CoachJim encouraged me to write a little something about my experiences here at the WMC 2008 in Bangkok.
We came here only one day before the official practice, which was quite a problem because of jet lag - and on top of that, we had to get up at 6am local time to catch the bus to the bowling center (that meant I had to get up at 1am my normal time).
The first thing that caused problems was the approach. Usually on AMF lanes, the lighter colored boards are on 9,10,11 and 19,20,21 etc... but here, the boards on the lanes were the same as at home, but on the approach, they were offset ... on each lane differently. This forced me to start aligning on the arrows, which I'm not used to - at home I usually line up on the light-dark board pattern, which I've gotten to know by heart.
Then we noticed that the approach was offset by 1/2 or 3/4 boards on some lanes. The dots befure the foul line were offset by 1/2 board compared to the arrows on the lane. Not only that, it appeared as if the lanes were at an angle to the approach boards (I took a photo and will check if this was just an optical illusion or not).
I throw my spare ball perfectly straight, but I kept missing the ten pin to the right (but just barely). I tried to adjust by moving one board to the right, but it didn't help. I still don't know if it was the approach-lane-angle thing or if it was simply me. My spare conversion percentage really was the cause of my low scores (166 average over the whole championship).
I'm not really dissapointed but I am amazed at how unconcentrated I was. There was maybe one single shot I executed as I should.
These are the things I figured out here:
- you don't need to have perfect form and Execution
to be have great results (there were A LOT of bowlers with less than perfect swings here - including the americans).
- you can become a champion by having a really good spare game. The conditions here were extremely tough. People who basically made every spare, were the ones who came up on top.
- even though a pattern is meant to be played in a certain area, your strategy could be to play in a totally different area: the long pattern here was supposed to be played out to 8 or 9 board and a lot of people played it like that - moving left every couple of shots. But this caused the middle part of the lane to be burnt completely and the lane actually emphasized every error you made instead of fixing it. On the last day of the singles competition, I was acting as coach to two of our team members. After trying every possible line in the middle of the lane, out to 9-10 board (and getting washouts, splits, brooklyns) I finally said to my team members that they should move right and just play up 7 board. What was incredible is that they actually had some area there. So, even though the pattern itself was not as forgiving around the 7 board as it was left of that, when the oil broke down, the 7, 6 boards were much more forgiving than the lines left of that.
Anyway, I learned A LOT. My plan used to be, to try to make my Execution
text-book perfect, but now I plan on practicing totally different things. I know feel that you just need to have good timing and close to perfect Execution
. Once you achieve that, there's no sense in making everything perfect - it will not enhance your score. When I come back home, I'm gonna practice only looking at my target and watching the ball go down the lane, so I'll be able to tell where the ball went for each and every shot (so far, I have only been able to do that, when I really really concentrated). Beside that, I will take a few weeks to practice spares only. Keeping track of spare statistics is A MUST.
Despite the bad results, it was a great experience. I got to know Walter Ray (he even says hi everytime we see each other) and Bill Hoffman (we were drinking with him at the hotel lounge yesterday and he told us a lot about how to develop the sport in our country). Beside these two, I also saw the whole team usa, Mika Koivuniemi, Patrick Healy (he was coaching team Kuwait), Tim Mack (coaching Sweden) and Shannon O'Keefe (she's a fox :)). So even seeing these guys was worth every penny I had to spend on the plane ticket.
I have slow-motion release videos of Chris Barnes, Walter Ray, Mika, Tommy Jones and Osku Palermaa. I will post them as soon as I come back home.
I also measured some of the guys' rev rates - Chris and Mika were throwing at around 400rpm, Walter Ray at around 260rpm.
This is all I can think of now...
Once again, thanks to everyone on this forum. I am here in Bangkok because of all the people who answer questions here as well as the people who post them. I have learned A LOT from the posts here, most notably the posts about grip and completely relaxing your hand and arm. I suggest everyone to trust the advice given here and try it. Stop making up excuses for not trying to change your grip and start being fair to yourself and try to really not grip the ball. Don't be afraid to drop the ball in the backswing - this is the only way you will know your grip is or is not ok.
ok, enough for now. if anyone has any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.