September 25, 2012

Week 4 Pre-Bowl Recap

Game 1: 204
Game 2: 216
Game 3: 224
Series: 644
Week Avg: 214
Season Avg: 194

On September 6th I went to pre-bowl in preparation for my second week of recovery following my surgery. Luckily I had a short work day already scheduled and was able to get to the alley around 1PM.  There were only a handful of people there and I was able to throw on a pair of lanes that we would typically bowl on during league.  The lanes were freshly oiled and I felt pretty good heading into my games.

The first game started with a strike and four consecutive spares. I made a conscious effort to pace myself and it worked well throughout all three games.  I struck in the sixth frame and stayed clean throughout the rest of the game, including a turkey in the tenth frame, to finish with a 204.

I started the second game with four more marks before finally missing a 10-pin in the fifth frame. I spared in the sixth and then fired four strikes in a row and a spare to finish the game. I had a 216 in what is typically my lowest game of an outing.

The third game started with another four bagger before a high hit left three pins, which I picked up for a spare. I doubled after that before opening on my only split of the day. I struck again in the ninth and the first ball in the tenth, finishing the frame with a spare and a 224 game.

I felt great throughout the entirety of this series and it was bittersweet knowing that I had to walk away from bowling for at least two weeks after such a good performance.  One big factor this day was that I was able to quickly identify problems in my delivery and correct them in the matter of a frame or two. I also had a lot of pocket nine counts which could have just as easily been strikes. A good release and follow through led to a fantastic day.

I went to the doctor on Monday and got the all clear to start getting back to normal activity this weekend. I'm still a little sore when I move certain ways, but otherwise I feel pretty good. I'll be out of town this weekend so I won't have a chance to warm up before next league night. But normal activity means bowling, and I plan to be ready to go.

Time to pick up where I left off . . .

September 18, 2012

Some Updates

Well I had my surgery on Friday morning and things went a little differently than expected. The plan was to make one small incision in my belly button to remove my gall bladder using a robot for most of the work. Apparently my gall bladder was a bit inflamed and they couldn't even get to it using the robot and one incision. They made two additional cuts, one about 6 inches above my belly button and another about three inches right of that, as well as a small hole about 8 inches to the right of my belly button to drain additional fluid from the surgery. Needless to say I am more sore than I expected to be and have some concern about how quickly I will be able to get back to bowling shape. I see the doctor for a follow up next Monday and we'll take it from there, but my plan is still to be back in action on October 1st.  It sounds like I did get lucky though, the doctor said they were a few minutes away from opening my entire abdomen to get to the gall bladder. I imagine recovery would have been considerably longer then.

In happier news, the Sandbagger Prevention League is getting some positive reviews just one week in. Jef who runs the Bowling Blog gave it a mention in a recent post. I knew this would be a different and challenging experiment, but the pressure is on for me to do this right and present accurate results for any interested parties. If we can reach significant findings and conclusions, I will send along a report and a copy of our results to the USBC with a recommendation on how to clean up league bowling while still making it appealing to the masses.

Thanks to all for your support in both of the above mentioned topics and good luck on the lanes.

Week 3 Pre-Bowl Recap

Game 1: 196
Game 2: 179
Game 3: 197
Series: 572
Week Avg: 190
Season Avg: 187

In anticipation of my surgery on Friday, September 14th, I took to the lanes on September 4th to pre-bowl for week 3 along with my wife who had the unenviable duty of taking care of me during my recovery.

We were set up on the opposite side of the center that our league bowls on and were on the pair next to the wall and ball lockers, so it wasn't the most comfortable of lanes to bowl on.  To make matters worse, practice showed that the lanes had not been oiled that morning which forced me to throw a more sharply hooking angle into the pocket than usual. As we began the first game we noticed that the right lane wasn't registering our scores. Upon complaining to the worker they moved us one set of lanes over. I'm usually not a fan of moving mid-game, but this turned out to be a great move.

The new pair of lanes were freshly oiled and played similarly to the lane conditions we see on league nights.  I was able to capitalize on the two spares and strike I threw on the original pair and stayed clean through the first game for a 196.

I started with a strike in the second game before missing a 7-pin in the second frame. I rebounded with a double, but then followed that up with a light pocket hit split and then a chopped eight count open. I made a 6-7 split to get back on my game, but opened on another 7-pin for my last ball in the tenth frame to finish with a 179.

The third game started just as the second finished, with another missed 7-pin. I finally made the decision to pull my plastic out for any further attempts at the 7-pin and convert my final three attempts at that spare for the day. I stayed clean after the first frame, but was unable to string more than two strikes together the entire day. I finished the last game with a 197 and a 572 series.

I was throwing the ball pretty well, but recognizing two small changes a little later than I should have kept me from a couple 200 games and probably a 600 series. In the second game I was dropping my shoulder a little bit and missing my mark left, which resulted in a few ugly leaves. The other adjustment was to use my plastic when shooting at the 4- and 7-pins. My strike ball was grabbing early on the left side of the lane and it was easier to throw straight at the pins than try to find a line specific for those pins.

I've got one more week of scores banked during my recovery and then I hope to be back in action. Stay tuned.

September 12, 2012

Week 2 Recap

Game 1: 179
Game 2: 210
Game 3: 211
Series: 600
Week Avg: 200
Season Avg: 186

The first game started as a continuation of Week 1, with four of the first five frames as opens. While I was right in the pocket during practice, the first few frames saw me hit light several times to leave a 1-2-10, 5-7 and a few clusters that I chopped. I moved right a half board and quickly found the pocket again, striking enough to pull off a respectable 171 considering the poor start.

I stayed clean the second game, but had difficulty stringing more than two strikes together. I didn't have anything less than an eight-count on the balls that didn't strike, though, and was in the pocket nearly every shot for a 210.

I started the third game with two missed 10-pins, which really upset me because I used to take pride in making that spare. I quickly cleaned up my act and followed the two opens with a turkey and didn't open the rest of the night. I moved a few inches back about halfway through the game to compensate for a light pocket hit and really never looked back.  I finished with a 211 game and a 600 on the nose.

One problem I did have this week was that the ball came off my hand early about five times.  It had been cooler here the last few days and I think that the quick change in temperature shrunk my fingers just enough that I had to be very careful to get them into the ball as I set up on the approach. When the ball falls off early I lose revs and miss my mark about a board to the right, which resulted in some light hits.

I pre-bowled for weeks 3 and 4 earlier in the week and in the past nine games I have been throwing the ball really well.  I am hitting my mark more consistently and holding my release. I don't know how to explain it, but the ball just feels great coming off my hand and I feel that every shot has the potential to be a strike. I hope I can keep this momentum going when I come back from my surgery in a few weeks.

I'll post recaps of my pre-bowls for weeks 3 and 4 a little closer to those dates.