Gutter to Glory A Roto Grip Sponsored Blog Sat, 10 May 2014 19:38:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A New Approach Sat, 10 May 2014 19:35:56 +0000 The end of my league season was fairly uneventful. I was hoping to be able to continue my hot streak and bring my average up into the 160′s, but I plateau’d and finished with a 158 average. After having seven 500 series, out of ten, from December to early March I only had two 500 series the last seven weeks. I didn’t completely collapse, the worst nights still matched last years average and were in the 430′s, but as I had alluded to before, I needed to refocus on my form and bowl consistently, without over-thinking, which was my biggest problem last year.

I learned a lot the last few weeks, not the best timing with league wrapping up last week, but it will make nationals pretty interesting and with some work over the summer I could be a brand new bowler come next September, especially after my lesson with Hank Boomershine from Storm up at Steve’s a couple weeks ago. We worked through my form and delivery from start to finish and made a lot of changes, here’s what we worked on.

Start position: The first thing Hank did was have me move my right foot further back in my starting stance. I usually had it an inch or so further back than my left foot, but, I now have my right toe even with my left heel. We wanted to do that to allow me to open my hips more, which helps me keep my arm tighter to my body and not swing the ball around my back and/or push it to the left. I also moved the ball a little more to the right and lift it up higher, just barely touching it to my right shoulder. I also focus more on locking my elbow in tight to my side to keep my arm swing straight.

Approach: We made some significant changes to my approach, I had been leaning over too 10151345_10152083278194157_7361950895323477690_nmuch and Hank wants me to keep my chin up and shoulders back and focus on swinging my arms. I also need to let my arm fully extend, I was trying to make sure to keep my arm and hand behind the ball, but had been bending at the elbow to do so. I need to keep the weight of the ball on my index finger and keep my hand inside of the ball, but need to do so with a follow extended elbow. This has been a tougher adjustment, but when I pull it off the results are there.

Release: The biggest change to my release, and something I would have never considered on my own, is keeping my trail leg on the ground. This relates back to keeping my shoulders back and chin up and my approach, when I pick up my trail leg too much I lean forward which throws off my timing and the rest of my form. I also need to keep my palm behind the ball and then turn my fingers from the inside of the ball to the outside on my release, but not over turn it and spin the ball, but rather roll it and get true revs instead of spin.

With so many adjustments it’s still a work in progress at this point, but when I am able to put it all together it’s definitely the best my shot has looked, ever. Should be an interesting few series at the stadium in Reno!

Keep reaching for glory!




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The Next Level Mon, 24 Mar 2014 23:11:41 +0000 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!

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Bowling Under Pressure by Steve Richter Tue, 04 Mar 2014 16:27:11 +0000 I might be the most perfect guest writer for this month’s Gutter to Glory article because I might be one of the worst ones at it in application—I see it, understand it, but can’t escape from the demons of it.

What is Pressure Bowling?

It’s my feeling that bowling under pressure is largely self-imposed.  This isn’t always the case but is certainly true most of the time, from my experience.  I tell you that admittedly, from the perspective of an over-thinker.  So, clearly it’s me and the expectations I set for myself.

Steve Richter measuring Matt's old bowling ball

Steve doing his day job.

Time and time again, I find myself sort of paralyzed with the need to perform flawlessly in order to be successful.  Those times, I can’t get out of my own way, even when a half-hearted effort would do.

There are other times where I make great shots when the outcome is meaningless to me… and yet the ball flows off my hand as if under remote control.

The action of rolling a ball and the objective of knocking 10 pins down is the same—then why the disparity in thought processes?  It must be the way I’m “wired,” when no other logical explanations seems to make sense.

That’s important to know and understand, because once you know the source of your pressure, you can deal with it.

Why is there pressure?

Sometimes “pressure” can show itself when you haven’t been in a certain situation before, so your mind doesn’t know how to handle it.  It doesn’t want you to fail because “it might be the only time I get here”.

There is no better example of this than my nine year-old, who recently rolled his first six-bagger to end a 244 game—his highest ever by a LOT.  The heavy breathing started after the fourth strike because he had never been there before.  He didn’t want the streak to end.

