June 25, 2012

Week 6/Cheetah Recap

Game 1: 160
Game 2: 190
Game 3: 173
Game 4: 212
Series: 735
Week Avg: 183
Cheetah Avg: 187
Season Avg: 184

I knew this week was going to be rough before throwing a single ball. After taking a look at the score sheet to see who our opponents were going to be for the night I looked up at one of the scoreboards from the next lane. Typically the screen shows advertisements for bowling specials or the alley restaurant, but this time there was a photo of a girl with a caption that said "Congratulations (name) 2012 High School All-American." The name sounded familiar and I looked back down at the score sheet . . . we were bowling against one of the top junior bowlers in the country.

Being the third week on this pattern I felt pretty confident in my line, so practice went by without incident in that regard; however, I had done some heavy lifting at work earlier in the day and after throwing my first ball my right forearm and bicep ached bad. It was difficult to extend my arm like I usually do, but I thought it loosened up quite a bit by the end of practice. I kept my same starting line from the previous two weeks, with my left foot at the 20 1/2 board and throwing at the 8 board (blue line in diagram).

The first game started with a few spares, but I was having a difficult timing getting the pins to carry.  I missed an easy 4-pin in the fourth frame and really didn't do too much better after that. I opened on a 4-7-10 split in the ninth frame and chopped the 1-2-9 in the tenth for a 160 game.

I could not consistently hit my mark, and it showed. I slowed my ball speed at the beginning of the second game in hopes that I could both improve my accuracy and get a little more hook out of the ball. Early in the game it worked well and I did throw a few strikes. I missed the 6-pin in the seventh frame and opened in the ninth frame again by missing the 6-7 split. I managed to barely get over average with a 190.

The third game was frustrating. I was missing my mark left nearly every shot, but leaving single pins for easy spares. That is until the fifth frame when I blew a 5-pin. I tried moving to standing at the 20 board and throwing at the 7 board, but my accuracy was the real issue here. Again. Unfortunately my frustration fogged my ability to think about why I was missing my mark and I convinced myself that I could just concentrate my way through the problem. After leaving the 5-6 split in the ninth frame, opening in that frame for the third straight game, I decided on two things. The first was to move only my mark to the 7 board. The second, and more important decision, was to pay attention to my delivery and release to determine why I was missing my mark. I finished the game with a 173, but finally realized what I was doing wrong.

That sore arm from practice was still lingering, I just didn't realize it. Instead, my body decided to adjust to avoid the pain. At the point of release I was dropping my right shoulder, causing my chest to point toward the 7-pin and making me miss my mark about a board to the left. At the beginning of the last game I made a conscious effort to keep my shoulders parallel to the foul line and follow through on my release. Success! I turkeyed and doubled during the game and finished with a clean 212. I also took my only points of the night from Miss All-American.

I don't mean to sound bitter or mean or anything like that, but I enjoyed beating her. I have bowled with and against some pretty great bowlers and I enjoy the competition. Most are great people who are constantly thinking through their game with an indifferent demeanor. This girl, though, was different. She was quite arrogant. Every time she threw a strike she acted like it was her first ever and that it was the best ever. I bet she's a Peter Weber fan.

As for myself, I need to keep cool and think things through a little better. I am still trying to will myself out of problems rather than diagnosing them. Missing my mark is my #1 issue, so my #1 goal needs to be to learn how to correct it. Its the same problem week in and week out. It makes for frustrated bowling and boring blog reading. Sorry.

I think I fared pretty well on the Cheetah pattern. I reviewed some video online from pro tournaments and my lines were pretty consistent with other strokers. Though it gets a bit harder from here. Next up is the long, oily Scorpion pattern and I am not quite sure that I have the right ball to be successful on those conditions, but we'll find out on Thursday.

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