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 Post subject: Pinky Position
 Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:08 am Post Number: #1 Post
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Back in the eighties, I decided to take my social bowling, into a more serious arena.

Not that I started competing for money or anything like that, but just decided that regular excercise should be part of my life, (at the time, I was the father of two little ones) and being on second shift at the factory, gave me lots of open-lane opportunities at my local Alley during the day, for not much money.

In town, we had a guy (Ken Dunbar) who owned and ran a bowling equipment store, and so I went down to see him, bought a polyeurothane ball, and had it fingertip drilled for my right hand.

What a difference it made, to have a ball (16 lb) that “fit” me, (as I’m sure you all understand) in comparison to throwing a “House Ball!!” That along with the development of a very meticulously repetitive “prep and approach” routine, made bowling a whole new experience for me.

It was during that time, that a “House Pro” at the Alley I went to regularly for these morning solo games, came to me and asked if I’d be willing to hear her (yes, she WAS cute) “suggestions about improving my approach.” Apparently my typical 3-step approach wasn’t “cutting the mustard.” Truth be told, all I was doing was throwing the ball. I didn’t HAVE a routine, or specifically-repeatable approach, so ANY help would be more than I was using at the time.

The pieces of what she taught me back then, that stayed with me since then, are a “five-step” approach, squared-shoulders, balance arm position, foot kick-out, wiping the ball off, keeping my throwing hand dry, and some other simple things that not only increased my Pin Count, but also gave my OCD personality something to satisfy my desire for repeatability!

I’m not sure I can peg the reason “why,” (I suspect it had to do with bowling alone, but I’m not sure) but after a few years, I stopped going to the Alley with any regularity. I would bowl with church groups that decided to have a social event at the Alley from time to time, but that was about it. That “Pro” that gave me those pointers a few years before, had said that I should consider signing up for League play, but I didn’t consider myself “good enough” to keep the more experienced and seasoned bowlers from becoming impatient with my amateurish play, so I never did.

I had bought my wife a ball as well, back when I bought my first, personally-sized ball. Her ball was sized for her as well, but I don’t recall more than twice that she ever used it, or came with me to the Alley (we could have brought the kids too). Perhaps THAT was why I eventually stopped going? It was around that same time, that I had gone out to get my motorcycle License, so that she and I could go on Touring Bike rides together. I DID get the License, AND the Touring Bike, but she didn’t participate in THAT activity much EITHER......I digress......

Fast forward to this year (2018). I had lost my first wife in 2016; the kids are now all grown, with husbands and kids of their own, (I have 9 Grandkids now), and I have re-married. This new wife LOVES to go Tour Bike riding, and we’ve logged tons of miles! She’s very athletic and likes various sports.

I thought she might like to go Golfing with me, but that didn’t fly; and the thought crossed my mind that perhaps she might enjoy Bowling, as a “she and me” activity. She turns out to be “game” for the idea, and so, having some background in the activity, and having long ago gotten rid of that Polyeurothane ball, I went to a local Pro Shop in a local Alley (Ken Dubar’s Shop had closed up many years ago) and re-familiarized myself with the Sport, and it’s current trends.

What does all the verbal diarrhea have to do with the Posting topic title? Hang on, I’m getting there! The background is useful as an introduction, and also helps you to know exactly what I DON’T know, (which is a TON) so you know just where you need to start, to FIX this old guy’s whacked out, left over from the sixties, self (lol).

At the local Alley (I don’t live in the same town anymore), I set out to find out what weight ball would be best for me THESE days. After all, I was in my forties in the 80’s, and now I’ve turned the corner past “61,” so I figure SOME things have changed!! I took a twelve pound ball, a 13, and a 14 to an open lane, (the place was empty, other than staff) and bowled a series of frames with each.

Obviously, bowling with “House” balls, creates a bit of a problem right from the get-go, but I was able to come to a reasonable conclusion that a 14 lb ball weight is where I needed to end up. The “House Pro,” a local Tournament player himself, and 45 year old son of the Owner of that Alley, was full of advice and information, from choosing a ball brand (I settled on a Storm, of course), to additional pointers about how to handle a semi-reactive “middle of the road” ball (for the first time ever, I have a ball that WANTS to hook, and I’m learning how to control it) to the cross-over step, keeping the ball at a 90 to my body, and in line with my shoulder, as I start mt approach, and other tidbits that I’ll carry with me forever, added to the lessons learned way back in the eighties.

As to the topic of this Post........

One of the things that I was doing in the early 80’s, was placing my pinky against the ring finger and even taping it TO the ring finger, near the palm, so that it wouldn’t interfere with the role of the ball. I realize now I’m using a different ball, but I wonder if I should still be taping off my pinky, rather than allowing it to spread out on the ball?

I know some people say they curl their pinky, but I guess the question I have, has to do with whether or not the pinky is a help or a nemesis? I’m sure we have a TON of different opinions, but I would think that maybe we could come to a consensus of whether or not the pinky NEEDS to be out of the way, or if it actually serves a purpose, being spread out.