Other times, pressure can be due to the anxiety of failure or not letting anyone down, when success is expected of you.  That may be the harder one to deal with because you can seem like you are chasing a target that you cannot hit and, even if you do, it will never be good enough.

For example, early in his career, Chris Barnes was expected to win and many times did not.  People labeled him a “choker” and said he “couldn’t win the big one”.  The internet chatter was ridiculously harsh.  In my eyes, he is a great example of the expectations of others exceeding the initial results he had achieved.  Still… there are a million bowlers in this country that would gladly trade spots with him.

Steve as a superhero, with other superhero friends.

Steve as a superhero, with other superhero friends.

Speaking from experience, once those thoughts and doubts start to creep into your head, it acts like a snowball rolling down hill.  And, sometimes it can’t be stopped.  It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  However, getting a win or making a clutch shot in a situation where you need it badly can easily reverse the direction of your outcomes.  As the late Dick Weber said “winning never get’s old.

Back to the previous example, can you name the last time that same Chris Barnes lost on TV?  I know I can’t.

I often joke that I’m the worst player on one of the best teams in the country, featuring USBC HoF member Jeff Richgels, 5-time PBA Champion Marc McDowell, supreme shot maker Mike Shady and the ultimate clutch performer, Gail Myers, Jr.  By default, anxiety gets the best of me; feeling that I need to continue prove my position on the team, despite what teammate Jeff Richgels says is a potential Hall of Fame resume.

Certainly my teammates don’t actively—or even passively—make me feel that way at all.  Again, it must be internal to me.

What to do??

So, if you find yourself struggling to handle pressure situations, it might do you good to do some self-examination and figure out which type of pressure you’re dealing with.

For those that struggle with never having been in a particular spot before, my advice is to keep bowling and be aggressive toward that goal.  There is no defense in bowling and there is no shortcut to working hard to get what you want.  Plow On!

For those that deal with pressure proving their worth, or if you find you “lock up” in key situations, I found a great resource that helped me.  Rhino Page’s Quiet Mind video is an excellent resource for refocusing the mind and allowing your muscle memory to just let the ball go.  There is real science behind the drills and, as excruciatingly long as the doctor takes to explain things, it is worth it.  You just have to bear with it to understand why the drills work.

You can read more about the video here or watch a small intro to the video from my personal coach here.  And, here is Rhino Page talking about the program in this video.

I can’t say that it will work for everyone and you will need to watch it a few times to see what drills work for your game, but it’s a worthy investment.  I’ve even used the drills with some of the students I’m coaching to help them try to get out of their own way, to allow the success to come to them.  The results have been fantastic.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that pressure situations feel less intrusive when you’re able to “bowl like you’ve been there before.”  That takes PRACTICE and creating the right muscle memory.  We outlined a plan for you in our blog about Making Practice Matter from a few months ago.  Remember, the difference between good and bad breaks are the result of countless hours of dedicated practice and the best shot-makers, over time, get the best “breaks.”

It’s not luck, its hard work.


If you’re in Wisconsin, you should work with Steve… click that ELITE logo to the right to get a hold of him.  He’s awesome, for real.  —TIM

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Slow and Steady Sat, 15 Feb 2014 21:04:33 +0000 It’s been a solid few weeks for me at league as I have bowled my best game and series so far this season and I continue to Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 12.30.55 PMsteadily increase my average. The main difference has been increased consistency, I’m rarely more than 10 pins below my average, and commitment to executing proper form. Having one really bad game had been a big problem of mine, it’s amazing what avoiding sub-140 games can do to your average. My spare game has continued to improve, and although I haven’t had any perfectly clean games I’ve been close and am averaging over 7 marks per game. My average has been slowly creeping up from the mid 140′s and is currently at 157.6, I might just make my initial goal of averaging 165 on the season!

Perhaps the most promising thing is that there is still plenty of room for improvement. I still have a couple of frames each night where I just completely mess something up, and I have been struggling with pushing the ball left too often. I can get too fast with my feet and when I get out of rhythm I also tend to take my eyes off of my mark.  I’ve figured out what I need to focus on to take another step forward, keeping a steady rhythm on my approach and extending through my mark, now it’s just time to execute it every time. Easier said than done, but I think I’m up for it!

