Game 1: 237
Game 2: 189
Game 3: 219
Week Avg: 215
Season Avg: 192
Practice showed that the lanes were a little drier than they have been over the last two months. The ball was coming in a little earlier and easier. I was pretty confident in my line entering the first game, so much so that I chose to not over-practice my strike shot and wear out the current oil level. Instead I took the opportunity to shoot at the 10- and 7-pins.
I started the first game with the first four in a row. For the fifth frame I pulled my shot slightly left and hit left of the headpin, but picked up the 1-3-5 spare. I struck in the sixth frame and had a nine count spare in the seventh. I followed that same pattern in the eighth and ninth frames before striking out in the tenth. I finished the game with a 237 and only missed my mark twice all game. It was also my teammate's first 200 of the season, a 204, and we beat our best team game by over 100 pins.
The second game saw the lanes get a little drier and the ball started to come in a little high. I pulled two more shots this game, one leaving the 1-3-6-8-10 which was my first open of the night. My first adjustment was to move left a board, but I found that the ball was catching some oil and not coming back to the pocket. I moved up a few inches from my original spot and found the pocket again. I stayed clean after my early miss and finished up with a 189.
The third game felt a lot like the first. I was in the pocket with ease, but where light hits were carrying in the first game high hits were carrying this game. I threw the ball out a little too far right in the ninth frame and the ball didn't recover. I left the 1-2-10 and rung the 2-pin around the 10-pin to miss the spare. I struck the first two balls in the tenth, with the ball coming about a board higher in the pocket each ball. I needed seven pins to tie and eight pins to win the game. I knew my next shot was going to run high as soon as I let it go. The ball hooked high into the headpin and I left the 3-6. I held my breath for a moment as I though I saw the 9-pin hiding, but it fell. That's the second week in a row I managed to squeak out a one pin victory on a less than stellar shot. I finished with a 219 game, a 645 series, won the brackets for the night, and gained a whole lot of confidence.
Coming into this week I decided I needed a plan to correct my most recent issue of missing my mark. I actually used a quote from the movie The Patriot as my guide: Aim small, miss small. In the movie, this advice is in reference to the accuracy of shooting a gun, but the same principles apply to bowling. The smaller I make my target on the lane, the less likely I am to totally blow my shot. During the past few weeks, I have used the second arrow as my target. This week, I decided to use the tip of the arrow as my mark, a much smaller target to hit. While I may have missed the tip of the arrow on a few shots, I only missed the arrow completely a handful of times, tops.
The second game, what I am going to start referring to as the transition game, continues to be an issue. I say transition because this seems to be the game where the lanes change the most and when I make the most drastic adjustments. While it usually sets me up for a good final game, the second game's score still hurts my final total and typically reflects poorly on the team's game.
The last ball in the last game stumped me in the heat of the moment. With the game riding on my final shot, I knew the ball was going to come in high. I didn't want to swing the ball in from further right or move my body left because, as I learned in the ninth frame, the ball wouldn't make it back to the pocket. I couldn't move my body further up on the approach because I had already made that adjustment and would have fouled. I chose to just throw the same shot and hope the ball wouldn't travel that extra board left, but it did and I got lucky. In retrospect, this was the perfect situation to increase my ball speed. With only an early quarter team victory in the balance, I still felt a tremendous amount of pressure to not let my teammates down. I can't even imagine what the pros on TV are feeling during a close match with all that money on the line.