A mental technique

Posted by: 10PinGaloot

A mental technique - 03/05/10 10:40 AM

Having spent the last 5 years working on the means to achieve varying amounts of hook, I decided this week to try a different approach. I had noticed that when watching other folks in various venues, I could tell by the time the ball reached the arrows whether it would be a strike or not. This was based on the rotation, speed, and path of the ball.

Conclusion: Subconsciously, my brain was able to extrapolate the path of the ball.

Hypothesis: My subconscious, with the wealth of knowledge from watching my own shots go down the lane, would be better at adjusting than my conscious.

Test: I would determine the path I wanted (including the break point), choose a place to stand, and throw the ball, aiming at the break point. After the shot, I would simply tell myself "more hook", "less hook", "hook sooner or later", "broke at 8, I want it to break at 6", etc. I would not say "throw it faster", "change the release", "move left or right", "give it more revs", etc. In other words, I would concentrate on the correction in path, not the correction in style.

Results: Significantly more consistency. I relented and allowed myself to consciously determine when to move left or right. I also went back to aiming at either the arrows or a specific single pin or pin pair (e.g. 6, 10, 6-10, 3-6 etc) on the second day. I had two good days, and will continue this test next week. I also discovered that I have two releases that can vary the axis rotation enough that if I throw straight down the first arrow, I can make the ball go in either gutter or hit any pin in between. So those two release will become my "low rev" and "high rev" releases. (bringing my total usable releases down to 7, the other 5 being "specialty" releases such as high tilt)....

I couldn't have done this 5 years ago, since I didn't have a subconscious history. Also, this is based on throwing on a typical house shot pattern, which helps in maintaining some consistency from week to week in the shape of the balll's path.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the results and plan to continue this method.

Has anyone else tried this? It might be considered an application of the "don't overthink it" or "get out of the ball's way" admonition.
Posted by: JackZ

Re: A mental technique - 03/05/10 12:01 PM

I analyze after the shot. If it was what I want I leave it alone. If not, I ask myself...what did I do. Whatever the answer is, like...came up high...move 2 to 1 inside...or hit 6 at the breakpoint....instead of 12,aim farther out to 11 and hit 4. I consciously look at the shot. I wish it was on automatic! I firmly believe that that's what the pros do. they know their game so well they get on auto-pilot. I think you're bowling a lot more than I am...which is the secret to a lot of the pros success. Earl bowled at least 100 games a week of practice on top of his grind on the tour.
Posted by: Joe Bowler

Re: A mental technique - 03/05/10 12:32 PM

From having watched thousands of balls rolled and hitting the pins, I know what you mean about subconsciously being able to extrapolate the path of the ball, and the likelihood it will strike.

After watching a bowler roll a few balls, I can usually fairly well estimate their average. And, on a given day, after rolling a few balls myself, I can usually get a good idea of my own scoring potential for that day.

That said, my approach to getting lined up is more about having a methodical system. Start here, release there, hit that mark. What happened? Move here, or move there, change balls, releases, etc. While other may have success with an intuitive approach, in my mind, it is more like a giant flowchart with decision boxes at various junctures.