I learned how to bowl, I mean really bowl, during a college course. I chose the old style of bowling. Three fingers with a triangle layout, hand holding the ball on the side, arm swing, lift to impart rotational spin which will create a small hook as the ball travels down the lane. Bam. Bob’s your uncle.
That’s how I bowled from 1992 till December of 2021. There were different variations on the theme, of course, but everything changed a few months ago when I committed myself to learn the modern way of throwing a bowling ball. The original plan was to just get new equipment and keep my old college style but YouTube and Brad & Kyle messed that plan up.
I changed one little aspect of my release to start after buying my first brand new bowling ball (ever). Rather than start with my hand on the side of the ball, I started with it behind the ball and I’d rotate my hand to the side at the bottom of the forward swing and get some good rotational spin on the ball. That lasted a few weeks but I was quite inconsistent. I started watching videos from JR Reymond and Brad & Kyle after Googling how to throw a better hook. At first, it seemed too far out of reach for me to pick up the full modern way to throw a bowling ball – there were too many moving parts at the release that made the mechanics of it seem to difficult to bother with.
Then I picked up a stronger ball (in terms of the coverstock – the shell of the ball) that I could trust to hook if I rolled up the back of the ball on oily, slippery lanes. A strong ball grips the lane, even through oil, and I can trust it to hook. With that new revelation, I decided to change fully – and that’s when the serious practice started.
I did practice drills three or four nights a week in the spare bedroom, rolling my ball on the carpeted floor into pillows or an old mattress (the mattress was pretty cool, it actually returned the ball back to me for another throw). The key was learning the timing in getting my thumb out of the ball before my ring and middle fingers. Getting the thumb out early led to the ability to ride up the the back of the ball, putting more revolutions on the ball than I ever could have before, which helped the ball hook that much more.
After a week or two of drills, I started practicing a lot more. I’d go to an alley once or twice a week, in addition to my two league nights, to practice. I learned how to aim with the new release. I learned that I needed different bowling balls for different lanes. I couldn’t use the strong ball on two of my favorite lanes because it would hook too much and too early. Practice, practice, practice…
And now I’m comfortable with the new release. Enough I don’t resort to the old way of throwing a bowling ball and I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’m much more consistent.
All in all, with bowling three or four times a week, plus 15 to 30 minutes of drills in the spare bedroom a few nights a week, I completely changed how I bowled in about four weeks. I went from the way I learned in college to a modern bowling release, then learned how to aim that new release, in a month. The tough part was getting through the rough patch where I struggled with aim, hook and speed – while I was trying to put everything together. It took a lot of patience.
To my fellow bowling enthusiasts, my apologies for being a day late with my bowling post. I was too proud of my Cooter Yoga post to wait. I was laughing too hard to think rationally as I hit the schedule button. Cooter Yoga… now that’s funny.