Now we start getting technical. In my last two posts I covered equipment and we started working on throwing a hook, why the hook is so important, release and targeting to take us from a 100 average to the 150s. Now it’s time to turn it up a notch.
The equipment stays the same, relatively speaking. A decent strike ball and a spare ball, though you can add a urethane ball (that hooks less), or something stronger, that really hooks. For now I’m leaning toward a resin reactive, the latter, at the moment. My Scorpion is great, but it’s really more for medium oil than heavy. I took my wife and daughter out last weekend to a bowling alley we’d never thrown at before and the lanes were a little drier than what I’m used to and my ball absolutely hooked up and was deadly good. Normally I stand four boards right of center (board 16 for righties, 24 for lefties) on Friday night and send it dead at board 7… and I can still bring it right into the pocket that far left. On the strange lanes I was standing with my right foot on 31 and aiming for 14 and I could miss a little left and bring it right back. It was quite fun throwing like a righty on the medium oil…
The point is, that’s how a ball is supposed to react. The lanes have more oil on Friday night so my ball doesn’t hook up like it should unless I slow the speed way down. A more aggressive ball would fix that issue. And that leads us into the main topic; improving from the 150s to the 180s.
Getting to a 180-ish average is a lot harder than going from a 100 to a 150 because there’s no room for error once you’re trying to hit the higher scores. Even though you’ve improved considerably, now you need strikes and spares because with open frames, you run out of game in a hurry. What we’re going to concentrate on for the next weeks into months is practice and dialing in our strike shot, but more important, picking up spares.
If you look at a lot of today’s bowlers, especially the two-handers, they’ve got one shot: super high-revs, big hook, and a powerful explosion of the pins… unless they miss high or a little low and they leave corner shots, which they can’t pick up because they throw too much hook to get a pin into the corner. The really good bowlers will flatten their hand and throw their strike ball straighter, across the alley but that’s the hard way, as I recently found out. I did that for years (and I wasn’t anywhere near “really good”, I just didn’t want to go through the hassle of buying a new ball). A plastic spare ball makes spares infinitely easier – and why do things the hard way when you don’t have to?!
This is why I bought a plastic spare ball that won’t hook much. After using it for two weeks and trying to getting accustomed to a ball that barely hooks, I can say it easily adds 16 to 20 pins to each game. Picking up a 7-pin (10-pin for righties) is almost automatic where I really had to concentrate and hit a perfect shot to get into the corner. If I pick up two spares that would normally be open because I didn’t make the perfect shot, I’m shooting on a spare instead of an open. There’s your extra pins.
So, practice is going to be the key to getting all of this dialed in over the next several weeks to where your shots are repetitive. Pick your lines and dial it in… and then switch up bowling alleys so you get used to switching up for varying conditions.
Most important, though is this: have fun.