Game 1: 204
Game 2: 198
Game 3: 216
Week Avg: 206
Season Avg: 197
After one practice ball, I could tell that the lanes were going to be a little more favorable last night. The ball was moving a little more in the backend, creating more drive through the pins. The first game started with me missing my mark and missing the pocket to the right, leaving the 1-2-4-5 which I picked up. From there it was a series of 9-counts and strikes. I cannot overemphasis the importance of making spares, and this game was a testament to that. Picking up all of my spares kept a 200 game in reach until I managed to get a turkey spanning the ninth and tenth frames. I finished the game with a 204.
The second game continued to go pretty smooth until the fifth frame. I came into the pocket pretty high and left a 4-7-8-10 split. It looked like something out of an M.C. Esher painting. I only managed to pick off the 7-pin as I missed my mark to the left. That hit led me to move about an inch up on the approach, giving the ball a little less room to hook on its way into the pocket. I was right back in the game with strikes and 9-count hits, picking up the rest of my spares and finishing with a 198.
The third game began with a missed 10-pin, which is a shot I convert about 90% of the time. I shook it off and came back with a four bagger and a few spares. I opened in the ninth frame, a big no-no, by missing the 4-pin. This opened the door for the other team to sneak past in an already tight game. The tenth frame came down to myself and the other anchor bowler, only he was working on a strike in the ninth. I put some pressure on him by striking out, but he reciprocated with a strike after each of mine and they won their only game of the evening. That is a great example of why the ninth frame is called the foundation frame because without a mark you have nothing to build on going into the tenth. I finished with a 216 game.
Sometimes just hitting your mark isn't enough. How your ball crosses that mark on the lane is just as important. Last night my mark never changed, as every first ball was over the second arrow. Also, my only position change was scooting an inch up on the approach. However, my ball reacted differently depending on the line it took from my release to the arrow. When the ball crossed my mark and continued right for another few boards before hitting the backend, it hooked directly into the pocket and resulted in a strike. If the ball hit my mark more directly and stayed on the same board as it rolled over the arrow, the ball would come in a little high, but without the power the hook provides, resulting in a single pin leave while sparing me the potential splits.
Some bowlers use as many as three marks on the lane to assure the most accurate shot. It is always important to note whether you are hitting your mark, but if you are continually leaving single pins there is more than likely a small change that can help you bring down all ten. Compare those strikes to the 9-count leaves and ask yourself what was different about each throw: Was your ball's entry angle different? Was your ball speed different? Was the path your ball took to your mark different? By answering questions like these, you should be able to identify that small change that can lead to a big difference on the score sheet.
How is league play going for everyone? I'd like to start posting reader high scores every week if we can get some folks to send them in through the comments section.