Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pin In, Pin Out

The pin distance on a ball is the separation between the heaviest point (Center of Gravity, mark by Manufacturer) and the top of the weightblock (the pin). If both are close, it is harder to manipulate more than the weightblock for down lane effect. Further apart, a pin out, affords a driller two points to manipulate to help fine tune ball reaction, occasionally using a weight hole.

Ball reaction can be manipulated if a player has the skills. Under 150 average, a performance ball will start to help with your effect to the pocket, but because of lesser skills occasionally will cause difficulty with spares. A 170+ average bowler has better skills, typically is becoming better at reading lanes and reading ball reaction, for both first ball and spares. A 190+ average bowler typically hits the pocket most of the time, often equipment helps make them more effective strike bowlers, but lack of practice or understanding of the need to have a plan for spares leads them to an erratic spare game. The solid 190+ bowler, with a good spare game often doesn't match up well, with the environment (lanes to slick for faster ball speed, lanes to dry for slower speed, or a rev rate that is to violent (splits) or not strong enough (weak hitting ball)). 200+ bowlers hits the pocket essentially ever shot, strikes a fair amount, has a solid spare game. For every 10 pins better than 200, is primarily the result of good to great matchups (speed, rev rate, lane condition and ball). One other possibility, any bowler can have any of the above averages and/or combinations of skill set and be terrible or just be flat out terrific (sometimes the bowling gods reward dumb luck).

Layout is important for any performance ball. The ball must react where you need it to and have energy left at the pins. When you are investing in multiple bowling balls, layout can differentiate and fine tune the differences. Too much concern with layout often causes subtle effects causing a ball to hook a little too early and hit a little weak, a little too late and not drive and carry well or some variation. Or, layout doesn't allow flexibility on a given lane condition. A ball may play to "touchy" where minor errors cause carry problems or worse (splits, bad counts).

Buy the ball to get the amount of hook you need, the pin placement is a MINOR factor in reaction. There are no magic bowling balls or magic layouts. Layout is a vehicle of speed, rev rate, axis tilt, axis rotation, surface preparation, lane condition and where does a particular ball reaction need to fall in your current arsenal. Ball choice should determine general look (ball path from foul line to pins). Layout encourages a ball that is created to bite early, to bite a little later, or vise versa. A 4 inch pin and a leverage pin (3 3/8- 3 3/4) roll similarly, but a bowlers speed or "black and white" lane condition or other factors might cause the leverage pin to be a bit to early. There are way to many factors to create a matrix of use this or don't use that, when this is present or the ball does that. That is why an educated ball driller is your best asset as a bowler.

"You can't out execute bad ball reaction."

All examples above assume decent fit, basic layouts and minimal to NO grip pressure.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Some of the Basics, Leading to Throwing a Hook

(For a right hander) Start with your left (slide) shoe about the middle of the lane (the big Dot at the 20th board is the center of the approach and lane, side to side).

If you can, position the ball in front of your armpit with the thumb at 10 o'clock (as a right hander, 2 o'clock for a lefty). Try to swing the ball, straight back and straight forward (let momentum and gravity do most of the work). Try to maintain the hand position throughout the approach, swing, and delivery.

As the ball rolls out of your hand, continue the hand forward (toward your target)and up, like throwing an imaginary glass of water up and over your bowling shoulder.

Maintaining the hand position will provide the axis tilt you want. Keep your first step short and measured, you want to stay balanced, starting slowly. The faster you go the easier it is to get out of balance, or mess up your timing, or both, bad idea.

Also, try to use your back and shoulders to provide leverage at delivery. With some knee bend, you should be in an "athletic pose." The knee bend maintained as you move to the foul line will enable you to absorb some of the wobble of your approach (benefits your balance), and provides stability, to deliver the shot with consistent speed and rotation. Consistency is your first objective.

Adjust footwork (starting point of your slide foot) right if you miss right, left if you miss left.