So I finally got out to bowl for the first time in three months, and it showed. After a long hiatus like that, I am always reminded the next day about how out of shape I truly am by soreness in both knees and my right bicep.
My goal for the day was to simply get my mechanics back to where they should be when league starts in three weeks and, eventually, I did accomplish my goal. However, there were a few things working against me. First, I chose to practice at a different bowling center than my league because it is closer to my house, we had a gift card, and I wanted to see if I could bowl well enough there to make it worth entering a tournament there next weekend ( which I did not).
Secondly, the approach seemed pretty tacky and I was getting no slide to the foul line. Some people prefer not to slide, but that is where the most important part of my release occurs. Adding a few pats of the rosin bag to my shoe did help and eventually I was able to work out the problem, but the first game had thrown my timing completely off. Once I began to consistently slide without the worry of falling on my face I was able to correct the timing issues and throw consistently.
The third problem, which really wouldn't be a problem any other practice session, is that the lanes were bone dry. I was the first person to throw on that lane since the night before and the break point was a lot closer on the lane than it typically is. It was a bit of an issue the first game while I was sorting out the sliding problem and just warming up, but I found a good line by the end of the first game and my scores increased by increments of 30 pins the next two games. By the end of three games I felt pretty comfortable in returning to league play in a few weeks.
My most important rule about bowling, whether it is a practice game or the last game for the league championship, is to walk away with a new piece of knowledge. If you throw the worst game of your life, you should still be able to look back and think about something you learned: a new angle, a change in hand position, etc. This will leave you better prepared to handle this situation when it is encountered again (and you will see it again). If you can make every outing a teaching opportunity, you will find that your knowledge of the game will greatly improve and leave you in a better position to adapt when something unexpected happens.
How has your pre-league practice gone so far?