A couple weeks ago I had my best game of the season and second best ever, 225. I didn’t bowl poorly the other two games, 1488866_585088728242626_14121090_nbut I did wish I would have done a little more with that 225, which would have been even higher if I hadn’t missed a 6-pin to the right, my only open for the game. I had only topped 550 once and it felt like I had missed an opportunity to have my best series. I was throwing the Totally Defiant and failed to stay ahead of the transition at the beginning of game three. I had closed out the second game with a 4-bagger and hesitated to move enough. I was still pretty close, but instead of strikes I had spares and splits along with a 10-pin I failed to pick up. I was able to catch up to the transition and salvage a 148 and a solid 525+ series.

Last week I had to pre-bowl since I was going to be out of town at a trade show all week. The only time I could go was unnamed-1Saturday afternoon and conditions were not ideal. The lanes had not been oiled since before the Friday night league and it looked like they had been busy all day, plus they had cosmic bowling going on. It didn’t really bother me, I kind of enjoyed the odd conditions,  but I am pretty sure it impacted my score. The lights I could deal with, but it was so dry that I was throwing the Wrecker from farther left than I normally throw the Totally Defiant, and that was at the beginning of the first game. Despite the challenge I was above my average in games one and three, but had a very difficult time picking up spares in game two. Having to adapt was a good experience for me and I was able to pretty much match my average, so no harm done.

This week I got my Hyper Cell, Asylum and Uproar and couldn’t wait to try them out. Steve set me up with a switch grip on unnamedthe new balls and I’m digging it. I wasn’t able to get to the lanes before league but went with the Hyper Cell during practice and decided to go with it, and was very glad I did. I opened with a strike, had a turkey in frames 3-5 and would’ve kept it clean if it weren’t for a 4-6-7 split, ending with a 201. I thought about switching to the Asylum instead of moving left, but I was having too much fun with the Hyper Cell and stuck with it all the way. I ended up moving about 7 boards left, but finished the series with solid games of 176 and 188 for my best three game series ever, a 565.

I’m hoping to keep things moving in the right direction and have a busy spring ahead! I’m planning on bowling in an ABT tournament in March, bowling state in early April, have a lesson with Hank Boomershine and a tournament at Steve’s in late April and will be returning to Nationals in May. Should be interesting!

Keep reaching for glory!

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Bowling on TV Thu, 06 Feb 2014 15:41:19 +0000 Did you enjoy the drama of the Super Clash this past Sunday?  Is it just me or does bowling need more of this?  After watching it, I felt like it gave a lot more circumstance to the broadcast and that you could get your arms completely around it.  There were no qualifying rounds that you didn’t get to watch and it wasn’t filmed and done months prior.  Just pure competition.  Bowler vs. bowler for money.  Between this and the team competitions, the PBA might be inching closer to become a magnet to viewers eyes.

Would love to see them do more one-on-one matches throughout the season that add up to something at the end.  That’s the missing piece of the Belmo/Rash show… no follow-up that anyone is aware of.  It would be fantastic to have a singles schedule in addition to the team schedule (maybe even tie in the singles as part of team points, somehow) and start to feature the key bowlers more and then push just a couple major tournaments each year.  I’d vote for the US Open and World Championships.  The “Masters” is already so engrained in golf, it’s probably not worth using that title anymore.

That singles schedule could have some qualifications to become a part of it, since you can’t have hundreds of singles in that pool.  So, you turn the World Series of Bowling—with a new title, poker already stole it from baseball—into a qualifying tournament for the next year’s singles circuit.  Bowl your way into the big leagues.  You could even keep it relatively the same in terms of all the events, each having so many people that make it through,  still have the trophies and such.  Hey, the winner of each event could get two years in the singles pool!

Okay, so I really do have any authority to suggest what they should do and I’m not alone it throwing out my unsolicited opinion, but I can’t help but think that maybe I’m not completely wrong about the possibilities.  Now, Tom Clark does live pretty close to me… might be time to find him and see if we can make Tim’s reality into everyone’s reality!  Okay, bad idea, we don’t want some of the things in my head to get out.  No one wants eight-foot-tall penguins with rocket packs dropping chocolate donuts on them.  Or do they?

