Do you “Drift” on the Approach?


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

If you’ve ever worked with a coach or bowled on a team with a knowledgeable teammate, perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “drifting.”

For years, bowlers referred to drifting as not walking in a straight line from the dots to the foul line, making the ability to repeat shots nearly impossible.

One thing bowlers can do to improve their game is to keep up with where they are starting on the approach and where they are sliding at the foul line.

I would hate to know the number of times I have observed a bowler and go to make a suggestion by first asking them where they started on the approach.

When the answer is they do not know, if makes it a little more difficult to give valid feedback.

To make this explanation a little less confusing, let’s say a bowler begins his approach on the center dot, known as board 20.

At the end of his delivery, he slides at board 24.

Sounds like he may have a drift issue, right?

Not necessarily.

There’s actually another term for not ending on the same board than your board of origin.

This could be an example of lateral movement, which is different than drifting.

Drifting is unintentional, lateral movement is actually a good thing.

Years ago, bowlers were taught to walk straight on the approach and finish parallel to the foul line.

Now bowlers are being instructed to walk toward their target, and finish facing that target on the lane. When your starting board and your target board aren’t the same, and they shouldn’t be, then that change is known as lateral movement.

To recognize the difference in drifting and lateral movement, a bowler would need to collect a little quantitative data.

(Never thought I’d use that term again!)

If while taking ten shots, a bowler begins at board 20 and finishes at 24, 80 percent of the time, that’s probably his natural lateral movement, meaning the movement it takes in moving toward his target.

The other two shots, landing somewhere other than board 24, are probably errant shots as a result of drifting.

So, next time you’re in the middle of league night and suddenly the shot appears to have disappeared, ask yourself, is it a lane issue, a ball issue, or has your approach started to drift?

One guy who apparently isn’t having an issue with drift on the approach recently is David Ange.

For the second consecutive Monday night, Ange has recorded a three-game total of 747, that’s a 249 average for his last six games.

He’s also seen his Monday night average jump nearly 10 pins over this streak, from a 199 to a 209!

Two weeks ago, Ange fired a high game of 298, this time around he had another 11-strike effort during his final game where he left an insulting 7-pin in the 7th frame sandwiched by all strike before and after, for a 279 game.

Steve Spoonire finished a distant second behind Ange, with a still very impressive 235-643, followed by Terrence Riddick’s 230-603 and Stephen Marshall’s 243 game.

Top ladies’ games last Monday went to Maria Bingham (173), Brittney Gaumond (152), Beth Marshall (151), and Kim Wiley (151).

Another guy who has been ripping the rack consistently is John Bradley.

In addition to averaging nearly 195 on Monday night, John is leading the way during the Tuesday night 9-pin No-Tap Doubles league with a 230 average!

Bradley opened his Tuesday night loop with only the second perfect game of the league this season.

John went on to add games of 266, and a pair of 243’s for a 1052 scratch four-game total.

Bobby Winslow followed with a 278-980, along with Fred Hill’s 276-942 and Paul Lacher’s 278 game.

Debbie Winslow reeled off a nice 244-798 to lead the no-tap ladies, along with Jackie Bradley’s 220-654, Brenda Cowand’s 175-627, and Krista Farrell’s 177 game.

Kenzie Vanscoy and Trevor Nguyen topped the bumper bowlers with high games of 105 and 103 respectively.

The youth league Crazy-8 had lightning strike again this week …. TWICE …. As Ben and Bryce Hawkins both shot 300 during the first game enroute to series totals of 761 and 742 to go along with a 250-658 from Travis Clark to lead the young men.

Lindsay Porter tossed a 214-569 to pace the young ladies just ahead of Violet Olds’ 223-551 and Elizabeth Scaff’s 200-524.

The leading adults from Crazy-8 were Lindsay Perry (284-764), Korey Gregory (253-682), GS Pinner (200--549), and Kristy Hall (227-552).

The league sign-up book is now available for returning teams to sign-up for the regular season.

Returning teams will have priority to sign-up first through July 15, then new bowlers and teams will have an opportunity to sign up.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling and Happy Birthday, America!