Practice Report: February 19, 2021

February 19, 2021


I continue to practise putting intentional rotation on the ball. Today, I had two goals:

  1. Continue to build the habit of putting intentional rotation on the ball.
  2. Combine putting rotation on the ball with holding the release position at the foul line, possibly even with focusing on my target.

I cared more about the first than the second, but I managed to get some of the second with the first. Overall, I'd consider the practice a success.

Click here to read a detailed rundown of my practice session

Focus is on rotation, then holding the shot, then aiming precisely. I was practising with my new EPCO Neon balls (5" / 3 lb 12 oz) and my new Aramith balls (4 7/8" / 3 lb 9.7 oz).

  • Warm up 6 minutes.
  • Snap the fingers. 12 minutes. Neons. OK, but not great. Mind wandered a little into other considerations. I needed to restrain it to come back and focus on rotation.
  • One hand clapping. 12 minutes. Aramiths. Better, but some lapses. Gradually, it's becoming a habit. I often don't feel the rotation, even though I see the pins flying.
  • One hand clapping, no approach. Just one step and release. Mixture of balls. 12 minutes. It felt odd and I wasn't feeling the hand clapping much. Gradually, when I started to loosen my arm a little and slow down, I began to notice the feeling a little more.
  • Slow approach, one hand clapping. Aramiths. 12 minutes. Felt better once I started throwing the ball out more. If I do this, it feels easier to put rotation on the ball without turning my first or reaching inside with my elbow.
  • Rotation plus holding the shot through the pins. Aramiths. 10 minutes. I held the shot through the pins about 75% of the time. I needed a few shots to find my timing after slowing things down. This felt successful.
  • Rotation plus holding the shot through the pins. Neons. 10 minutes. I held the shot through the pins really well. With the bigger balls I'm not feeling the rotation as much, but I see evidence of it at the pins. With repetition, it will come.
  • Hold the shot through the pins and feel the rotation without trying to put rotation on the ball. Aramiths. 6 minutes. This felt quite solid. I think I could end this practice session on a high note.
  • Shoot the 9th and 10th to win. 3 of 4 shots were very good. I held the shot 3 times and got great rotation 3 times. The last shot was a strike as soon as it left of my hand.

Perhaps this seems obvious in hindsight, but when I throw the ball with more conviction, I find it easier to both put more rotation and finish the shot high with a strong follow-through. "Sticking the landing" becomes easier. (Yes, Chelsea!) When I tried to focus on the finger motion by removing the rest of the approach, I lost sight of this idea. When I went back to taking a full approach, I noticed that I was releasing the ball with more confidence and conviction, resulting in the occasional misfire, but otherwise good rotation and good pin splash.


I find it hard to feel the "one hand clapping" trick that Jeff Young recommended to me. I think I can infer that I'm putting good rotation on the ball from the pin splash, but I'm not really feeling the physical sensations in my fingers and palm. I would like to feel it in order to be able to trust more than I'm "doing it right". I don't quite know how to connect with that feeling more.


Towards the end of the practice, I resolved to stop trying to put rotation on the ball and instead focus on feeling the rotation on the ball. I didn't really connect with that feeling at all, but by doing this, I got out of my own way and started putting noticeably more consistent rotation on the ball. I have found myself in this trap often: stuck trying to do something, rather than doing it. In particular, I often become stuck trying to relax, rather than relaxing.

Mastering the mental game is fun.


I don't intend to practise again before league play on Wednesday, so in the meantime, I will be starting some strength training with a personal trainer who specializes in 5-pin bowling. (Yes, such a human exists!) I intend to give it 3 months before I decide whether it's "working" or "not working". With any luck, I'll have less shoulder pain and better balance 3 months from now. Wish me luck!



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