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In With the Old Thu, 30 Jan 2014 06:08:24 +0000 Look ma, a decent first-ball average!

Look ma, a decent first-ball average!

Last week (1/22) I bowled decently.  A 540 series with games of 181, 214, and 145.  That last games wasn’t as bad as it looks, just a bit sloppy as the lanes pushed me to the left quicker than expected.  That led to bad carry and sad faces.  Overall, that’s a respectable score.  My bubbles hasn’t burst and I didn’t fall back down into the 400s.  Really, not a whole lot to say about that…

Except, the past few weeks I’ve gone back to one-handed?  What!?  Yep, I can’t commit to the two-handed until I do two things: get the right equipment and make time to practice.  After shooting some video and doing some self-analysis, I felt like I was doing more damage than good.  Terrible scores, bruised ego, and taking poor form and turning it into weak and sloppy muscle memory.  Not the way to go, that’s for sure.

I’m still going to pursue two-handed, that’s for sure.  If you watched what happened to the pins during the Tournament of Champions that just concluded this past weekend, you know what that type of energy can do.  Physics, baby.  That said, I don’t want to end up making a fool of myself and destroy my self-confidence.

A good series can go south because of a few terrible frames.  But, still decent!

A good series can go south because of a few terrible frames. But, still decent!

Bowled non-two-handed this week, again.  I felt calm and quiet, wasn’t too worried about things and just let it go.  Pulled out the Totally Defiant (which works great to grab the heck out of the lanes when I’m not cranking it).  Such a shame it sat for so long, too powerful to break out.  That thing deserved the Ball of the Year status, completely.  Totally.  Get it?  Sorry, couldn’t help it.

So, rattled off games of 186, 207, and 186 for a 579.  Really, three five bad first-balls all night (one gutter, too, that’s never fun).  Everything else was at least decent or better.  Spare game was solid, mostly.  Just four open frames.  The feels like score was a 622 (like the weather, it felt better than the thermometer read).

I think that catches me up on everything.  Excited to build up some mental toughness again, stop crying in my car after league each week.  Get to through my great equipment again without covering all 40 boards twice on each throw.  Wow, I really didn’t plan that two-handed kickoff well, did I?  Here’s some advice if you’re thinking about two-handed… get the right layouts and balls.  Do what Belmo did, get an Uproar.  Now.  I have one that’ll get drilled soon, thinking that’ll be my first true two-handed rock…

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On a Roll Thu, 23 Jan 2014 05:09:40 +0000 Hey everyone, it’s been a while but between some traveling, for both work and fun, the holidays and then catching up with work I’ve been insanely busy the last month and went almost four weeks without bowling. It’s felt good to get back into a routine and I’m glad to say that for the most part the success I was having in November and early December has continued and I really feel like I’ve reached a new level of ability, hopefully I can continue to improve and start to expect 500′s, I’m close to being there now, but my average is still 155. I would also love to get my first 600 before the season ends.

After a somewhat disappointing start to this season, my average for most of September and October was lower than where I had ended last season, I got on a roll in lateunnamed October. If you don’t count the week I bowled when I was way too sick to be there, I have been above my average eight of the last ten times I’ve bowled at league, and the other two weren’t bad, outside of the 104 game. But, as Tim put it, sometimes you need one of those just to remind you how quickly it can fall apart. I had that 104 my first night back after the holidays so it wasn’t unexpected. The other two games  were solid so it didn’t bother me too much, if anything I just happened to have all my bad luck and dumb mistakes for the night in one game, because I didn’t feel it was that much worse than the others, where I bowled 159 and 168, but that’s bowling.

