The Next Level

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Blog , Zak Becker

My improved bowling has continued and I have brought my average up to 158, still have some hope to get it up to 165 for the season with a strong finish, but even if I don’t I know I have been bowling at that average or better in 2014. There’s always the chance that I could have an off night, and everyone goes through slumps of varying degree, but I feel like I’ve reached the “next level” and it’s time to refocus so that I can continue to improve and fix the holes in my game, consistency being the biggest issue. The two things that I attribute my improvement to are my vastly increased knowledge and understanding of the game and not worrying about the little things as much. I am by no means an expert, but when I started last year I was very focused on making sure I did everything the right way and I had some struggles with my form and the mental game. I’ve realized that a big part of the problem was I didn’t have enough experience with actually bowling competitively to be able to see or understand what I, or others, were doing so I was not good at taking that information and using it to help me improve. That increased knowledge and familiarity has also helped me bowl looser and not get too upset when I do struggle. However, with how things have been going the last few weeks I think it might be time to refocus on the little things, clean up my form and increase my consistency so I can continue this improvement.

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Despite the overall scores being my best, consistency has definitely been a problem the last few weeks!

I’m thinking this way because the last few weeks at league, pretty much since I had my best series ever at 565, I feel I have not bowled as well as I could, yet still managed to be above my average and in or near the 500′s. In my successful attempt to not over-think and analyze every part of my shot, I have become too sloppy inconsistency abounds. Now I need to find the harmony of being loose and relaxed, but also making sure I am focused enough to consistently execute my shots. I’m sure I’m not the first person to struggle with this balancing act.

The areas that need the most improvement are my timing and arm swing. If I can’t get those two things dialed in better than I have them now I will never be able to hit my mark consistently. I’ve been doing a good enough job of keeping the ball close to my mark and picking up spares so that my scores have been solid, but if it weren’t for a fair amount of crossover strikes and spare shooting more accurate than my strike ball I would probably be in trouble. While bowling with Tim for our ball review videos, which should be coming out shortly, he noticed I wasn’t keeping my arm tight enough to my body. As a bigger guy this has always been an issue with me, I think it was the first thing Steve mentioned at my first lesson 18 months ago, and although I am greatly improved from where I started, it can still be a problem. It likely became an issue again when I moved where I hold my ball over to my right side instead of being centered. It had helped initially, but with the ball flip I normally do I was pushing my arm out to far, and trying to limit that rotation did not feel natural. Tim suggested I stop using the rotation, and instead hold the ball tighter and lower on my body and push it out/up instead of rotating. The first time I tried it I put the ball directly into the gutter, but there was enough there for me to keep at it. The push forward helps my rhythm the same way the turn did while helping me to keep my swing plane straight and tight to  my body. So far I’ve bowled one night at league with the adjustment, with mixed results. I threw a 5-bagger in practice and had some of the best looking shots I’ve ever thrown, but the changes did throw off my timing and I was too focused on my form to properly keep up with the transition, in the end I was happy, even though it was my worst score in months, it probably helped my game in the long run more than any of the 500 series I had the weeks prior.

First night after the form adjustment, bowled much better than I scored and think it will help in the long run.

First night after the form adjustment, bowled much better than I scored and think it will help in the long run.

What area of your game have you needed to adjust most often?

Bowling season is winding down, but it will be going out with a bang for me! I still have 4 weeks of league, the state tournament, a lesson with Hank Boomershine, a tournament at Steve’s and nationals all in the next six weeks.

Keep reaching for glory!