ball and increase that pressure
gradually until the ball nears the bottom of the swing.
Remember that one of Newton's laws of motion in physics is "for every action there is
an equal and opposite reaction". This equal and opposite reaction becomes torque in
the upper part of your body that will tend to open your shoulder more as you force the
ball forward. We minimize this by waiting on the ball to start falling and gradually
increase the pressure to accelerate the ball. This is using the laws of physics to our
best advantage. When you throw the ball at this kind of speed, you will need to make
sure you have a quick enough approach to keep your timing in line. Since we are
forcing the ball after the peak of the back swing, the ball can start to out run us to the
foul line. This will give us early finish timing and cause us pull the ball inside of our
target and or make us have a weak release. It is a good idea to push strongly with the
right leg (right handed) into your slide as you complete your next to last step. This
added approach speed will also add some speed to the ball. If you find that even with
your increased speed, the ball still hooks off the lane, then I suggest that you open
your wrist some to take some revs off of the ball. This is especially important for high
rev players. If they don't open the wrist some, then they add as many revs to the ball
as they do speed and the ball hooks just as much as before.

























































Finger Placement:
In today's world of the average bowler bringing 8 balls just to bowl league, I think a
very important part of the game is not being learned and practiced. This is the fine art
of releases and hand positions. With different releases you can make a hook monster
go straight or a very tame ball hook the lane. But that is the extreme of what a bowler
with a good hand can do. In this article I am going to talk more about how you can
fine tune your ball reaction to increase control just by using different finger positions.
This can greatly increase your carry percentage and give you easier spares to shoot at.
You have to try each finger position yourself and pay close attention to your ball
reaction.

First let's look at the position of your
index finger. That little guy can make
a pretty big difference in your ball
reaction. I suggest you start with your
index finger spread in a comfortable
position, about half as far as you can
spread it wide away from your middle
finger. Keep your little finger flat on
the ball and tight against your ring
finger. I call this our "base" finger
position and the one I think we should
always start of with. Throw a few
shots and get a good idea of your ball
reaction. Notice not only how much
the ball hooks but the shape of the
hook.
This is our "base" finger position.
Now spread the index finger wider
and throw it again.
In most cases that will give you a
stronger back end reaction.
Sometimes that alone is enough to get
the 10 pin out or
make the ball "turn the corner" a little
harder when you need it to. J ust by
moving this index finger in and out a
half inch at the time you can fine tune
your ball reaction a great deal.
Index spread wide. In this photo the little
finger is curled.
Now try pulling your index finger in
closer to your middle finger but leave
just a little space. This is less spread
than our "base" starting position. For
most people it is best not to pull the
finger all the way in tight against your
middle finger, because the ball can
feel a little unstable in your hand. So
leave just a little space. This time
when you throw the ball it will go
longer down the lane with a less
pronounced back end. You can use
this when your line just starts to dry
out
or you just need to get the ball further
down the lane before it hooks.
Both fingers are in. You may want to leave
just a little more
space between your index and your middle
than this picture shows. But if you can pull it
in this tight and not have the ball feel unstable
in your hand that's great.
Now let's look at the little finger. It
can work in concert with the index
finger to give you different ball
reactions. With the index finger in the
middle "base" position or a little wider
and the little finger spread wide your
ball will have a much weaker back
end. If you watch the pro's on TV you
will see them use this position a lot, if
not most of the time. It causes the ball
to have a back end reaction that
diminishes as it gets closer to the head
pin. In most cases you don't want the
ball to just keep hooking and hooking.
This can cause bad pin carry and
cause the ball to be much harder to
control.
Both fingers are spread. Most common
position.
Next let's slide the index finger in and
leave the little finger spread wide.
This will give you more end over end
roll and take a lot of hook off of the
ball. This is good to use when the
lanes are hooking a bit much or you
need to play a very direct down and in
line. If you really need to get behind
the ball then try also to roll the ball
more with the little finger.
Yes I know your little finger is not in
a hole so how can you roll the ball
with it? Well what I mean is, guide
the ball with the little finger. Make
your little finger go toward your target
and feel your little finger come up the
back of the ball. If you have never
tried it, you will be amazed how much
The little finger is wide and the index is in.
This is a good way to do it if you need to
throw the ball pretty straight. I shoot at my
spares like this. J ust by keeping my hand
directly behind the ball (actually it feels like I
am throwing a back up ball but I am not) and
you can change the roll on a ball just
by rolling it more with the little finger
or your index finger. You can also
squeeze ever so slightly with your ring
finger in the hole and lead and roll the
ball more with that finger than the
middle finger to yet again change your
roll and ball reaction. The same goes
for your middle finger.
coming up the back of the ball with my little
finger I can throw the ball almost dead
straight. It helps if I make my little finger
go toward my target.
For our next trick let's try curling the
little finger under and spread our
index finger wide. To curl your little
finger just bend it at the first joint so
the ball will be next to the finger nail.
This can be a little painful the first
few times you try it. But most people
don't have a problem with it after a
while. Now when you roll your next
ball it will tend to go longer
down the lane but come back strongly
on the back end. Some people have a
hard time with this one with pain in
the hand or fingers. If that happens to
you then don't keep doing it.
Little finger curled under and the index finger
spread wide.
Notice I have not said anything about changing your revs or changing your release in
any way. Only changing your finger positions. These finger positions are for fine
tuning your ball reaction to help it match up better with the lane and knock
down more pins. To be able to use these finger positions effectively, you must
practice them and understand what they do for you.





