Last week at league was my best ever from a consistency standpoint and one of my best scores ever as well. I’m not quite sure what I’ve been doing that’s made the difference, but I have some ideas. Most importantly I’m finally starting to feel like I know what I’m doing, I can’t always actually do it, but I’m much MUCH better at realizing what mistakes I’ve been making and adjusting appropriately within a frame or two. I’ve also settled on a form that I don’t think will be changing much going forward, I’m sure there will be adjustments here and there, but moving my starting position to be even with my should instead of centered on my body has made everything else I was struggling with, mainly not keeping my arm straight enough and not following through the ball, go away, at least for the most part. I still have a couple of frames each night where I instantly want the shot back because I know how badly I messed it up. Having three games over 175 felt awesome, even when I’ve bowled better games I had a tendency to collapse, or I started poorly. Bowling 30 solid frames in a row was a different feeling, one I hope to remember to keep me working on making that a weekly occurrence.

Another thing I’ve been doing is making more ball changes during games. I’ve always hesitated to move too much Image (56)and have a tendency to stick with the ball that I decide on in practice, but I’ve learned enough at this point that I’m getting more comfortable with making the switch. Last week I threw all 4 balls in my bag at one point, 3 of them for at least 5+ frames. I started practice with the Totally Defiant, which has been my go-to ball for most of the year, but soon realized that it wasn’t the ball I wanted for the conditions, the oil was lighter than normal especially on the outside, and I switched to the Disturbed. I threw three good balls in a row at the end of practice with it, but left a 10-pin on all 3, so in an attempt to change it up a little I went into game one using the Deranged. I had a split in the first, but besides that was picking up my spares. The problem was I couldn’t hit the pocket, so in the sixth frame I went back to the Disturbed. I closed out the first and bowled the whole second game with the Disturbed, which is still probably my favorite ball, we’ll see what happend when I get my hands on a Hyper Cell. I had moved 5-6 boards to the left by the end of game two so I switched to the Wrecker for the last game and kept it going.

Tonight was interesting, I was excited to try and build on the 537 from last week, but it was not meant to be. I did unnamed-1not feel that I bowled well at all, however, I managed to get every game over 140 and averaged over 150 on the night. I felt I was a board or two off all night and had a lot of shots that were really close, and pretty much what I had intended to do, and just didn’t get the pinfall. Stuff like hitting just the 7 on a 4-7, bouncing the 1 off of the wall and hitting the 10, but leaving the 6, on a 3-6-10 and chopping the 6 on a 6-10. It’s a lot better than outright missing or putting it in the gutter, but the next step towards me becoming a better bowler is definitely zeroing in on those types of shots. And of course, when I did hit the pocket I left a 10-pin half of the time. It definitely wasn’t the 550+ that I had in my head going in, but knowing how close I was to a much better score yet still almost reaching my average left a different sense of accomplishment. If this is what I bad night for me looks like going forward, I can live with that.

Besides getting that first 600 I would also like to get my average above 160, hopefully in the 165 range, before the end of the season. What are your bowling goals for 2014?

Until next time, keep reaching for glory!


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Back in the (600) Saddle Thu, 16 Jan 2014 04:57:10 +0000 Whoa, where did THAT come from?Alas, I do know how to bowl.  Sure, I didn’t exactly lift an eagle over my head in front of cheering fans, but you gotta take what you can get.  After what seemed like years of struggling (aka 10 weeks) I finally got back into the 600 club.  610 with games of 237, 170, 203.  I call this good-crap-good set an “Alan”, after my favorite guy named Alan in Georgia.  Cheers, Alan!  Anyway, over the past couple of months, that 170 would have been sweet within my typically 400 set.  Wow, that was rough.

Am I out of the water completely?  Probably not.  No need for me to get all cocky about a 610 or anything.  However, I am going to try to cement these good feelings and the memory of the good throws into my brain.  I have a lot of frustration and failure to replace up in my dome.

Yes, that is a gutter ball to start the 10th frame.Now, as for the actual bowling, I guess I should be forthright.  I didn’t bowl phenomenally well.  I got some lucky breaks.  Crossover strikes, lucky pins miraculously falling over, and plenty of reasons to shrug and smile.  When I missed, it would I was standing up too soon and coming out of my release.  Starting to get a feel again for timing.  I was way too early and impatient.  I slowed my feet down, didn’t push out too soon, and just let it all happen.  Rhythm has its own rules, you can’t force it.  There were a few simply beautiful shots, as well.  Those?  A couple 10-pins, of course.  I keep reminding myself, bowling is a strange and humbling game.

