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 Post subject: Help with my game please - progress journal
 Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:51 pm Post Number: #1 Post

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Hello everyone

WARNING: Long post ahead, I'm going to use spoiler tags to make this easier to digest.

I've taken my time preparing this post. I appreciate anyone's time reading this.
I'm not looking for a quick fix, I want to seriously improve my game over the course of the next few months. Getting a coaching session is not an option at the moment unfortunately. Maybe you guys can help me out on a few things. I plan on keeping this updated as I (hopefully) make improvements.

Here's a video of one of my recent sessions and a few pictures of my approach and step sequence. Sorry for the bad quality, lights in my bowling center are really bad as is my mobile camera. I'm not good at this video analyzing thing, this was my first try.

Pictures of step sequence:

As you can see, there's plenty of severe issues with my game.

My footwork and timing need a complete overhaul.
My body position needs improvement in lot's of areas
My swing plane is less than ideal to say the least
I'm also muscling the downswing
My Slide / finish position / balance at the foul line is a complete mess

I'm not even going to go into my release issues at this point, as I'm positive that I need to get my basics like footwork and timing corrected first. I'm well aware of most of my problems at release, and there will be a time where I will need to work on that. Some issues will sort itself out by fixing other problems I have, and I have plenty of drills to work on the remaining ones. I will get to that topic though, that's for sure.

Drills I've been trying to incorporate into my practice sessions:

Slansky Foul Line / Release Drill
Slansky hinge / Pushaway Drill
Teen Masters Series Swing & Slide Drill
Teen Master's Series 3 Step – Drill
Teen Master's Series Approach and Steps Drill (yes I've taped my living room floor for this, wife not happy! :lol: )
555 Drill

I've also wanted to share these drills and/or video material which I haven't seen in here before and I found them really helpful.They're japanese and have a weird style, but they make things pretty clear even without understanding the language:

Towel drill for timing & steps:

Another take on the Swing and Slide Drill with some good pointers on biomechanics:

body Position front view again with some pointers on biomechanics, easy to understand for a beginner like me just from just the visuals. I found this really helpful:

Now onto my issues:

For now I've tried to focus on 3 of the issues which I feel are most severe in my game and which need immediate atention. Feel free to point out any other and/or more important problems you see.

Timing: First 2 steps too large, Ball gets into the swing too late, 3rd step too small
Body Position / angle: Not happy with my body position and angling. it looks off and it feels off.
Last 2 steps / finish position: Slide is not in front of pivot step, slide foot and upper body is facing outward instead of towards the target.

I've tried to do some self analysis, because I think it's an important part of improvement.
Since you're the experts here, please feel free to correct me on ANYTHING I've said. I'm probably wrong on a lot of stuff. I've put it in spoilers in case you want to skip it.

First 3 steps:

My first 2 steps are too big and too fast compared to the rest.

As stupid as this sounds, I can't for the life of me figure out on how to change that.
I can do it at home like in the week 3 steps drill, but as soon as a ball is involved, I start doing funny things.
I feel like there's a mental blockade somehow related to wanting to get my right foot out of the way of the ball early enough even though I know there's other methods to prevent that. All this leads to:

Ball gets into the swing too late.

I feel like I need to get the ball into the swing earlier. Ball should get into the swing when the first step touches the ground. With me it's more like ball gets in motion when 2nd step finishes. Again I feel like I'm waiting for my right foot to clear before I drop the ball. It's a wide motion too so it delays the timing even more. So the timing is wrong, and the motion itself is wrong (for what I'm trying to achieve at least)

For the motion itself I've been doing the slansky Pushaway / Hinge drill and it's starting to show improvement, but I can't translate it into my game yet. At the last session I've been trying to hold the Elbow closer to my hips and having the ball a bit lower (both not shown in the videos), really focusing on the hinge motion from the elbow instead of the whole arm and with less forward motion of the arms like in the traditional pushaway. I definitely need more practice sessions for this to make a change..

For the timing of the motion itself, I have actually no idea on how to fix that.
I've tried doing the pushaway deliberately too early to get the ball into the swing faster, I've also tried pushing the ball down with my left hand to no avail.
Some would think that it's not too hard to just let go of the left hand when the 1st step touches the ground, but for me it somehow is.

