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Mastering the Art of Spot Bowling

Apr 9, 2008
Just knowing the basics of bowling is not enough. Spot bowling is the key to real success, the path to the top that is taken by better than 95 per cent of all well known better-than-200-average bowlers. It isn't really difficult. But before going on to the "how" of spot bowling, suppose we examine the reasons for its existence.

To start with, some bowlers look 60 feet down the lane at the 1-3 pocket, take their usual stance and, still looking that long 60 feet, try to pinpoint their delivery into a pocket for a strike. Obviously, it is quite a formidable task. If their delivery is only a quarter of an inch off, they are left with the almost impossible 8-10 split.

There are some bowlers who say they spot bowl but actually look at the shadow pins cast on the lanes. The bowler finds himself forced to look 60 feet away in order to pinpoint his shot. Chances are that if there were a thimble on the lane where the No. 1 pin stands, he wouldn't see it. And he'd have to be just about as accurate with a bowling ball as Annie Oakley was with a gun.

In order to be effective in bowling, you must be uniform in your delivery. And you must know just how your ball acts, just how much it hooks. You should throw the same way for strikes and spares. And you should spot bowl for both.

Now, assuming that you know the path your ball takes going down the lane, we come to the "how" of spot bowling. There are three main methods and an imaginary line is the key to each.

In one method of spot bowling, you take into consideration the spot down lane from which your ball breaks toward the pocket. In most instances, it's about two thirds of the distance down the lane and certainly not as far to look as the No. 1 pin.

Depending upon just how much your ball breaks, you draw an imaginary line all the way down from where you take your stance. Then, looking at the spot from which your ball breaks, you move directly to the foul line, release the ball and cause it to go directly over your spot. Some bowlers find this method of "spotting" to their advantage; others still find this spot a bit too far out on the lane.

A second method of "spotting" is easier. You use the range finders out where the maple joins the pine.

You take your stance at a point that gives your ball sufficient room in which to work, draw your imaginary line from the pocket to where you're standing and then release the ball so that it moves over the selected spot at the range finders. In most cases, you'll find you'll be utilizing either the second or third range finder from the right. This will vary quite a bit according to how much hook you put on the ball.

In using the third method, you move your spot even closer, from a point close to the spots on the lane (out some five or six feet) to another spot about halfway to the range finders.

In picking out these two spots you take into consideration how your ball acts and make your imaginary spots in line with that action.

The real difference between this style and the others is that it's right out in front of you and, being that close, makes it easier for you to concentrate.

Concentration becomes a particularly important factor in respect to spot bowling. In order to do anything well you must concentrate. And the merits of concentration cannot be too strongly impressed. It is concentration that has developed the stars of today.

If you're sitting on the bench give your teammate and/or opponent every possible chance to concentrate by not doing anything to throw him off stride.

Try spot bowling yourself and see how it improves your score.
About the Author
They Laughed When I Said I Wanted To Bowl, But When I Bowled 7 Strikes In a Row...

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