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#197425 - 05/07/17 02:22 PM Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games.
KevinS Offline
Bumper Bowler

Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 7
A/S/L: 54/M/LA
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.

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#197426 - 05/07/17 02:51 PM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: KevinS]
82Boat69 Offline
Touring Pro Contender

Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 662
A/S/L: 70/M/California
I'm glad you're on the mend.

When you drilled a 15 pounder for your left hand, did you have your pro find your PAP for your left hand before drilling?

Is there a reason you started with 15 rather than 12 or 13? In the beginning, spares will be more important that strikes. Less weight might give you 'a lot' more control, not to mention won't put as much strain on your left arm which isn't use to throwing 15 pounds around.

One final thought. Many injuries are the result of not warming up properly. Warming-up slowly will save muscles and joints. As we age, ligaments become less elastic and if they're required to stretch too quickly, you'll get micro-tears where they attach to the bone. Go slow.

#197427 - 05/07/17 06:45 PM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: 82Boat69]
KevinS Offline
Bumper Bowler

Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 7
A/S/L: 54/M/LA
@82Boat69 - Thanks, I'm hoping the surgery goes good and I can come back as stong as ever.

I've never had anyone find my PAP. Not RH and not LH.

I went with a 15 lb ball because I didn't give it much thought and they had a new one in my Pro Shop that was on sale. Hindsight being what it is, I probably coulda/shoulda went with a 14 or even a 13 lb ball. I seem to be getting good ball speed and rotation now, so I think I'll stay with the 15.

Someone tried to advise me to go with a lighter weight on the previous thread, but I didn't see that until after I got home from the Pro Shop.

Thanks for the "go slow" advice. After Tuesday I'm going to do that and take a month off or so. I don't want to mess up my left elbow as well. wink

#197428 - 05/07/17 08:57 PM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: KevinS]
82Boat69 Offline
Touring Pro Contender

Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 662
A/S/L: 70/M/California
The PWBA just finished bowling in the house where I bowl. I had an opportunity to Bowl right next to 'Team Singapore', Trish Johnson and Daria Pajak last Wednesday, before any official practice was authorized. They all started out the same way. Standing at the foul line when they deliver their first ball. Then a one step, then a couple and so on. It takes them about 30 minutes to really start throwing like they will in the tournament.

The last thing they want is to injure themselves before the tournament begins. Also, I'm surprised at how much speed and RPM's some of the younger members generate. Daria Pajak routinely throws 15.5 MPH measured at the pins, so she must be throwing 18 MPH out of her hand. She also generates as many RPM's as any man except maybe some two-handers or EJ Tackett.

I've been suffering a little elbow pain myself lately, so need to clean up my own act and begin warming up better.

#197430 - 05/08/17 10:26 AM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: KevinS]
W9JAB Offline
Action Bowler

Registered: 01/07/14
Posts: 272
A/S/L: 66/m/Il.
wow, thumbsup

Take it from someone who is ambidextrous, to switch hands bowling is no E-Z task.
I've tried and failed, but it wasn't a necessary try due to injury, also it was with my right hand ball that did not fit the left hand very good.
Did you know that you can't switch hands during tournament play? stop

Also if you are ambidextrous,you get a separate average for each hand?
L/T 48
Code Black

#197431 - 05/08/17 11:29 AM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: W9JAB]
82Boat69 Offline
Touring Pro Contender

Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 662
A/S/L: 70/M/California
Knew the rules. I have a friend who's bowled 300 with both hands and 800 with both hands. His delivery looks the same from both sides. He's right handed, but bowls left handed for the advantage in conditions. He's averaging over 220 lefty. I can barely do the simplest things in my left handed game. Zero repeatability :-)

#197436 - 05/09/17 10:34 AM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: KevinS]
SteveH Offline
Pro of the Year Contender

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 766
A/S/L: 62/M/Burlington VT
You need to have a sanctioned average for each hand, and in competition, you can only bowl righty or lefty, except in the PBA, where you can occasionally see someone like Chris Barnes bowling left to pick up a difficult spare.

I believe you can get an injury exemption from the USBC if you need one to switch hands.

We have a very good bowler that has two averages, on for each hand. He's great at both.
Current League average 178

High League game: 290
High League Series: 768
High Tournament Series 723
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Roto Grip Hustle Ink
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#197438 - 05/09/17 12:05 PM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: KevinS]
mmalsed Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 1381
A/S/L: 43/M/Riverside, CA
in an old sanctioned league, I injured my right elbow and petitioned the league to allow me to establish with my left. Since it still fit with the team entry average, they let me do so. That was during ABC days. Not sure how USBC would deal with it.
Avg: 206
Season High Gm: 279 / Lifetime: 290
Season High Ser: 762 / Lifetime: 762

16# IQ Tour Pearl/16# Crux/16# Marvel S/15#White Dot

"Gotta kick at the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight"

#197470 - 05/12/17 05:36 AM Re: Bowling Left Handed. First 39 games. [Re: KevinS]
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9780
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
Notify the House of the change. They have to report the change to the local USBC to set a new average. Report the scores with the other arm. A separate average is calculated as of that day.

So, a bowler who changes, has 2 sanctioned averages as their book average.

I bowl with one who bowls in Fall righty, and Summer lefty. It's just to keep him in practice. There is a diff book average for each hand for him.
LM - Black Diamond 15#
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