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Tips For The Advanced Bowler

Apr 4, 2008
Once you have mastered bowling's fundamentals, you will find that there are many subtleties of the approach and delivery that still may be something of a mystery to you. Be heartened by the fact that even the most advanced bowling stars have scoring problems.

Some of the most common of these are listed below:

1) Alley Sense

Bowlers too often "fight" the lane. The ball either hooks too much or it won't hook at all, so try to adjust to lane conditions.

If you feel you are releasing the ball properly and the ball still won't hook, there are a number of adjustments you can make: a) move slightly to the right of your normal stance position; b) attempt to slow up the speed of your ball; and c) try changing your target to a point inside the second rangefinder. You may move it in as far as the third rangefinder (from the right). Experience will show you the proper adjustment to make.

If the ball is hooking too much try one of the following: a) move your starting stance slightly to the left using your same target, b) try picking a spot further down the lane to use as your target, or c) increase the speed of your ball.

2) Ten-Pin Leaves

When the ten pin remains on what seems to be a good pocket hit, the fault generally lies with the bowler. I feel the reason for it is that the ball doesn't have enough rolling action when it strikes the 1-3 pocket, or the ball may be traveling at too great a speed when it hits the .pins. If you are bothered by ten-pin leaves, try giving the ball more roll, less spin, and less speed.

3) Pocket Splits

Many bowlers are bothered by troublesome splits that occur on what should be 1-3 pocket hits. If this happens to you, it is an indication that the ball is "quitting" - failing to finish in the proper rolling fashion. Usually this is caused by the thumb coming out of the ball too late. As a result, the ball is given inadequate finger lift. To overcome this failure, shift the position of your thumb in the ball - bring it up to at least nine o'clock.

4) Speed

Speed really isn't an all-important factor in getting your scores. Control and accuracy are much more important.

If you are rolling a ball that is too fast, I suggest you shorten the approach by two or three feet in order to cut down your backswing. Junie McMahon, Hall of Fame star, had almost no backswing at all, and he became one of the East's all-time stars.

If you want to generate more speed, simply increase the height of your backswing. Or, a change to a lighter ball will work, too.

5) Spare Shooting

Many of the more advanced bowlers stand to the left of the approach area when attempting to convert pins remaining on the left side of the lane. This is done to diminish the possibility of "chopping," and I don't recommend it to newcomers. The left side of the lane can be troublesome unless you have a precise understanding of just how the ball is going to react.

6) Drifting

Drifting simply means failure to approach the foul line in a straight line. The remedies for this malady are simple. If you are drifting to the right of the approach, I suggest you keep your first step more to the left than is normally proper. If you are drifting toward the left, step off a bit to the right on your first step.

7) Index Finger

Index finger should be placed on the ball. But don't be overly troubled by this. Just let your finger relax over the contour of the ball in a natural way.

8) Ball Rolling Over Thumb Hole

A ball that rolls over the thumb hole sometimes causes loss of direction and thereby inaccuracy. Usually, a ball rolls in this way because the bowler turns or breaks his wrist at the time of his release.

Master these subtleties, and you will undoubtedly improve your game.
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