Learned some good lessons at the end of the night.  Don’t rush.  Stay behind the ball.  Pay attention.  Don’t tense up on the approach and stand there for 10 seconds waiting to throw.  Insightful things?  Nope, not really.  But it’s those basics that people tend to forget.  Even the fanciest houses still need foundations.  Remember the basics.

That middle part, just pay attention to that...Bowled against a really good team.  Best part was that they were all throwing Roto Grip or Storm.  I love to see that.  It’s good business and makes the soul feel all warm and fuzzy.  Also, they completely slaughtered us.  We won one point out of 22.  Yes, one.  No, I didn’t get the point.  Hung around afterward to talk about why they bowl with Storm and Roto Grip and their impressions of the brands and products (I think about marketing during my off hours, too).  It was a similar story to what I’ve heard so many times over the past three years.  To summarize: threw other stuff, then threw Storm/RG, won’t throw anything else now.  It reminds me of the scene in Crocodile Dundee where the dude draws a knife and CD responds, “That’s not a knife… THAT is a knife,” as he shows off his ridiculous blade.  Those aren’t bowling balls, these are bowling balls.  There is a lot of pride to hearing these things and know that those are the brands I’m working with.  Also great to know that people are paying attention to the marketing.  They knew all about the new releases and there was excitement about seeing them being thrown around the center the past couple of weeks.  So, thanks Justin, Craig, and Robert for a pleasant series and solid whooping on the lanes.

As part of my conversations with the other team, I also gave away my Wrecker.  Robert took it off my hands.  It’ll suit him well.  It was a good ball, but I get a similar shot with my Shatter and the new stuff is one the way (I really, really can’t wait to hurl the Hyper Cell).  Always great to spread the word and reward loyalty.  Before even finding out about my association with Storm and Roto Grip, he was vehement about Roto Grip being the best equipment.  Adamant.  That’s a brand ambassador.

Speaking of brands, did you see the crazy looking dude in the new Asylum images?  Talk about nutty looking, right?!

Stay out the gutter!

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Hump Day Hurdle 55 Thu, 02 Jan 2014 23:18:31 +0000 Well I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season as we roll into 2014. Now I am sure almost everyone has created or at least entertained the idea of their new year’s resolutions for 2014. But if I had to guess, how many folks added bowling resolutions in the mix? I’m going to guess very few, which is perfectly fine. Some are perfectly content with how the season is going thus far and have no desire to make any changes to the game. However, there may be some that have considered it, but have yet to try and implement anything. Whatever the case may be, here are a couple ideas for some to chew on or maybe even implement.

Increasing spare percentage… This is one that everyone and I mean everyone even the professionals could work on. In all my years in bowling I have never seen or heard of anyone who is 100% at converting spares. That being said the better players are 90% plus in this stat. So what that means is if you miss more than one spare out of every 10 you shoot at, there is room for improvement. My advice is either making time to go to the lanes and practice only spares for about an hour every so often to just make sure you are sharp. Again if you are less than 90%, there is room to get better and add more pins to you average.

Adding another release to the repertoire… If you are a down and in player, work on being able to curve it a little more. If you are a curve player, work on playing straighter. Most players mess around every now and again, but few make a conscious effort to become good at another release. So whether it can be done by something simple like changing your hand position or something more complicated like changing your timing, practice is a must for sure. Even the players on the PBA tour spend full practice sessions and sometimes months working on their “other” releases outside of their traditional “A” game release.

I am as guilty as the next bowler, I rarely and I mean rarely practice and have no one to blame but myself. So when I have a bad night or struggle on the lanes, all I can do think of how I should take the time and practice. And well, it’s a new year so there is no better time than right now. My bowling resolution for 2014 can be summed up in one word, PRACTICE.

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A Bunch of Random Topics Tue, 10 Dec 2013 20:44:00 +0000 Why a bunch of random topics?  Because, I said so.  Do you have a better idea?  Anyway, now that we’ve agreed that we’re doing a bunch of random topics for this post, let’s continue.

