Rhythm and Harmony?
By Derek Petty
So, what is it that makes or breaks your game? Is it your shoes? Is it the lane condition? Is it the state? Is it the bowling center or maybe the hosting tournament? No matter what it is, you control your destiny every time you lace them up. With that in mind, what items MAKE your game excel.  These two things come to mind for me: good rhythm and a steady head.
You might ask yourself Rythmn? Yes, rythmn, or maybe you call it timing or tempo. The pros are great at it, the weekend warriors are good at it, and most league bowlers never think about it. Timing is everything. Yes, timing REALLY is everything when it comes to bowling. Whether it’s fast or slow, late or early, it needs to be the same on THAT given day of competition. Your body, your mental state, the lane condition, the temperature or whatever it may be, change daily, so finding that consistent timing and rhythm puts you in a place many others won’t get too. A constant rhythm allows you the ability to do the same thing, over and over and over, often resulting in quality shots. With all that I’ve just said, it’s not an easy task. Over the years I’ve worked hard at figuring out where to position my ball in my approach, how fast or slow to walk, how short or long my steps needed to be, and even how far to push the ball in my approach and all have helped me understand how to achieve late or early timing, and how to gain that “feel” you need for confidence in every shot.
People do not often think about their head and shoulders while bowling, unless of course they’re talking about shampoo (haha – funny). Seriously, most simply worry about getting to the foul line and throwing the ball in the direction of the pins. A key piece to all of this is a steady head and a solid shoulder position. Both are needed to keep the ball in line with your target and allow you to execute on that path. Most recently before my trip to the 2011 US OPEN in New Jersey, Stephen Hahn (www.bowl4money.com) and Gee Lopez noticed that I had gotten into the “house groove”. The coveted (as I described above) “throw it in that direction” and it will hit the pocket. We worked to get my body in control and head stable, and what a difference it made. We worked to get my shoulders in a solid open position to allow me to hook the ball and also a closed position to allow me to play down and in. This SIMPLE step, solid head and shoulders, allowed me to get back to seeing my ball reaction and provided increased consistency. I was shocked at how this had gotten away from me, but it made sense as to why I had felt like I was on a roller coaster every time I stepped on the lanes for competition. I can’t tell you how significant this has been at increasing my ability to know where my ball is going and how it is reacting. ¬†Following lane transition is a part of my game again, I don’t need to guess, because I can see it (nearly feel it when a shot creeps high or comes in light). My ball is now on the same trajectory, shot after shot.
So, while many things may go through my head before I pick up my ball to make a shot, recently, the last thing I think about is ‘feeling’ the shot I need to make and keeping my head and upper body solid. With these two things in control, my confidence is high and I am able to post my shots, providing an optimal scoring environment. I recommend you think about these things the next time you step on the lane and try to repeat them, EVERY shot.
Find your rythmn, solidify your head and shoulders, and Bowl to Win. See you on the lanes and stay tuned for my next blog entry.