Game 1: 213
Game 2: 170
Game 3: 165
Week Avg: 182
Season Avg: 191
Practice was not a source of confidence this week as I struggled to hit my mark and really didn't pull off a single good strike ball in the 10 minute session. There was a lot of oil in the first 2/3 of the lanes, so much so that the ball would come back practically dripping with oil. I anticipated that the lanes would change quickly tonight given that four of us threw a pretty similar line; however, with this much oil there wasn't really a change until the beginning of the third game.
The first eight frames of the first game could have easily been all strikes. The ball held nicely until the back end and was driving through the rack. Lighter hits tended to carry a little better than higher ones. I started with a four bagger, then came in light to leave a 10-pin and then high to leave a 7-pin. I missed both. I got back on track with a few good balls and then missed my mark to the right in the ninth frame, hanging the ball outside and leaving the 1-2-4, which I converted. I struck out in the tenth, finishing with a 213.
The second game started off with a couple of spares before leaving the 1-2-4 again, this time only picking up the 1- and 4-pins. I struck and then had what looked to be another great hit, but I left a solid 8-10 split. I stayed clean until the ninth frame, picking up a few strikes and spares, but always hitting a little high or a little light. In the ninth frame I almost left the 5-7 split, but the 7-pin fell. Unfortunately, I failed to convert a 5-pin. That's right, I missed a 5-pin in the ninth frame. I filled the tenth, but there was no salvaging this game, a dismal 170.
The beginning of the third game saw me fighting to get back on track to consistently hit my mark. I missed another 10-pin and finished 3 for 5 on that leave. I also failed to pick up the 3-6-10, a shot I haven't been very comfortable with this year. I did manage to pick up spares, but I continually felt uneasy about my first ball. I struck only once after making a small adjustment in the seventh frame. I finished with a 165 and a 548 series.
Last night was a case of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and since I came back from my two week hiatus things have been very up and down for me. To say my spare shooting has been a bit off is an understatement. I really need to find some time to get out and shoot nothing but corner pins and that blasted 3-6-10. The corner pins are typically a matter of concentration and not hitting my mark, but the 3-6-10 is a a matter of me totally blanking on how to approach the shot. Do I move slightly left and throw my strike ball or do I move further left and shoot it like it is a corner shot? For some reason every time this leave appears my mind goes blank.
Once again, my big problem last night was consistency. Starting in the second game, I continued to hit my mark at the arrows, but the ball was missing my target to the left or right further down the lane. Until the third game, the heavy oil was keeping the ball in the pocket when missing my target to the left. Missing my target to the right, however, gave the ball no chance to strike. I wish I could say I found a solution for this problem, but I didn't. Not last night. The only thing I could do was start making my spares and live to bowl another day.
By the third game, I had just assumed that any issues were my own. This led me to forget about the fact that the lanes were changing and the ball was hooking a bit more. I was leaving more 7- and 4-pins from high hits and I didn't think to make an adjustment until the sixth frame. I moved up a few inches and found a better hit, but then I started leaving 10-pins and frankly just ran out of time.
I've seemed to have reached a plateau in my average. I have been hovering in the 192/193 range since the end of last year. In order to overcome this stagnation, I need to become a better spare shooter. I suppose it is good that I realize what aspect is holding me back, but being able to get better at that aspect is going to take practice and a whole lot of patience.