How to play the gutter:
Practicing playing the gutter is the most beneficial practice around as it helps you to
walk straight, swing straight and change your hand position.

There are many times that both right and left hander need to be out on the gutter to
score well. The gutter being the 1-2 board. It has been my experience that very few
people are able to play there or have enough confidence to play there when there is
big money on the line. Today's tournament bowlers have to learn to play every inch of
the lane or their scores and their wallets will be left behind. We know we need to
learn to play the gutter but how do we get started.
I suggest you start off with a plastic ball if you have one. If not use the least
hooking ball you have. Often on a league shot the gutter is very dry and that makes it
hard to throw a lot of today's hook monster balls. Don't worry about knocking pins
down at first. You only have to learn to set the ball down at the right spot and have it
stay on line to the break point.
Next you have to realize that when you are playing the gutter your ball trajectory
has to be parallel to the gutter. You can't loop the ball. You have to set the ball down
at the foul line on or right next to your target board. I suggest you start out trying to
hit the 3 board first. That gives you a little room for error. It is very helpful if you can
get a friend to watch you bowl from behind. Have your friend watch you throw a
normal ball and see what board your ball lands on as soon as it hits the lane and what
board your slide foot is resting on. You need to know how many boards right of your
slide foot you set the ball down. Let's say that number is 5. This means that if you
slide on board 20 on a normal shot then your ball lands on the 15 board near the foul
line.
The next thing you do is walk up to the foul line and get into your finishing
position. Using the example above you need to put your slide foot on the 8 board.
This means that if you end your slide on the 8 board that you should set the ball down
on the 3 board, our target board. Make sure your shoulders are square to the foul line.
Remember this is the most down and end shot of all down and end shots. You can't
have an open shoulder or you will toss the ball in the gutter. Now you know where
you need to end up at the foul line.
The next question is where do you start from? That depends on your foot work. If
you are a straight walker you got it made. J ust start out on the 8 board and see if that
is where you end up at the line. If you drift in your approach then you will have to
figure your drift into the formula. It doesn't matter where you start from but you have
to end up on the right board at the foul line and your shoulders square. If drifting is a
problem and it is for a lot of bowlers when it comes to playing the gutter, you have to
consider your drift like a current in a river. If you were going to drive a boat straight
across the Mississippi you would have to aim the boat a little up stream in order to
end up at the right spot on the other side. If you were to aim the boat directly at your
dock on the other side you will miss the dock and end up way down stream from
where you intended to go. A drift in bowling is the same way. If you are right handed
and you tend to drift 5 boards to the left then you better start out 5 boards to the right
of your target slide board. J ust like the boat, it may be a good idea to face a little up
stream. That may cut down on your drift a little and help get your shoulders square at
the line. I work with a left handed pro that has to stand as close as he can to the ball
return when he is playing the gutter on the right lane and face the 7 pin on the left
lane. This is a little awkward but it is something he has to do if he is going to live with
his drift pattern.
Now that we know where to end up at the foul line and how to get there what's next?
If the centre management will allow it place a piece of white tape doubled up on the
3 board beside the 1st arrow. Put another piece 3 feet past that one and one 3 feet
before it. All 3 pieces of tape are on the 3 board. Now go up and throw some balls.
Look at the middle piece of tape on the 3 board. Have your friend watch your set
down point and whether or not you hit the target piece of tape. If you do everything
correctly the ball will set down on the 3 board at the foul line and continue rolling on
that board to your break point around 40 feet. BUT that is not how it goes for most
people just learning to play the gutter. There is a multitude of things that can happen
to make this difficult for you. The number one most common problem is trust. Most
people are afraid of the gutter. Like it was the Grand Canyon or something. IF you are
afraid of the gutter I suggest you go ahead and toss one in there. Believe it or not I
have seen that help a lot of people. Believe me EVERYONE that plays on the gutter
throws one in there now and then.
The #2 most common problem is it looks like to you that the piece of tape you are
supposed to hit is in the centre of your body. It also looks like if you end up at the line
where I say and you throw the ball where I say it will go straight into the gutter. This
is all an illusion brought on by what's called the diminishing vanishing point. If you
look down a lane it looks like it gets narrower at the other end. That is not the case but
it does look that way. You have the same problem with the gutter. It looks like the
gutter tilts in toward the centre of the lane. You just have to trust that it doesn't. It
helps some people to overcome this by looking farther down the lane. That is why I
said put one piece of tape 3 feet past the first one. Look even farther if you have to. It
has even helped some people to look shorter so try looking at the 1st piece of tape if
you have problems with the middle one. The biggest thing is you just have to keep
doing it till you get it. Moving out onto the gutter is also a good way to straighten up
your swing. You can't have much swing angle if you play there. The ball has to come
off your hand pretty square.