Combining these issues leads to my 3rd Step being really small and slow. I can literally feel my body slowing down, waiting for the ball. My whole approach is out of sync that way and feels unnatural. Just trying to deliberately make the 3rd step large and fast was showíng some improvement in the following steps and also the mark baker timing point, but I still feel like I need to decrease the length and speed of my first 2 steps (esepcially the 1st) to make the whole approach more natural.

I feel a bit stuck here just doing drills doesn't seem enough, I need to break that mental barrier somehow.

Body Position / Angle

I feel like I need to get lower, but rather than bending the knees and lowering my body from the waist/hips, I just seem to bend forward which is akward. I know how it should look, I've been practicing in front of a mirror, but I can't seem to emulate what I'm seeing. If I knew how the right way would feel, I could try to emulate that feeling.

Pivot / Slide / Finish Position:

I can't figure out how to do the slide in front of my pivot step. I try to point my pivot step toward the target, and slide in front of that step, also towards the target. In reality I'm just not doing it the way I'm trying. As you can see, I'm sliding next to the pivot foot, with my sliding foot pointing outward. I release the ball over my slide foot instead of next to my ankle. Huge chicken wing included.

I assume this has a lot to do with my body positioning and shoulder rotation. My whole body is facing outwards, even when I want to play a somewhat straight line. I feel like this is a result of me incorrectly trying to open my hips and shoulders and get low for release.
The straighter the line, the less pronounced this is.

I've been doing the 3 Step Drill to counteract the Problem and while it's a little bit better, the issue is still there, just less pronounced. In the drill, the timing of the last 3 steps feels better, there's a bit less muscling of the downswing, but my body angle issues are still very appearant.

As soon as I add the first 2 steps, everything goes down the drain which brings me back to issue 1.

Me finishing so far from the foul line is a problem I only have at that one alley. approach is very sticky there. I've recently switched from S8 soles to S10 soles in that specific bowling center, and that improved that aspect. I still use S8 everywhere else.

Now that was a long post.
If you read it through here, grab yourself a cookie!

I appreciate any help you guys can give me regarding my game.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with my game please - progress journal
 Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:25 pm Post Number: #2 Post
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In order to shorten up the first two steps:

1) Move the ball closer to your body at address.
2) Getting the ball that far away from your body in slide 3 (ball placement step) how could you ever expect to take a short step, you’d probably fall forward if you did.

As for the ball getting into the swing late:

1) Again, the over-exaggerated ball placement in slide 3 effects your timing.
In slide 4 your third step should be your longest step. Practicing the 3-step drill is a great exercise to develop a longer third step. You will need to correct your first two steps and most importantly ball placement distance for the third step to ever get longer in a fill approach.
Also, on the third step I would like to see you increase you forward spine tilt and then maintain that spine angle into the finish position.

Lesson plan:

1) Move ball closer to your body at address, see the red lines in slide 1.
2) During step 1 the only thing moving should be your feet, keep the ball close to your body.
3) During step 2, as you have mentioned during ball keep the right elbow close to the front of your body. See red line in slide 3.
4) From step 2 to 3 keep the right elbow stationary and just allow the right arm to unfold swinging the ball down in a circular arc (blue lines)
5) Work on increasing your forward spine tilt.

There's no magic involved, you are in charge of your body.
Set-up at address, hold the ball close to your body with both hands, practice taking your first two steps shorter.
Do not allow the ball to move away from the body during this two-step drill.

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"Simplify the Motion.....Maximize the Results"

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 Post subject: Re: Help with my game please - progress journal
 Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:02 pm Post Number: #3 Post

Joined: December 6, 2015
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JMerrell wrote:
1) Move ball closer to your body at address, see the red lines in slide 1.
5) Work on increasing your forward spine tilt.

My current favorite practices for these are:
1) Practice throw bowling ball by using two hands and without thumb (like Osku and Jason are doing).
1.1) That "forces" you to correct direction.
2) Practice under arm throws example using tennis ball, etc like on this video (direct link to correct time on video):
2.1) You can do this on home, outside with friend, etc...

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 Post subject: Re: Help with my game please - progress journal
 Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:38 pm Post Number: #4 Post

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Read the instructions from JMerell and stay away from your THS-pattern when you do it. A part of your problem is alignment for THS. In your videos it seems that you go straight to the foul line at the same time you have a launch angle* of -5 to -10 (typical THS play). That results in a swing plane that is in behind the back and out far away from the body in the release.

Launch angle: let say, you release your ball on board 15, the ball hits board 10 (2nd arrow) and then has a break point on board 5. Now you have a launch angle of -5.

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