Overall Progress Report: April 16, 2021
April 17, 2021
This time last month I wrote about a mechanical adjustment that John Willock had suggested to me. At the time I felt like it had an immediate and significant effect on my consistency. I expressed cautious optimism at the time:
I have the distinct impression that this change in my approach will help me even out my steps, keep my balance through the point of release, and generally become significantly more repeatable. I expect to have a greater margin for error on my timing. I certainly hope so!
It's now a month later and I have some overall good news to report: whatever I'm doing seems to be working.
First, here are some details from league play this past week:
- Scores: 215-262-290=767
- Middle hits: 24/33=72%
- Strike rate on middle hits: 14/24=58%
- Spare rates
- Corner pins: 4/5=80% all on right corners, which I've been struggling with for years
- Other spares: 4/9=45%
- Overall: 8/14=57%
The second game felt the most satisfying because of the X//XX// sequence which scored 206 in 7 frames. This felt like a below-average game in many respects: only 3 strikes, hitting the middle only 7 times out of 11, missing 2 easy spares, but shooting 262. This kind of game strengthens my belief that I could average 260.
And on that note, I took a good run at averaging 260 in the past four weeks, with triples of 792, 821, 688, and 767. This gives me an average of 255.7 for those 12 games. If I include the week prior, I've averaged 252.1 for 15 games. They aren't 260, but they show movement in a helpful direction—and they include a 157 game! If you take out the 157 (and, to be fair, the 385), then I've averaged 252.6 for the other 10 recent games. However you slice it, I see a discontinuous jump from averaging in the 220s earlier this season.
I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I've seen this before. I averaged over 260 for six weeks two years ago and began to think that I'd figured something out, but clearly I fell back into some old habits. Even so, I'd like to enjoy these good results while I have them. If nothing else, I have a little more evidence that the good performances I want to sustain are "in there" somewhere. Moreover, there's room to grow. If I could hit the middle 80% and raise my rate of "other spares" to 60%, then I might well be to notice a further improvement in scores. That's what my upcoming practice will be about.
My left shoulder continues to restrict my mobility and this week I particularly noticed that it's interfering with my ability to keep my eyes on the arrows. I can think of a few ways to deal with this situation:
- Use it as a reminder to release the ball in a more upright stance with perhaps a deeper knee bend.
- Steer into the skid and let myself become more of a "feel" bowler, at least when shooting for the middle.
- Take up yoga to see whether it would help with flexibility.
I have already spent over a year stretching muscles in the area and I've been working out for about 10 weeks now to strengthen my back overall. Recently I began targeted my shoulders more with those strength exercises. It's too soon for me to notice a difference in the shoulder particularly, but I have noticed some overall improvement in the mobility of my neck. I'd like to see more. I'm especially interested in the advice of anyone who has dealt with this problem or who has studied enough anatomy and kinesiology to be able to help. I started working with a physiotherapist about six weeks before everything closed down and I haven't been back yet. I know that it's not easy to offer useful advice from a distance, but I'm willing to try.
As I get back into making mechanical improvements, I know that I need to maintain my confidence and relaxed attitude. I will need to stop myself from falling back into the trap of so many mental checklists and trying to direct my body to do what I want it to do. I will try to balance reminding myself of a few key things that tend to help me while trusting my body to do what it already knows how to do. I am very interested in what happens: will I manage to balance these thoughts effectively or will I start to fall back into old habits? As I've written before, I expect that being aware of the risk will help me deal with it better. At least it won't blindside me.
What do you recommend for me to help me improve my overall accuracy, even by just a little? Is there a specific area of the game that you typically focus on in order to "tighten things up"? What do you want to know from me that might help you decide what to recommend?