What it "Looks" like to your eyes The way it really is
Another good tip is to resist the urge to throw the ball harder. We often feel if we
throw the ball harder it will go on line better. That is usually not the case. If anything
you will tend to throw the ball more toward the gutter. When playing the gutter trust is
a must. You have to trust and "KNOW" you are going to hit your target don't aim at it.
You have to practice playing the gutter during every practice session. You have to be
100% confident playing there or you will never be able to do it when there is money
on the line. You also must be able to use different hand and wrist positions to make
the ball come off the gutter at just the right distance down the lane.



























































NEXT TO LAST STEP TIMING:

There have been many books written on how to throw a bowling ball. They all
cover the subject of timing. Most, if not all, pretty much cover timing the same way.
They say that bowling is based on a four step approach. That if you hold the ball
around waist high. That you push the ball away from your body at the same time you
take your first step and let the ball swing freely from the shoulder. The basic idea
behind this is to counter balance the balls weight and motion with the opposite side of
your body as you make your approach. These books go into great detail about how
your ball should be here, and your leg should be there, for each step. The problem is
this doesn't work for everyone. This system does not take into account that everyone's
arms and legs are not the same length. Now it's obvious to everyone, that some people
are taller than others, but the problem is not the height of the bowler but the ratio of
the length of the arm vs the leg. Some people have long arms and short legs. Some
have most of their height in their legs and short arms. With these people the "text
book" way of doing things doesn't work out so well. If you have longer arms than
legs, (ratio) you will have a longer swing cycle than someone the same height but
whose arms more closely match the length of their legs. The swing cycle is the
amount of time it takes your ball to swing from first movement to the release. The
longer your arm, the longer your swing cycle. So if your arms are longer than your
legs, ratio wise, your legs will easily out run the swing cycle of your arm. If most of
your bodys height is in your legs and you have shorter arms then you will have a
shorter swing cycle. If these people try to do the "textbook" approach their timing will
never work out right. The swing cycle of the arm will easily out run the natural pace
of the legs.
It's a lot like putting tall tires on the right side of your car and two short tires on the
left side of your car and expect your car to roll straight and not pull to one side. There
are other
factors that complicate this, other than the arm length to leg length ratio. Things like
where you
start your ball in the stance. What type of push away you have. How high your back
swing is. Whether or not you force the ball in any direction. What type of foot work
you have. These all affect your swing cycle and hence your timing. I have most of my
height in my legs. I can in some cases be 3 or 4inches taller than someone else and sit
down beside them in a chair and they become taller than me. Try it, it's fun to see how
people match up.
The first thing you will notice when you visit a Tour stop and watch the best
bowlers in the world is that most of those guys forgot to read the book. Many of them
take two or three steps before they move the ball. Their initial timing is nothing like
the books says. You quickly find out when you study the game of bowling that there
is no one way to do anything. There are some things that most of the best bowlers in
the world have in common though. One is "next to last step timing". If you video tape
the best bowlers you will see that most of them are near the top of their back swing
when they compress on their next to last step. The guys that don't hook the ball a lot
will be just a tic late at the top. Meaning that when they compress on the next
to last step you would have time to say the word "FOOT" before the ball reaches the
top. The players that hook the ball a lot will be later getting to the top of the swing.
You would have time to say the word "Football". Some are late enough that you could
say "Foootbaalllll". Yes there are even exceptions to this, but this will cover the
majority of the best bowlers.
Next to last step
timing
When this bowler first
compresses on his next
to last step his ball is
in the position where
the graphic blue ball is
in his back swing.
From that point I have
time to say the word
"football" before he
actually reaches the
peak of the back
swing. This is a left
handed bowler so a
right handed bowler
would be on the other
foot of course.


The best way to check your timing out is to have someone video tape you from the
side as you bowl. Timing is a very complicated thing and can really affect your
performance, but you can get yourself close by using this method. Try to work out
your foot work and ball movement to meet at "next to last step". You can make your
push away earlier or delay it to make your cycle work out right. If you have long arms
and short legs its really hard to get your
timing to work out using only 4 steps. I suggest those bowlers try 5 steps and push the
ball away at or near the same time you take your first step. You can also change the
length of your first step to aid in getting your timing right. If you can't seem to work it
out on your own, try visiting a professional coach, just make sure they understand that
everyone is not built the same.