This is a follow up to my original post: Injured- Going to try to bowl left handed
As an update, I have surgery scheduled for May 22 to repair a torn LUCL (Ligament) in my right elbow. Full recovery is expected to take at least 6 months after that, so Iím looking at Thanksgiving timeframe or after before I can go back to bowling with my RH.
In addition to all the advice you guys gave me in my original thread, there were a few things I wanted to fix and if there ever is a good time for it, this seemed to be it: (1) Replace my 9-step/shuffle approach with a 4-step delivery. Iíve wanted to do this for years, but never found the right time. And (2) I needed to fix a flawed swing. My elbow was probably bent around 90-degrees at the top of my backswing. This probably took some of my ball speed away, but more importantly, considering the stain I put on my arm at release, this might have been a major cause to my elbow injury.
As mentioned before, I'm 54 years old, I bought a new 15 lb ball and had it drilled for my left hand. It's a mid-performance ball, drilled for finger-tip, and I had it drilled straight up/no side weight. My first three LH games, I think I did about as (bad) as expected; 73, 100 and 92 for an 88 Avg. Four of my first six balls went straight into the gutter. I probably had 18-20 gutters total. Actually, those scores could have been worse. I had a cheesy double in both the first and third games. Of course this was just my first few games and I really wasn't expecting to throw a whole lot better than that.
I used my new 4-step approach and was a bit surprised that I really didn't have a terrible time remembering which foot to start out on. My trick: Set up at the second row of dots on the approach, rest the ball near my left knee, and kind of tap/bump the ball with my left knee as I began to start my first step. I also kept my elbow straight in my back swing (or at least I think I did). And I was surprised that I was throwing my ball about 1 mph faster LH than I used to RH.
Fast forward to today. Between practice and league, Iíve bowled 39 games in 7 weeks. For the first 26 games I was averaging around 90-92, but I think I've turned a bit of a corner. Over the last three weeks Iíve been averaging around 120. And last week I averaged 137 for the night. I donít think this is a fluke as much as I am getting more comfortable throwing from the left side. I's all coming together, the approach, the swing and the release. When released correctly, I have nice rotation and a nice backend hook. When I hit the pocket, it's a beautiful thing. Iím still lacking consistency though. I still throw quite a few light in the pocket, as well as a the occasional Brooklyns. Over the past 2 weeks, I have fewer ďOh Crap!Ē moments--throwing gutter balls or wash-outs and now leaving some easier spares.
With this being said, bowling a 137 average is still a ways from my RH average in the mid-190s, but I'm seeing the improvement. With some more practice, I can see myself bowling in the 150s to start the league next fall. Hereís some issues Iíve had to overcome and lessons learned over the course of my first 39 games: (1) I found it was a good time to fix a flawed approach and/or backswing, which I plan to continue when I eventually go back to throwing RH. (2) Take your spare ball and swap the finger inserts to fit your opposing hand. It worked out great for me. (3) On the last step of your approach, make sure to get low and lead with your right shoulder. I was approaching the foul line too square and too high/stiff. This caused me to drop my shoulder and I was constantly missing my mark and head straight for one gutter or the other. (4) The more practice you can have, the more comfortable you will be. Thereís a lot going on with the new approach, swing and release. The more you can commit to muscle memory, the less you have to think about your shot. (5) On the other hand (notice the PUN?) bowling 39 LH games within 60 days has made my left arm tired. (6) Stay with it. I wasnít seeing a lot of improvement over my first 6-7 sessions, but things seemed to be starting to click.
I'll bowl our end-of-league sweepers night this Tuesday, but after that, I'm going to take a month or so off to rest up. I'll be in a splint after surgery for a week or so, anyway. I'll take the summer league off, but will try to get some practice in and I'll see about starting the league in the fall.
Overall so far, I'm glad I gave this a try. I hope this helps the next guy (or gal) that contemplates bowling from the other side. Feel free to comment. I'm not there yet but I plan to add to this thread as I continue.