It’s just one of those little topics that the Pro, back in the 80’s, and the Pro here locally, in most recent days, didn’t address; and I forgot to ask the question. So I’ll ask it here.

Thanks for hanging on till the end of this long diatribe. Hopefully it was an interesting and enjoyable ride!!

-Soupy

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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:44 pm Post Number: #2 Post
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Welcome to the forum soupy.

A few tidbits.

Addressing the pinky, this article by Ron Clifton, one of many good ones he has penned.
"Finger Dancing"
http://www.bowl4fun.com/ron/tip11.htm

Regarding hooking a ball or teaching it.
First, master a straight ball and being able to hit at least two points on a bowling lane connecting the dots on the way to a specific pin.

Here are some words of wisdom by forum member Greg Helms
Greg's Bowling Chat ID is FitDocSr

Quote:
Put a piece of white tape on your PAP. When you can at least make it face the left gutter (straight ball) you are behind it at release. Dont try to hook it (or dont try to turn your hand). Once you have that under control, then you can start adding turn with the hand.
I teach that you cant hook it properly until you can roll it straight properly. Also helps on spares.

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Then a wiki video reference. The wiki is a treasure trove, be sure to check it out, articles, videos and more.
These tips from Kegel are worth consideration
http://wiki.bowlingchat.net/wiki/index. ... ence_video

Hope you and yours profit from this and and have many years of enjoyment from this great sport.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:52 pm Post Number: #3 Post
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Back in the day, when I was throwing a polyurethane ball, that’s all I ever did was throw a straight ball. I feel as though the straight Ball is something that I have mastered just out of necessity, if nothing else.

So now I have this semi-responsive ball, which will work all by itself, and I’ve got a learn how to control it. I don’t want to add to that, by having a “pinky” issue.

That’s not to say of course, that when I’m trying to get my second ball to complete a spare, I won’t want to bowl straight at the pins, because there will be times when I do want that.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:17 pm Post Number: #4 Post
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The pinky can play a very important role in release. I've tucked my pinky since I started bowling. For me since I've been doing it for so long I don't notice the minor changes in reaction I see from my ball. But for someone like you who's getting back into it you might see a major change in ball reaction. Keeping it closer or tucked in will increase rotation a hair because it makes your hand want to naturally rotate around the side of the ball more.

Rotation plays a major role in how we see ball reaction. Higher rotation will see more snappy like reaction in the back, and lower rotation will see a more subtle change in reaction. The more the pinky is out the lower your rotation will be. The closer it is the more you will see.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:43 pm Post Number: #5 Post
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I’ve tried taping it to my ring finger, and I’ve tried not taping it to my ring finger, and I think yesterday’s results showed me that I don’t need to tape it anymore; but I’m willing to, if I have to. The one thing I DON’T imagine myself doing, is curling it under. Sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:32 am Post Number: #6 Post
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Curling it under like I do is an accident waiting to happen if you are not flexible in that joint. I have a flexible wrist and apparently flexible enough fingers. If you do decide to curl it make sure the ring finger is dropped a hair and or pitched properly. Not only will it relieve possible joint pain, but be much more comfortable to try to release the ball cleanly.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:35 am Post Number: #7 Post
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I’m making the assumption that curling the pinky under, is essentially “getting it outa the way,” yes? Not letting it influence the ball?

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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:42 am Post Number: #8 Post
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It gets it out of the way in that it doesn't really influence ball reaction majorly for me. Just years of doing it has become habit for me not to tuck the pinky finger. The only influence it does for me is that subconsciously it reminds me to lead with the ring finger more. This way it helps me to try to be behind the ball more.

The reason is that I use to spin the ball a lot. My track was very low and I had tilt that was nearing 30 degrees. Now my tilt is half of that. What I did to reduce tilt was a wrist brace and lots of practice fixing other things with my mechanics that really helped to teach me to get my hand behind the ball and roll it instead of spinning it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:45 pm Post Number: #9 Post
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It’s odd to hear you talk about trying to reduce your spending of the ball. Seems like the conversations that I’ve been having with most of the bowlers around here has to do with increasing the amount of spin. Unless I misunderstood what you were saying the people around here are encouraging the spin rather than the forward roll, for the purposes of the hook that’s needed, in order to get into the pocket at 3°.

Back in the 80s I was using a wrist support, and it was mostly to keep my hands from being at a 90° backward bend to my forearm, when I release the ball. Now I don’t use a wrist support at all, and I manage to get behind the ball and then spin up off the side at a slight angle. I bring the tape with me in my bag, if I decide I want to tape off my pinky, but I’m still getting used to this new ball, so it’s gonna take a while to figure out the best approach for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:35 pm Post Number: #10 Post
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Rotation is encouraged in creating ball reaction. Spin is not. Think of a top. That is almost how I used to release the ball. For me I would like a little less rotation because I like subtle moves on the backend as opposed to huge snappy moves on the back.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinky Position
 Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:49 pm Post Number: #11 Post
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I saw some people suggested tucking your pinky for a stronger finger grip


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