Sunday, October 21, 2007

Something Cool!

I just bought a new ball yesterday (more about that once I've bonded with it), but a new feature that was available is a removable thumb plug.

It's a two-piece system with two cylinders: the outer one is glued into the ball in the same way that any other thumb plug is done. The inner cylinder holds the grip. You unlock it by twisting it 90 degrees, and put it back the same way.

Why is this cool?

Two reasons:

One, say you're working with a ball, and put in tape FINALLY getting the right feel. Then you end up in a situation where you have to change balls (e.g., for a edge-spare, etc.). Getting the other ball taped in exactly the same way is not quick or really feasible, but with this handy-dandy contraption, you'll have the same thumb fit
for both balls.

The other situation I thought of is if you absolutely need an adjustment in how the thumb is drilled for a change in release. You can use different plugs (slightly bigger or smaller, slight change in thumb pitch) for different circumstances. If you have three plugs and four balls, it's like having twelve balls in your arsenal at any given time!


Here's the manufacturer's page.

Something that would help... :-)

OK - there are times when it would be nice to make adjustments AFTER the release!

Oops!

Wow - one of my recurring nightmares... :-)

Well, at least he still won...

video

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For Pete's Sake - SLOW DOWN!

The last two lessons I've had have been extremely interesting. Last week I was 10 minutes into one of the best sessions yet, and I threw my back out (ouch!), so we turned the rest of the hour into a discussion ABOUT bowling instead. So that was cool.

Today, I've had another great lesson. I'm FINALLY starting to see my release "work" and my follow through is not too bad. What feels like me topping the ball apparently isn't - so part of the problem is that I've been holding back on getting around the ball at the point of release worrying that I was forcing too much spin on it.

However, the biggest change has been that I'm going far too fast getting to the foul line. This has always been an issue because it seems counter-intuitive to me for two reasons. First, momentum is carried to the ball when you go from your approach to stopping at the foul line, so one would THINK that speed means more momentum, and greater ball velocity means more kinetic energy put onto the pins. Second, getting to a stopped position in advance of the ball should mean that you can come through your shot more.

But it's not as simple as that because, well - timing is everything. You can beat your arm swing to the line, but then you run the risk of forcing the shot. Also, overcoming all that inertia is tough and what typically happens is that you'll start rise into your shot.

If you're rising into your shot, odds are you're rushing to the line. SLOW DOWN! :-)

So, I really forced myself to slow down on the last two steps - not so much that I exaggerated it, but enough that it SEEMED a little more "leisurely" than I would have usually taken it.

Big improvement - the release started happening more in synch, and my follow through was greatly improved.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Something to Try if Your Shot is Veering Off...

I've been working on my release for months. I'm a slow learner. :-)

Anyway, one of the problems I encounter is that while I'm trying to get my thumb out of the ball in time and then get my fingers around the ball, I end up either dipping my ball-side shoulder which sends the ball out away from the pocket, or bringing my palm over the ball which sends it "Brooklyn".

Working with my coach yesterday, he suggested something that has worked fairly well.

When you get into your set up stance, relax your ball-side knee so that your body shifts placing your head over the same vertical line as the ball. This also has the effect of getting your hip out of the way which lets you actually keep the ball closer to your body AND stay in line with your target. You do have to be careful not to turn it into a lean as you approach the foul line.

(Diagram to come.)

Something That Bugs Me About the USBC

So, in their training manuals for coaching, they almost universally discuss topics from the perspective of right-handed bowlers, only once in a while mentioning left-handed bowlers as an afterthought.

Why?

The concepts are the same - just the positions are mirror-images of each other.

To get around this, I try to use "ball hand/side" and "non-ball hand/side". That way any instructions use the same language regardless of the handedness of the bowler.

Maybe we can update the outdated manuals with more consistent terminology in future revisions.