Game 1: 204
Game 2: 162
Game 3: 204
Week Avg: 190
Season Avg: 190
The first week of league bowling started with the observation that about half of the people there were new to the league. My team welcomed two new bowlers who have bowled in the league before, one of which was on a different team last year.
Practice was pretty routine, and I managed to find a decent line on the right lane. The left lane, though, was a different story and I left the 5-pin my two throws on that side. The lanes were the complete opposite from my practice session a few weeks ago, and the oil on the lane prevented the ball from getting any real movement. I was standing at the center of the approach and throwing over the second arrow.
The first game began with a 9/spare and was followed by the 3-6-9 leave, which I opened by only hitting two. I managed to stay clean the rest of the game, but continued to struggle on the left lane. I was in the pocket, but always a little too high or light. I moved left/right and up/back on the approach about an inch trying to dial into the pocket just right, but to no avail. My only strike on the left this game was a lucky Brooklyn strike. When all was said and done I shot a 204.
The second game started similar to the first, with the first two shots leaving the 2-4-5. I missed my mark and only got the 2-4 my first try, but I picked up the spare the second attempt. This time I did not have the strikes to make up the ground I lost with the open frame. I converted the majority of my spares though, and salvaged what could have been a worse game. I was continually missing my mark to the right or left, and spent most of the game moving around trying to compensate. In the 10th frame I realized that it wasn't a matter of body position on the approach, but rather a twisting of my shoulders at the release. At the foul line, I was pointing toward the 7-pin, which caused me to miss my mark and the pocket to the left. Luckily the only split I left was the 3-10, which unluckily I did not convert. I made the big mistake of opening in the 9th frame by missing the 3-pin, which gave me nothing to build on in the 10th frame. I finished with a 162.
With the realization of what went wrong in the last game, I spent the first few frames of the third game making sure my shoulders were parallel to the foul line at my release. Immediately I began to consistently hit my target, and then it was only a matter of making small body position adjustments until I was in the pocket. Once I found the pocket I began to strike, and with the strikes came the confidence to convert my spares. I finally had my first turkey of the day and finished off the evening with another 204 game.
My take away from this week is that if you are continually missing your target, evaluate all of your mechanics before making a body position adjustment. Although your muscle memory takes over after you have been bowling for a while, sometimes small details of your delivery lapse and require some effort to get that aspect back on track.
A good checklist is as follows:
Follow-through - Is your arm straight throughout your backswing and release?
Shoulders - Are your shoulders parallel to the foul line at your release?
Wandering - As you walk toward the foul line, are you walking in a straight line or listing to the right or left?
Once you identify the problem, concentrate on that aspect for a couple of frames until you are sure it is corrected. Once the delivery is back to normal you should be able to hit your mark, and from there you can focus on dialing into the pocket.
How was week one of your season?