League night was a lot of fun Friday night. I showed up way early to get the thumb hole on my Hammer reamed out a little bit. I almost developed a blister during last Sunday’s eight game practice session… and I also got the finger tips switched out on my new Quantum Evo for something a little tighter. Then threw two practice games to get warmed up. My first game was a bit blasé, but both strike balls felt immensely better.
My favorite substitute was bowling for one of our regulars who couldn’t make it. He’s always a bunch of fun to have around. I did alright, but not great. My first game was average but I really hooked it up in the second with a decent 206. My third game was a bit of a mess but I ground out a 160-something.
We were bowling against a heck of a team, too. They destroyed us the first game but we won the next two. We took four of seven points; a fantastic result for the team we bowled against.
The practice session afterward was what changed everything for both Noel and me. First, for Noel. Scott, one of the guys from the team we bowled against, stayed late as well and was watching Noel and I work some things out. Noel has/had an exceptionally unorthodox release. He has zero follow through and is wildly off-balance at his release, which is actually behind his slide leg. He drops the ball six to twelve inches behind the foul line. I thought Noel should start with the follow through, but Scott had a better idea – work on the balance and footwork, first. He showed him the proper five-step release and Noel took to it like a fish to water. The improvement was profound and immediate. With the proper footwork and balance at the foul line, Noel followed through naturally. And he struck like a monster.
I, on the other hand, wanted to work on something, too. I’ve been trying to learn the technically correct hi-rev release that’s so popular these days and I saw a video on YouTube the other day that showed some drills that could be practiced at home for improving one’s release. The tip involved releasing the ball onto a sofa. Well, I figured, I could try that. So, after work and with my wife not home from her new job, I pulled out a bowling ball and went to it… and it worked!
I tried it full scale Friday night and for several frames the results were remarkable. I was hooking the ball right into the pocket without having to worry about keeping my speed low enough to allow the hook to happen. Eventually, the super-power shut itself off as I overthought the whole thing, but for a time, it was amazing. I’ll be rolling the ball into my couch on a regular basis while I get this figured out.
I took my wife and daughter out Yesterday afternoon for another couple of hours to see if the new changes stuck.
I started the first game with three open frames to get my bearings but slotted it in and railed off four in a row, followed by a spare/strike/spare finish for a 186. I wanted to use my Quantum Evo but I found I was able to smoke the pocket with my Hammer Scorpion.
I started the second game with a Quantum Evo open 9, but rallied with the Scorpion – six in a row followed by a spare/spare/strike/spare for a cool 235. I was starting to burn up the left side of the lane by the end of that second game.
I switched to the Quantum Evo and moved right. The Evo is a little more finicky than the Scorpion in that it needs a lot more oil, but once I find the oil and get it slotted in, it’s predictable and strong. I ended up leaving a couple of opens, but everything else in that game was solid, a 192… and the new release was really working well.
I was going to wait till the end of the season to change, but the new release is just too good to leave on the shelf. I surprised myself that I was able to pick it up so soon, I think I’m going to have to keep it.