I've been working with a coach for a few months now, and over the last few weeks, my swing has changed more than the entire year before. We've been working backwards, solving one problem at a time. Last week I was in a state of flux, taking my arm out of the swing. This week, something clicked in practice, and I'm hitting my mark much more consistently. It's more than accuracy. accuracy is a fickle beast, if there's a lot of places for your swing to go wrong. It's simplification and efficiency. I had more places to screw up my swing. the more I simplify, the more consistent I get.
Last week, I adjusted my swing, but it felt wrong. Forced, somehow. Didn't matter: If my coach tells me to shotput the ball 30 feet down the lane (he didn't), then by George, that's what I'm going to do. However, after a week of practice, it started coming naturally. I fixed a handful of things last week. It's the most progress I've ever made all at once.
I'm letting go at the ankle, instead of 30 degrees past it - so I've reduced the room to introduce error significantly. My non-muscled backswing is as completely limp as I can manage, and is staying in a straight pendulum groove. This means the ball goes where I look. And it goes straight forward because the ball is going straight back. This makes the hook more predictable. I'm aiming now by lining up facing my breakpoint target, rather than by trying to throw the ball to a point in front of me. This has reduced arm wear to almost nothing, and has increased my power and revs.
No Arm + release at the ankle = more consistency, more power, more revs, more accuracy.
Time after time, the less I do, the better I get. Evidently, the ball knows what it's doing - I'M the one that sucks. If I could find a way to roll the ball without touching it or picking it up or anything, I'd carry a 300 average. Of course, it's not so simple as just 'doing less'. You have to cut the fat, and leave the meat. And every refinement reveals new underlying problems.
Because my consistency is so much better having reduced these sources of 'off the hand' wild shots, my ability to hit specific parts of the lane - and to adjust - has gone up monumentally. Now when I miss it's mostly because I guessed wrong when I aimed.
All of it clicked together somehow this Wednesday. I was bowling above my average, even with adjusting to a much stronger hooking new ball that had too loose of a thumbhole, and a pound heavier than I'm used to.
I guess it sounds stupid to say it, but it's not what I'm seeing on the scoreboard that I'm excited about. It's what I'm seeing on the lane. My up the 3 board easy drift to the pocket move is more solid than ever, because I'm not pulling left or right as much anymore. But that was the only play I had. Now that I can trust my throw, I can stand way to the left, throw it at the 10 pin (or even further right) and recover. I now have two strike balls: straight up the right, and all the way left. Now all I have to do learn how to throw the stuff in the middle.
And if I don't hit the pocket, I hit the headpin dead on. This sounds awful - and it is - but the important thing here is that I'm hitting the headpin squarely, because my margin of error is tightening. All those Brooklyn were luck of the draw deals
anyway. I keep tightening that margin of error, and nailing my first 200 starts to seem possible.
It's just a matter of time.
My arch nemesis: Footwork.