The pro watched me for a few frames last night and gave me some pointers.
1)Aim with thumb. I need to point my thumb at my target. For whatever reason, I was trying to do some fancy stuff with my hand to help my release. My thumb was pointed well to the inside. This issue wasn't causing me to push the ball, but it probably caused other inconsistencies. By the way, the fancy stuff wasn't helping my release at all, so I was much obliged.
2)Square up. He said I need to square up my shoulders in my stance. I'm not sure this is really necessary, though. I feel comfortable with my shoulders open. RichL, you mentioned Chris Barnes has open shoulders on occasion. Is it ok to have my shoulders open in my stance?
3)Chicken wing. Occasionally I'll start to turn my hand early in my swing causing me to rip at the ball to catch up - almost like a chicken wing type of thing. Ultimately, this is what was causing me to push the ball. I know that, because when he pointed out to me, I recognized how it felt differently and it brought up embarrassing visions of gutter balls. It's not something that I do on every roll, so the fact that I can identify it now, based solely on how my swing/release feels, will allow my to correct it. This is what I focused on for the rest of practice, and I got to the point by my last two games where I didn't throw one gutter ball.
4)Mental issues. I just need to loosen up and swing at my target. He said I look a little tight, like I have like a thousand things going through my mind. I corrected him, "Actually, I only have one thing on my mind: don't roll it in the gutter." lol. He made his point, though. I mean, I'm out here to have fun, I don't need to be bowling like I have a stick up my (explicit).
Although he didn't mention it, I'm almost positive I have a timing issue, also - early timing. I kind of have fast feet. He didn't mention this to me - not that he didn't notice - probably because there were other things more important for me to work on. This is an issue that can be ironed out later, after I correct more pressing concerns.
But, 3 things I didn't hear him say: free up my swing, stop lofting the ball, don't spin the ball. These are the tips he gave me last time, areas which I've been working on for the last 3 weeks. It's always going to be a work in progress, I know, and all I can really do is work on certain areas at a time. It's good to know I'm improving on what I've been focusing on.
I apologize wholeheartedly for the long winded post. I tried to make it interesting. If you made it this far, you probably read the whole thing, and I thank you.
"If you will it, dude, it is no dream"