How can loft affect a bowler’s game?


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

At some point every bowler faces that time when shot after shot hits the pocket, carries all 10, and life is good, then all of a sudden, the same shot is doing its best nose-dive and they’ve become the mayor of splitsville.

At this point, the bowler is faced with some choices to make. Remember the “Do I stay or do I go” question I posed a few weeks ago? Well, here’s another option, loft.

Loft is simply releasing the ball so it contacts the lane at some point past the foul line. Whether the ball hits one inch or 21 inches past this line, it’s still considered loft.

Why is loft so important? It all begins with the three phases a ball goes through on its way down the lane; skid, hook, and roll.

Under ideal conditions, a bowler’s ball will typically skid about 20 feet down the lane before making a turn towards the center of the lane (hopefully). Making that turn is the hook portion prior to the ball straightening out in its roll.

Taking that nugget of information into account, a bowler can use loft to adjust a shot.

The lane is 60 feet long from foul line to headpin.

If a ball is hooking too much, the bowler needs to shorten the lane.

If the bowler typically lofts the ball 2 feet, now the lane basically becomes only 58 feet long; so if the loft is increased my 2 more feet, now the lane is only 56 feet long.

Maybe that’s enough to bring the shot back to the pocket.

Basically, the more a bowler increases his loft, the shorter distance of lane he has to manipulate.

The reverse is true also, but not needed nearly as much. If the lanes are flooded in oil, a bowler could simply decrease the loft of the shot, making the lane seem to be longer, and thus giving the ball more distance to do it’s skid, hook, roll journey.

I recently wrote about the value of practice and the need to focus on a specific part of your game during your practice time.

I mentioned timing, arm swing, and hitting a specific target.

Now you can add adjusting your loft to a good practice agenda.

Chris Farrell topped the local scene last week with an impressive 232-663 last Monday night. Farrell marked at a 97 percent clip, failing to fill only one frame the entire night!

James Lang claimed the top game last Monday evening tossing a 235 final game to close out a 611 series.

William Swinson matched Lang’s 611 total which included a 234 game. Lake Krehel added a 232 game to close out the men’s side of the sheet.

Amie Wallace had an impressive night for the ladies, rolling a 165-465 scratch series which calculated to 240-690 handicap numbers.

Patsy Sanders and Karen Ashley joined Wallace atop the ladies scores from Monday with 160-422 and 160-455 respectively.

Rondell Christian topped the Thursday Night Quartet with a 229-599, followed closely by John Turner’s 201-588, Chris Farrell’s 196-564, Murdock Spencer’s 228 game and Lake Krehel’s 220 effort.

Debbie Winslow and Brittney Gaumond paced the Thursday night ladies with tallies of 192-541 and 195-521 respectively.

Cicley Mooney added a 157 game to join the ladies’ leaders.

The Saturday Youth-Adult Crazy 8 league continued to post some impressive scores this week as Bryce Hawkins led all with a 277-731, just ahead of Ben Hawkins’ 274-687.

Jason Nistler fired an impressive 226 scratch game which equated to 295 with handicap, while Christopher Vinson added a 224 scratch effort.

Lindsay Porter topped the young ladies last Saturday with her 192-445 effort, finishing just ahead of Elizabeth Scaff’s 169 game and Madison Elliott’s 85 game.

Scarlett Manderson’s 142 game paced the bumper league, followed by Tempe Branham’s 114 and Lotte Branham’s 107.

Before closing this week, I need to let everyone know that sign-ups are now taking place for the 2018-2019 league season.

The league sign-up book is now on the counter at Albemarle Lanes for returning teams to sign up for their spots and for interested individuals to leave their names and contact information to help find a team.

Leagues are planned for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings for men’s and mixed teams and Wednesday nights for ladies only teams.

There will also be a ladies’ league on Thursday mornings in addition to the bumper and youth leagues on Saturday mornings.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling.