By Ali Strader
Whether you're bowling in a competitive league or a fun league, high scores always make you feel better. "High scores" is a relative term. For me, shooting 150 makes me content. To more experienced bowlers, that's not a good score at all. I always laugh when a good bowler strikes and then walks away with a disappointed face because the strike wasn't good enough. For me, a pretty strike counts the same as an ugly one. From my short experience in bowling, I would like to share a few of my keys to improving your bowling game.
This seems like the simplest of tasks, but it's probably the most important. If you're not having fun, you will lose interest. Losing interest will cause you to quit working towards higher scores. So if you're not having fun bowling, maybe consider switching to a fun league for a season to rekindle your enjoyment of the sport. It could be even more simple, go cosmic bowling for a night or bowl somewhere like Main Event or Dave & Busters to help remember what it's like to truly enjoy the sport.
I got into a slump last season. I wasn't enjoying league and needed a change. About the same time, we coordinated a bowling event with a local company. We brought in a couple of PBA bowlers and had a blast watching them throw trick shots and mess around on the lanes. After this, I finished out the rest of the season strong. Sometimes we just need to remember why we love what we do.
Get a Spare Ball
You're not going to strike every shot. If you did, everyone would shoot 900 all the time and no one would have any fun. Spare conversion is where you can make a difference in your scores. Having a spare ball that is made to go straight will help you in picking up single pin spares. You can pick up a spare ball at pretty much any pro shop for not very much money. The reason why this is key is because throwing the ball straight at your spares takes the lane condition out of play. If you hook the ball at a corner pin in game 1, it may not react the same as it will in game 3. This is because the lane condition changes throughout the set. On the other hand, if you're throwing a ball that doesn't absorb oil and it is made to go straight, it won't matter if the lanes are flooded or burned up. It's going to do what it is intended to do. Then the only thing that comes into play is whether or not you're lined up right to hit that pin.
Check out the USBC Coaching Programs
The Level I coaching program is available for free on the USBC website. You only have to pay if you want to take the test or become a registered volunteer and/or registered coach. Initially, I only took the class because we require all of our employees to be registered coaches. However, as a new bowler, I quickly found value in the course. There is some great information about how to convert spares. Which as you just read, is a key to higher scores. To a more experienced bowler, the Level I course probably isn't going to be useful for improving your game. However, if you're one of those players who likes to give tips to your fellow bowlers, it may be worth it to review the course and make sure you're giving accurate tips. For a beginning bowler, it's definitely worth a read to help you line up better. You can view the course at this link: http://usbcongress.http.internapcdn.net/usbcongress/elearning/lessons/LevelITestV2/presentation_html5.html?lms=1
If you really want to get better at bowling, you need to hit the lanes more than a few games a week during league. Check out specials your local centers are running. Many centers offer deals for league bowlers to practice. You may also look for practice leagues. We have sponsored multiple leagues which are essentially open bowling with our trained staff on hand to offer coaching. Kids Bowl Free is also a great program which offers kids 2 free games of bowling each day. You can purchase a family pass with it and designate up to 4 adults to also bowl 2 games per day as long as they are with a registered kid.
It's important to remember when you're practicing that you're working on your game and not your score. If you're worried about your score during practice, you're not doing it right. Pick a specific item to work on: spare shooting, timing, release, targeting, etc. Work on just that item because repetition is the key to mastery.
These are 4 things that have been helpful to my game. Hopefully you will find the same success in your game. Do you have more ideas that have helped you improve your game? We would love to hear them. Drop them in the comments down below. #Education is #CreatingtheDifference