I’m getting closer! Oh, so much closer!

This week has seen a lot of bowling taking place, most of it better than worse. Last night was another validation that the work I’m putting in is paying off, but that there is still a lot of room to improve and grow. I had another consistent and solid night, shooting a 580 series (201, 184, & 195), it was another series over average and having a better feel for what the lanes were doing had me leaving the lanes with my head up. Leaving 13 single pins spare opportunities and only converting 7 of them reminded me I still have some work to do!

I’m sure you’re wondering what pins I missed so here you go; 2 (x2), 7, 8, 10 (x2). No excuses, I just didn’t execute! Up to this point, I have been throwing a hook at any pin on the left and straight at any pin to the right. Well last night I hooked a little too much, missing all of the pins on the left side, to the left. As for the 10 pins, I did convert 4 of them, but those other 2 were just poorly thrown balls that I knew I had missed out of the gate.  One thing I did take out of the misses, I need to commit to a style of spare shooting. Throwing some straight and others with a hook seems to throw me off mentally. I believe that unless it is a 10 pin, I can hook it at the pin and that doesn’t always work. Another realization that came from the misses, I need a spare ball!! I can safely say that the next addition to my arsenal will be a spare ball, now the debating of what ball starts!

***If you have any suggestions on a spare ball or tips that have worked for you on shooting spares, post them in the remarks or email me at matt@above180.com, you’d be surprised how many people you could help out by sharing different ideas!***

One other thing of note I took away from last night, I have to trust my instincts on a ball switch. Last night I made a ball change late in the 3rd game (went from my Roto Grip to my Brunswick), that lead to a spare followed by a 4-bagger. I could have (or should have) switched a few frames earlier but I was convinced I would return to striking with the Roto Grip. I didn’t! Maybe switching earlier wouldn’t have made a difference, but maybe it would have. Unfortunately I didn’t give myself the option of finding out. Have to get better about noticing when it is time to make the switch and trust myself that it is the correct move! I know that will come in time!!

The night was a success though on the team side of things, getting the 4-0 sweep over the 6th placed team (we were 8th to start the night) was a major confidence boost for the team. Over the past 2 weeks we’ve beaten the 1st and 6th placed teams by a score of 6.5 to 1.5, putting ourselves in position for a late season run! Another positive for me was closing out the 10th frame in all three games, which included striking out games 2 and 3. In both of those games an open frame or only a spare and the games could have been closer or lost, so it was nice getting the strikes when I needed them!

Here is the weekly stats update before I dive into city tournament:

  • Average at the beginning of the night: 181.51
  • Average at the end of the night: 182.00
  • Spare conversion percentage on the night: 56.2% (9/16) left 1 split (0/1)
  • Single pin spare conversion percentage on the night: 53.8% (7/13)
  • Strike percentage on the night: 51.4% (18)

As I mentioned previously, this past weekend I participated in the local city tournament and let me tell you what, I had a blast!! Was a lot of fun from start to finish! Saturday was the team competition at the center I usually bowl at, the Rose Bowl, and I performed pretty well. I was 3rdon my team (5 man teams) witha 581 series (167, 204, & 210) but I took more out of the team competition than just how I bowled. There were a lot of very good bowlers both on my team and around us on Saturday which lead me to feel a little like I didn’t belong, but I left Saturday feeling better about myself. I’m not as good as some of the top level guys yet, but where I am now and where I’m trying to be isn’t the huge gap I think it is sometimes. I have some work to do for sure, but I know I can get to that next level by putting in the work! (A little coaching wouldn’t hurt either)

Sunday was the singles and double competition which took place at the other bowling center in town. I’ve only bowled at the other center one other time so my comfort level wasn’t very good early and it showed with me bowling a 144 first game. I settled down and while the scores weren’t great, it was more due to a lack of strikes than bad bowling. Only left maybe 12 opens on the day (4 in the first game alone) but not being able to string together strikes cost me higher scores. In singles I finished up with a 513 series (144, 184, & 185) and in doubles I had a 520 series (161, 175, & 184). On the weekend I had a total pin fall of 1614 (179.33 avg.) which won’t put me in the money but was close enough to my average to keep me thinking positive!

The main thing I took from city tournament, bowling is fun!! I’ve always known that but sometimes when you’re on a mission to improve, like I am currently, you can lose track that this is still a game. It can be a very frustrating game, but it is still only a game. I put away my score tracking sheets and just bowled and had a blast doing it! I was back to keeping track of everything on Wednesday but for the tournament, I just took it all in and enjoyed myself! It really put me back in a positive state of thinking going forward!!

A few fast mentions before signing off on this marathon article (I did warn you about it last week), wanted to congratulate on of my twitter followers, Alan (@bowlwest73) on his first career 300 game!! For those that don’t follow Alan, do yourself a favor and change that now. I’ve learned a ton from Alan and I’m sure you can too! (He isn’t too bad either, sporting a 219 avg.). Another congrats goes out to Tim (@guttertoglory) for his career high series of 636! If you haven’t read Tim’s articles at Gutter to Glory, add that in your favorites right now, you won’t be sorry! If you or someone you know has recently set a personal best, comment below or message me and maybe it will be included in a future article!

The scores and confidence continue to rise; we will see what next week brings! Until next time… Keep on rolling!

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2 Comments

  1. Alan Westendorf says:

    Thanks for the plug Matt. I am glad I am able to share my knowledge with you. As for my suggestion on a spare ball, any polyester ball with a pancake weight block designed to go straight will do. Storm Ice, Brunswick Target Zone, Ebonite Maxim, Anything you can get out of straight up the back. And that is a big key as well. Learning to vary your release on your spare shots to throw the ball straight and not rotate your hand and put spin on the ball. Polyester helps reduce the effect of the spin, but if you can truly learn to come out of the ball flat, you can then throw any ball at a spare and get it to go straight (ala Norm Duke). But that takes a lot of practice.

    Glad to hear you had a great time at your city tournament. I did in mine as well. It is always interesting to get to see other bowlers that you don’t normally bowl with as well as get to bowl in different centers. A goal of my for next year is to bowl 2 leagues in 2 different centers. Variation can only make you better. Bowling on the same lanes week after week can lead to complacency.

    Keep up the progress. You are moving in the right direction for sure.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, I really appreciate it! Awesome that you’re rolling so well, great to see hard work pay off. For spare shooting, there are a couple ways to go about it, as you’ve touched on (and Alan as well). If you want to deliver the ball just one way, I’d recommend getting a spare ball so that you can throw your strike/hook shot at it. I think that’d simplify things for you. If you’re willing to work on hand positions, definitely do what Alan suggested and look up Norm’s 10-pin shooting technique (turning your thumb to 1 o’clock)… that even helped McGutters pick up his 7-pins (lefty-style). But, do you want to mess with hand position if you’re feeling like spare shooting is messing with you as is? Ya know…

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