Shhh! It's a Secret #10

Here's the tenth tip along with a bonus 11th bowling tip for you....

When you watch bowling on television, you won't see a bowler throw a shot that is not aggressive. They don't baby the ball or throw tentatively or fail to follow through with every shot. Neither should you. The shape and distance of the follow through rarely changes but its speed might.

Sometimes we allow the lane condition to take our game away from us. We get a little cautious or begin to aim/fit/steer the ball to the pocket. All spell disaster in terms of carry and confidence. It's much easier to have a free armswing and a confident shot when you've got three boards or more to hit. One of the things that could increase your target area is follow through. When you follow through, NO MATTER WHAT, good things happen to off-hits.

Speed control is the most difficult of all adjustments because it is the one that affects your timing most dramatically. You always want to have a ball in your hand and play an area of the lane that allows you to be aggressive. An aggressive swing and demeanor don't give you time to aim or fit or steer the ball - a very good thing.

Decelerating the armswing is one of the biggest enemies of good shot-making and carry. Accelerating the armswing from about your back pocket out toward the pins NO MATTER WHAT is essential. When you try it, you'll feel that you can't possibly be very accurate with such an out-of-control feeling. Then when you let the ball go, it travels over your target, your speed is increased and your carry improves, and you might think a couple of things: "Who threw that?" and "It can't be this easy."

Aggression is an attitude, not an emotion.

The more you do it, the easier it becomes. You're more accurate and the pins seem to move around the deck more. It's a wonderful experience and a powerful feeling. Aggression is not always related to speed. Being aggressive is an attitude, not an emotion. Sometimes you need to have a little finesse. I call this stroke assertive (as opposed to hit aggressive).

To define these terms: hit aggressive does not mean hitting up on the ball. Hit aggressive relates more to the speed of your armswing acceleration. In stroke assertiveness, the follow through has the exact same shape as the hit aggressive follow through, the acceleration is just less. When folks have to slow the ball down, they tend to decelerate the arm too much and baby the ball onto the lane. They bend the elbow too soon and sometimes even stop the follow through instead of letting it continue on its own momentum, as though the arm was boneless.

The looseness of the arm and its freedom to fall back down and swing loosely by the side after the ball has gone still happens in stroke assertive shots just like it does in hit aggressive shots. Sometimes hit aggressive shots leave solid tens and back row pins and you need a little less speed for carry. On stroke assertive shots, the follow through is exactly the same shape just not the same speed. You are still playing the area of the lane that allows you to have a free armswing and not aim the ball; you're just assertive rather than aggressive.

It will take some practice to develop the different feel of these follow through techniques and it will be worth it in terms of carry, lane play, versatility, and your overall sense of well-being!.

BONUS SECRET #11

Constant movement is not always a sign of nervousness or hyperactivity. It can actually be a weapon for you to avoid tightening up. If your armswing is tight, the pins know it. If your legs are tight, you feel it as the games wear on. If you have a death grip on the ball, your release and accuracy suffer.

Staying in some kind of constant movement as you prepare to roll your shot can keep you from tightening up - not big moves, just little movements that prevent you from being perfectly still. Gently tapping your elbow against your side a couple of times before you begin your approach, patting the ball with your index finger, or bouncing ever so slightly with your knees will all help to keep you loose before you begin your approach.

Norm Duke seldom lets his feet get still and moves the ball left and right in his hand in his starting stance. Betty Morris bounces up and down several times. Tom Baker constantly fiddles with his grip in the ball. They don't do this because they are nervous. It helps keep them feeling loose and relaxed as they begin their approach. They know that tight = back row standing. Try it for several weeks. Find some movement that feels comfortable (it can be something that only you know, like wiggling your toes) and keep doing it. It should also detract from your ability to think while on the approach - what a good idea!