Me and my mother, post bowling.  Dartboards make excellent backdrops!

Me and my mother, post bowling. Dartboards make excellent backdrops!

Random Topic #1

Why does bowling have to copycat other sports so much?  I’ve been thinking about this again with the World Series of Bowling in full swing.  So, there’s that.  Baseball has the World Series, let’s leave it there.  Bad enough that poker stole it, too (remind me again why poker is on ESPN ten times more often than bowling?).  We also have the USBC Masters.  There is only one Masters and it’s played in Georgia.  I guess just about every sport has a US Open, so we can’t fault them for falling into line, there (believe it or not, even crosswords have a US Open).  Outside the tournaments, you now have the the BowlingCenter on the PBA YouTube page, which does nothing to hide it’s copying of SportsCenter.  Things really got me worked up when I saw some sort of BowlingWars video on the PBA Facebook page, with the tell-tale yellow text on a star field, heading off into infinity (which strangely disappeared from their page as soon as it appeared).  Strange stuff.  I think bowling is great on its own and that’s how you have to sell it to the people.  They can already get the originals, why expect them to want the copies.

Random Topic #2

Not quite so random, as it relates to #1 above.  Blue oil.  Visible oil.  The Cheetah Championship (animal patterns, now that’s original and fun, I dig that).  I think this is a great move by the PBA and hopefully they stick with it and continue to improve on it.  There wasn’t much transition to watch over time, would be great to see it’s affects during qualifying, pair to pair.  30-60 seconds on the actual telecast, to show what’s happening.  Also, if you really want to show how much better these guys are, have a house-pattern showdown for the PBA League.  Huge scores, constant strikes, show that the dude averaging 230 in your league isn’t anywhere near what these folks bring to the table.

Random Topic #3

Bowling balls.  When do you buy them?  Why do you buy them?  Are you more likely to buy during the summer, when you have time to get to learn the ball, or at the beginning of the season?  Would you rather buy one mid-season to rejuvenate your scores, add some spice to combat those 10-pins and washouts?  These are questions I think about for my day job.  We know lots of bowlers so we ask these questions, but I’m curious about this particular “fan” base (can the folks that read this be called fans, really…?).  How excited is everyone about the Hyper Cell?  I never got to throw the original Cell, so I’m really pumped to get a chance to throw this one.  Just gotta convince Schlemer to get the new balls in the mail…

Random Topic #4

Do you wear team jerseys?  Why or why not?  Do the current jerseys the PBA pros wear help or hurt the image of the sport?  I think it’s better than it was in the old days of bland polo shirts, but it still needs some work.  Particularly, the team concept has some promise.  People like teams.  Teams have a longer shelf-life than people (some, people of the world).  Those jerseys feel like a sports jersey, for the most part.  It’s a good trend.  That said, do all you other bowlers think I’m a weirdo showing up every week in a jersey and bowling so terribly?  You’re all laughing at me, at least a little bit, aren’t you?  Thought so, I guess I would, too.

Random Topic #5

I was a very respectful and loving son by accompanying my mother to her work Christmas party last week.  I skipped league to… bowl.  Of course.  I live in Wisconsin, what else do you do for fun?  So, we headed over to a really, really nice center that was recently remodeled (JB’s on 41, go there) to roll a game and mingle with the crowd.  I’ll spare you the details of my mom pulling me around to meet everyone and stick to the lanes—cosmic bowling is terrible.

For me, that is.  For the other 99% of the folks bowling, they liked it.  It was fun and goofy and loose.  I couldn’t see a single board it was so spastic.  Lights flickering, lasers, black lights.  Every light gadget and gizmo was on overdrive and it messes you up.  I’m not good enough to bowl well under such conditions!  FUN?!  I can’t bowl well and have fun!  Just kidding, it was fun and I was okay.  Still struggling with my timing but eked out a 151.  Not terrible.  Not impressive.  At least I appeared really good in my jersey with all my own equipment.  Most folks probably didn’t see the 151, they just saw the “appearance” of someone who bowled a 200+.  Yeah, that’s it.

Mom?  She bowled a 50.  I still love her, though.

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