Some bowling advice from someone who has bowled a long time

The young man approached me with a question. He wanted to know, since I had bowled a long time, if I could give him some advice on the game of bowling. I was understandably moved, though a little skeptical. After all no one had ever asked me for bowling advice before.

Those who have seen me bowl probably know why!

Specifically the fellow wanted to know what he should be thinking about as he approached the foul line before delivering the ball. Here’s what I told him.

As you approach the line there are three things that you should concentrate on. One is your release including the follow through. Another is maintaining the speed on your bowling ball. Perhaps most importantly, you must concentrate on hitting your mark.

At this point, he seemed enthralled.

I then told him about a few of my shortcomings. Frequently I forgot to lift as I released the ball. That prevented it from breaking properly and left me to beg the ball to get up to the head pin. Trust me, if you forget to lift you are left to hope that the lanes are extremely dry.

Other times I would forget to extend on my follow through and would short arm the ball. That did not work well and even though I knew I was doing it, I couldn’t stop. It’s a little like my propensity for failing to close cupboard doors these days. One would think if you know you are doing something wrong, you would not continue to do so. One would think.

As for the speed of your shot, you should look for consistency. Not “my consistency” mind you. I never could throw the ball faster than 12 mph. It didn’t really bother me until bowling alleys installed your ball speed on the overhead scoreboards.

Geez, some guys throw the ball really hard!

When I first started bowling I used a house ball and threw it straight down the middle hoping to be off the head pin one way or the other. I actually was pretty effective bowling that way, but like so many others, I bowed to peer pressure, bought my own ball and learned to throw a hook.

All that did was give me more to think about including finding a mark. I settled on anywhere between the first and second arrow. Though that is a five board range, you would be surprised how often I missed my “mark” by five or more boards.

Those guys that use half boards are disgusting!

By now my young friend is a bit mystified and seems in a hurry to get away from me. But I have not told him about my approach to the foul line. I have more advice to give.

Here’s something that happened to me more than once. I walked up to the foul line crooked. By the time I reached the line I had no idea how to get the ball to where I wanted to throw it. I advised against doing that.

Sometimes I got to the line too soon and was not yet prepared to throw the ball. That was slightly less embarrassing than losing the ball off your hand before you meant to throw it. That called for me to make my throwing motion while the ball was already some 10 feet on to the lanes.

The guy had apparently heard enough advice. He started walking away and when I asked where he was going he said “I thought you had bowled a long time.”

As he walked out of sight I shouted after him — “I did bowl a long time, but I didn’t say I was a GOOD bowler!”

Imperial-Majorette-Sportsman: Kevin Fitch 705, Ben Hoyda 657, Jason Ball 653, Kyle Musa 643, Bill Fleming 617, Chris Johnson 610, Jerry Meyer 602, Miriam Fankhauser 426 and Meg Pifer 423.

Tuesday Night: Scott Ferguson 681, Aaron Sherman 591, Rick Smith 582, Mike Porter 579, Steve Depinet 573, Gregg Liskai 562 and Doug Snyder 556.

Alley Cats: Kathy Echleberry 551, Monica Musgrave 547, Crystal Butler 545, Rhonda Tiell 543 and Robyn Wight 521.

Lady Knights: Carol Burmeister 469, Deb Hoerig 462, Lin Nitecki 435, Debra Gase 429 and Janet Coffman 423.

Allen Eiry: Bob Reinhart 358, Robin Brownell 326, Harry Smith 315, Jeanette Lynch 314, Joanne Elchert 301, Phil Miller 293, Dave Everhart 285, Viola Rumschlag 282, Jim Donaldson 266 and Bill Steinmetz 266.

Rocket: Tom Tiell 653, Jason Ball 630, Mike Distel 630, Matt Griffin 572, Dave Coppus 555 and Chris Agerter 550.

55 Plus: Jim Ruess 668, Paul Gosche 532, Bob Reinhart 510, Jim Ferstler 493, Jerry Coleman 484, Al Thomas 460, Jerry Gillig 455, John Ferstler 454, Jim Donaldson 426, Dave Everhart 419 and Paul Fey 374.

Al Stephenson is the bowling columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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