Armswing key to consistent bowling delivery


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

One of the points I always share when trying to sell the game of bowling is it’s a sport for all, whether short or tall, male or female, or young or just young at heart; and even though that’s true, we’re still dealing with rolling a heavy object 60 feet down a 42-inch wide lane.

Some bowlers, especially those younger and less experienced, see the sport as one of strength and speed, when in actuality, that really should not be the primary goal or objective. My driver’s education teacher and my bowling coach used to share the same one liner, “Speed kills.” 

While some bowlers have a tough time slowing the ball down, others struggle to generate enough speed.

That is especially the case for really young bowlers who may rely on a ramp or bumpers and some senior bowlers who start to see some decline in strength through the years.

Since losing some weight over the past couple of years, I’ve seen my own speed decrease from a loss of some muscle.

Like when the Tim Robbins character, Nuke LaLoosh, hits the Bull mascot with a pitch in the classic movie, “Bull Durham,” uncontrollable speed is not good; but, with noticeable changes in the game over the past 20 or so years, consistent speed is a favorable attribute.

Aggressive bowling ball coverstocks, exotic drilling patterns, synthetic lanes, and stripped backends combine together for a recipe of what TV commentators sometimes refer to as “bumper bowling for adults.”

Taking all of this into account, how do we get that heavy bowling ball down the lane with the needed speed and power when we may be lacking in size and muscle?

The answer can be found in a science textbook - physics.

By employing inertia, gravity, and kinetic energy, even smaller and younger bowlers can create a more consistent degree of force, resulting in a shot that is more repeatable and consistent.

Think of the pendulum on a grandfather clock. Once a bowler can maintain a consistent armswing and speed, then they can start making adjustments in what part of the lane to play.

One of the toughest things for young bowlers to learn is to trust gravity and let the ball drop in the backswing without trying to muscle it.

The ball actually feels lighter if you just let it drop on its own. That is why I coach our youth bowlers to hold the ball higher to generate more speed, and to hold it lower to slow it down.

The lesson and message in all of this is to work smarter, not harder, and let the ball work for you.

In local league action last week, David Ange topped all bowlers last Monday night with an impressive 231-680.

He was followed by Lake Krehel’s 236-600 and Matt Stanwick’s 223-589. Rondell Christian’s 239 middle game was the top game of the night.

Crystal Owen had the lone 200 game for the ladies from Monday night with a 202 as part of her 521.series. Katie Barefoot trailed only Crystal with her 191-517. Patsy Sanders closed out the ladies’ leaders with a 178-469.

Rondell Christian led the way last Thursday night with a 211-592, followed by Lindsay Perry’s 547 series and John Turner’s 532. Casey Delauretis and Chris Farrell had high games of 209 and 204 respectively.

Brittany Gaumond’s 200-540 paced the ladies from Thursday, followed by Debbie Winslow’s 177-488 and Amie Wallace’s 188-441.

The youth-adult league scheduled to begin next Tuesday has been cancelled due to lack of teams, but parents (or other adults) who want to bowl with their kids will still have the opportunity during the Saturday morning league.

Summer Crazy 8 youth league will kick off this Saturday morning at 10:00. There will be a bumper league which bowls 2 games weekly and a youth-adult league that will bowl 3 games each Saturday.

Teams in both leagues will be limited to four members. Anyone interested in bowling on the Saturday morning league should be at Albemarle Lanes at 9:45 this Saturday morning to put teams together. Anyone with questions can give me a call at 335-4213 this week.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling.