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Today is  Sunday, February 14, 2016

Adjusting your approach.

Another common problem among fellow bowlers is the lack of consistancy in their approach. I was told once that "if you start with bad ingredients, you'll bake a bad cake". The same holds true with bowling. If your approach is inconsistant, or you cannot adjust your approach position or speed, you severely limit your ability to adjust to ever changing lane conditions. So, you've got your new ball, your new shiny shoes and that dandy new bowling bag yet you still can't seem to get that ball further down the lane before it breaks or, the ball seems to just roll way too fast and never gets the chance to break into the pocket. What to do?

Jerry A. Jelinek (ak331@cleveland.Freenet.Edu) provides the following lesson that was taught to him:

Here is a helpful tip on footwork and making the ball react earlier and later on the lanes.

On Sunday I was practicing with a friend of mine. He is a senior bowler who tried the tour in the early sixties. He was taught by one of Cleveland's greatest bowlers, Steve Nagy. Needless too say, I respect his judgment a lot.

I use a conventional four step approach. I usually start almost on the back of the approach, so I usually take long steps. He had me move my feet closer to the foul line. To find this new starting point, he had me start at the foul line and take 4 1/2 normal walking steps. This is a technique I have read about, and seen many newer bowlers use, but up until Sunday had never really tried it myself. This new starting point was a good foot closer to the foul line.

Well low and behold, with this new starting point, my feet were obviously slower, shorter and the ball reacted earlier. He described this as the "normal rhythm of walking". By starting further back on the approach, I was not using the normal rhythm of my body. I was able to start further back on the approach to make the ball go longer, or move my feet up on the approach and make the ball hook earlier.

Last night in my traveling league, we went to a very tough house for righties. The lanes are dry in the heads, and the ball just dies by "rolling out" on the back ends. The only place to play the lanes is deep inside of 15. This doesn't allow the ball to roll out. Well I used my Crush/R from around the 16 board with almost no belly and straight at the pocket. I was able to start with my feet closer to the foul line and throw the ball slow. This kept the ball in the only oil that was on the lane. With the knowledge I had from Sundays practice, I was able to make the ball react nicely when my feet were close to the foul line. The ball hit very hard because it would "ride the oil" and finish flush in the pocket.

By the end of the night the inside shot had dried up. I moved my feet back on the approach and played my normal shot. Just as the doctor ordered, the ball hooked later and still crushed the pocket. I shot 680 on a shot were righties struggle to shot 600.

Thought others might use this helpful tip to move the break point of the ball.


The second part of the approach is your "drift factor". In other words, most of us don't walk a straight line to the foul line. Most of us tend to "drift" either to the left or to the right. The most severe cases have the bowler ending up in the exact same spot at the foul line no matter where they start out at. Ok, so you're drifting, what can you do to adjust or compensate? One way is to use the arrows to "aim".

Steve O'Brien ( provides the following to help you adjust your game to your "drift factor".

Hey yall, i just learned about this network today and thought yuns could use a little tip. try this system next time you go to practice. It's the system as taught by dick ritger ( the fifth all time winningiest pro with 20 victories) i was taught these methods when I was 13 and improved my average by over 40 pins in just two years.

The first thing, you must find out in order to use this system is how many boards you drift on your delivery. I'll describe it as though your a right handed bowler. put the inside of your left foot on the 20th board ( center dot) and make your normal delivery. Look down at the foul line and notice what board the inside of your left foot is on. It's probably not the 20th board (center dot). Determine how many boards you drifted and in what direction. If your drift exceeds 4 boards, work on getting it less than 4 boards.

Next you must determine how far to the right of your left leg you release the ball. It's typically 6,7,or 8 boards. how do you determine this? Put a piece of paper over the tenth to 20th board at the foul line. Stand at the foul line with the inside of your left foot on the 20th board. Assume your release position and swing the ball back and forth 3 times. On the 3rd swing release the ball and notice what board it indented the paper. How many boards to the right of the 20th is this.

Now your ready to learn how to play the 10-10 or any other straight line.

Here's an example: assume you drift 3 boards to the right and release the ball 6 boards to the right of the inside of your left foot.

Then in order to play the 10-10 line, you must stand on the 19th board on the approach. 10+3(drift)=13 13+6(release)=19

Just remember that if you drift to the left it would be -3 therefore you must start on the 13th board. 10-3(drift)=7 7+6(release)=13

Good luck and i hope this helps in your alignment. If you would like me to write more instruction on angles, alignment ,ball weights, spare methods,etc respond to this article.


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