PBA Fall Swing

Posted by Ronald Hickland on


Guest Writer Brian Gunn

This past week, I had the chance to bowl in the PBA Tour's Fall Swing in Allen Park, MI.  I must say, HARD was not the word!!  Impossible was a little more accurate.  The patterns were very challenging. If your game wasn't solid, they showed every mistake.
Being on staff with Brunswick, I had the opportunity to go to the Brunswick plant in Muskegon, MI and work out for a day prior to the event.  It was a great experience to work and get an idea of what the patterns may play like.  While we practiced at Brunswick, there were a few key things we worked on:
  • Targeting
  • Spare shooting
  • Mental Game
  • Paying attention to the lane condition
  • Matching the ball to the lane condition

As a coach, these are the same things I teach my players to focus on.  One of the things that makes the PBA Fall Swing so challenging is not knowing what pattern we would bowl on prior to the event.  Focusing on the basics, like spare shooting and mental game helps to reduce the variables which can sabotage us during an event.

There were 3 different patterns to play on:
  • Wolf
    • 32 feet
  • Bear
    • 40 feet
  • Badger
    • 52 feet

Each day consisted of 6 games on the given pattern.  Day 1 was the 32 foot Wolf pattern.  I have always struggled a little on this pattern.  However, I went in with a positive attitude ready to put my practice to use and do some work.  My style of play doesn't really match up to this pattern very well so I knew I would need to use a lot of different hand positions and adjust my touch on the ball. I was also working with a footing issue so it was a hard day for me.  Tom Daugherty of Riverview, FL had a good day on the pattern.  He won all 4 rounds of the stepladder finals to earn his second career PBA title and $10,000 prize.

Years of bowling and being on staff with Creating the Difference has taught me to remain positive.  Going into day 2, I knew I had to keep my mind right. The 40 ft PBA Bear Pattern played very flat.  My spare game failed me the first 3 games.  I could have let that mess up the rest of the day but I didn't.  Because I stayed positive, I managed to fight hard the back 3 games and stay positive going into day 3.  EJ Tackett was crowned the winner on the Bear Pattern after winning the final 2 rounds of the stepladder finals.

The Badger pattern was my best look at 52 feet of oil.  Because my ball speed is naturally slow, I was able to stay in play. I finished plus 85 on this pattern which was better than my other finishes by far.  In the end, Sean Rash came away with the title and $10,000 after winning 2 games in the stepladder finals.

In any experience, the most important thing is what you can take away from the it.  Although a PBA title and prize check would have been great, I was able to take away some key learning points that will help me to be more prepared for next time.

  • Spare shooting is key
  • Get comfortable with how you are playing the lane
  • Know where to play the lane
  • Keep your mind right
I know I will be better prepared for my next event both mentally and physically.

1 comment

  • You’re a great player, and a great coach. I wish I lived a little bit closer to get some of that hands on training.!! Never give up on the great things that you do.

    Tony Hines on

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