Game 1: 203
Game 2: 160
Game 3: 184
Week Avg: 182
Season Avg: 191
Practice quickly showed that the lane conditions to start the evening were similar to when we finished up two weeks before. I found a good line by playing more of an arch into the pocket rather than the more direct shot I had started with the last few weeks. There were also four of us playing a pretty similar line, so I expected the lanes to change a bit throughout the evening.
The first game started pretty well. I was striking with ease and picked up the two 10-pins and 6-pin I left. My only open was in the seventh or eighth frame when I missed the 4-pin by a hair to the left. I noticed that if I put the ball over my mark and it continued to the right another few boards before hooking into the pocket it was carrying a lot better than if I threw straight over my mark or drifted to the left. The latter is what caused the single pin leaves. I struck twice in the tenth and then hit the headpin just about straight on, leaving five pins standing. I finished the game with a 203, but more importantly we squeaked out a win by a few pins and are battling for first place this quarter.
The second game was ugly. I left and missed the 7-pin in the first frame and the 6-10 split in the second. I struck in the third, followed by a missed 4-pin and a missed 10-pin. I struck in the sixth frame and then left a 4-9 split. I made my first spare of the game in the eighth frame, taking out the 6-pin, and followed that up with a turkey. With two strikes in the tenth frame I left the 10-pin on my last ball and salvaged a 160 for the game. Every leave except the 4-9 split was makable and if I convert those I have a 204 game (that is accurate, I had to do the math because it was killing me to know what could have been). If I convert just one of those spares my team takes the game and the series last night, three big points in the team standings.
My third game started with a spare and then a high hit resulted in a solid 7-9 split. I missed another 4-pin before I realized that I should look past my spare target a few inches. This resulted in me getting the ball further out on the lane and the ball hooking later. I didn't miss a spare after that epiphany. I mixed in a few strikes, but the ball started coming in high and I spent much of the game trying to catch up with what it was doing. I finished the game with a 184 and a 547 series.
Last night was deja vu all over again. Another night, another batch of missed single pin spares. Luckily, there was a trend of missing every single one just barely to the left. I was able to realize that with the changing lanes, my ball was grabbing a bit sooner and missing left. By looking further out on the lane at my release, I was able to counteract the hook and began to make my spares like I did the first game. As I have been saying for a while now, I need to get out to practice a bit. I am starting to come around to the idea of using my plastic on spares, but I'd like to practice both ways before I make any changes during league play. I think its time to take "Don" out of the rotation and start carrying the plastic Zone.
My consistency issue seemed to disappear last night. I can think of only a couple times where I really missed my mark, which should have made my problems easier to diagnose. If I can take consistency out of the equation, I can really focus on the minor issues that are plaguing my game. For example, it didn't occur to me until the beginning of the third game that I had to play each lane slightly differently to get a good hit. The right lane hooked a little less than the left, but it caught up to the left lane by the end of the night.
On the car ride home, I realized that about halfway through the third game I should have moved my body and target about three boards to the left. I was trying to force the ball closer to the gutter and expecting it to come back to the pocket, but from where I was standing it was hanging out there a little too long. By moving left, I would have given the ball a little more space to get to the break point before driving into the pocket. It would have been a more drastic adjustment than I usually make during a game, but its something I will keep in mind for next week.
Its been difficult to get back into a rhythm with pre-bowling a few weeks and then having Thanksgiving off. I'll be fine for the next two weeks, but then need to pre-bowl again just before Christmas. Hopefully that will be the last time for the season and I can finish the second half of the season on a good note.