Over the past several weeks, I have been paying more attention to different aspects of my game and my spare shooting is increasing greatly again. I was always considered a terrific spare shooter and the six months prior have not been the “cleanest” of times for my overall game. It feels good to be consistent again with that phase of my scoring so now, I can concentrate on other things.

I’ve had two very good sessions with my coach. We’ve been concentrating on the physical game and I, myself, have been trying to fine-tune my mental game. With my approach, armswing, and posting coming into line, my confidence is getting better and better. This enables me to focus on other points that will help me to improve my scores.

Some of these “other points” I learned when I was a junior bowler and, the others have been gained over the years of my bowling experience. So aside from picking the best bowling ball, I pass on the first five of these points in this week’s “Choc-List:”

  1. Pick up your ball using both hands with one hand on either side of the ball, so that your hands are not in a position to get smashed by another bowling ball. If you are used to picking up your bowling ball by the holes with one hand, I highly recommend using the two-handed method of picking up your ball because your hand will be less fatigued as the night wears on and it also can prevent excessive swelling of the hand.
  2. I believe it was John Jowdy (widely known “Coach of the Pros,”) who said, “You cannot compensate for a bad fit.” There are no adjustments or corrections that can be made to your game if you have a badly fitting bowling ball. A properly fitting ball will never hurt nor will it cause injury. If you are a recreational or once-a-week bowler, you may not notice a bad fit. If, however, you bowl 2 or more times a week or participate in tournaments, there is a chance you will notice a soreness in your fingers, hands, arms, or joints. Don’t take a chance at severe injury, get your ball checked if there is any kind of pain with your body when you bowl.
  3. If you have trouble focusing on your target, there is a very simple “trick” that I learned many years ago. When you are in your starting position and are looking at your mark, close your eyes for a few seconds. You will be able to see your target while your eyes are closed. When you open your eyes again, you will be fully focused on your mark. Try this trick with any object and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve heard this referred to as, “imprinting.”
  4. Are you sliding too much or not enough? Look to your shoelaces. If you want to slide more, tighten up your shoelaces; if you want to slide less, loosen the shoelaces. One of my junior bowling coaches turned me on to this tip; although, I have read it in several articles over the years.
  5. Bowling is ever-changing and ever-evolving. Even if you are a 200-plus bowler today, you will still shoot that 120 game somewhere along the way. Practice this statement and get it ready, “My gosh, I don’t know what happened, I haven’t shot a game/series like this since 1990,” just change the year to suit your situation when it happens.

You will not bowl great all the time and neither will you bowl bad all the time. Shooting high scores all the time are things we strive for, but, not the reality. Peaks and valleys are the norm. Great scores and slumps never last forever. Get used to it.