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How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 27th, 2023, 5:14 am
by Stylez78
Hey all so I'm looking for some advice and I will try to keep this as short as possible:

With just getting back to bowling and being roughly 45 and not as athletic as I was in my 20's, I found that my approach was shakey when returning, like I felt unsteady. I ended up buying better shoes, KR StrikeForce Rage shoes, ones where you can change the velcro slide pad and the heel as well. I started out with Slide pad 8 with the hard rubber heel. About a month ago on league night when I went to slide I stuck REALLY bad, now I don't know if it was something on the approach (I checked and never found anything) or if I went too much on the front of my foot when I slide and hit the rubber toe tip, I can't be sure but pretty much all 6'3 280lb (plus 15lb for the ball) went head first in the air full force about 8 feet out into the lane. I stuck so bad that my actual shoe came off. I am still trying to figure out if my pride hurt more or my elbow and knee which I landed on (both still hurt a month later it was a bad fall). After adrenaline kicked in and the typical male, i'm good! I'm good! I continued out the set and went on my merry way.

Fast forward 4 weeks, and every single time I get on that lane it is in my head. I hesitate on that last slide step and never feel easy about it or want to put everything into that slide. I was trying to practice a power step to get more into my game and that is all but gone because I cannot trust my foot work. I still feel at times I don't get the slide I want, I stop short or abruptly. I changed to a #10 slide and while it "slides" more still doesn't feel right and I actually feel more like I slide out to the side making it worse. I am going to try a slide in the heel and see if that helps but I'm at a loss. In all the years I bowled, I never thought about falling or my lower half as much as I am now and I think it is holding me back.

So I am hoping maybe you all have some ideas or maybe some drills I could try to help slowly regain that confidence that I'm not going to go airborne onto the lane again and I can start working on parts of my game where I need that sure footing confidence. I appreciate any advice anyone can share or provide, I'm willing to try anything at this point!

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 27th, 2023, 2:49 pm
by TomaHawk
Falling on the approach is one of the more tramatic events that can happen in a bowling environment. It happens suddenly / unexpectedly. That sensation sends just about any person into a life preservation mode. Getting your confidence back will depend on you getting comfortable again.

In today's bowling environment, there is less and less attention paid to the presence of foreign substances on the approach surface. A lot of modern house bowlers do not slide, they're oblivious to the condition of the approach. In many centers, there is very little distance between the concourse and the actual bowling area. Anything a person steps in is almost instantly transferred to approach surface.

Advice, purchase a pair of shoe covers or change your shoes if you feel a need to leave the bowling area. A lot of bowlers take it a step further. They keep their shoe cover on, taking it off just before they step onto the approach, and immediately put them back on after their turn is over.

Physically, there are a lot of options in terms of finding the right slide / heel combinations that work for your particular needs. Slide soles are numbered all the way up to #12 now, 12 being the most slide. Heels range from rippled (full stop) to red leather (maximum slide). I think you're at a point where you can stay from the combinations that provide full stop.

It would be great if you could find some time to practice too. You won't be practicing for score, but to get comfortable with the approach again. Your start position should be much closer to the foul line, gradually moving back after of few shots.

One thing to be aware of, your starting point might be different than when you were 20 years old. Try to be open minded about what feels comfortable. You may find, comfort is starting about 1-2ft closer to the foul line.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 27th, 2023, 3:23 pm
by kajmk
Stylez78

See if this helps, I think it's a valuable tip.
Steve Cook 6'7" bowled PBA there is probably plenty of video of the gracefull big man out there.
Btw he and Mike Aulby are brothers in law. Mike is a least 1 foot shorter. 😲
Look, listen,learn, practice.





I some cases a graduated practice progression can be a good bridge to success.
1) Break down into component parts. This is what Shannon is doing here.
2) Without a ball
3) With a prop that has a bit of weight.

Also, recording yourself and reviewing after the shot can be helpful.
Working with an observer can help.

Note, sometimes our brain does not realize precisely what our body is doing. Proprioception is that sense of where, what and when our body is doing!
There is also slight delay between action and perception (Coach Gauger wrote of that).



The thread below has some discussion and illustration of footwork.
The Jowdy tip on the slide is good.
Of course, Holman slid for a mile ... But that was a different era and his shoes hat a flat heal I believe. Marshall practically sprinted to the line .

viewtopic.php?f=4&hilit=Jowdy&t=10736&s ... de47f32f9c

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 30th, 2023, 9:19 pm
by Stylez78
I appreciate the replies. I have been trying to practice and get this out of my head. I was trying to practice more of a power step into my slide but since the fall I have been hesitating a lot because it was a bad fall.

Fast forward to today I went to practice with my son. I was using my #10 slide and my #7 heel. It felt super slick, to the point I couldn't keep my balance and figured let me try my #8 sole again. I placed it on and went to bowl and BOOM, stuck again and fell to my knees on the lane. I was like WTF!!!!! I was so pissed, so angry I wanted to pack my stuff and just leave. I've NEVER fallen in my life and now 2 times in about a month span. I do not know if it is this particular pad or if it is a defect maybe in the shoe? I am more of a toe slider, so I get more weight on the front part of my foot and wonder if it is catching somehow? I don't know but since I went to the #10 slide I never felt like I stuck, it just made me feel more unbalanced as again I am about 280lbs and I'm probably not 100% finishing with my foot in a position under my body to support my weight, but it never made me feel like falling like I have.

So at this point that #8 pad I have burned. I was going to buy a #8 pad but then debated if I should try a different pair of shoes instead and see if maybe it the shoe design? I really don't want to spend $150 or more on shoes ( Current Shoes are KR strikeforce rage), it just REALLY REALLY discouraging and now after falling twice...pffft my head is all F'd up with really bad mojo.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 30th, 2023, 10:07 pm
by TomaHawk
Nothing is simple in this game anymore. There are so many different types of lane surfaces it'll make a person's head spin. That does not include the overall condition of the surface either.

You should stay with the shoe / heel combination that allows you to slide. Sure, it may feel like you can barely stand up, your body will get comfortable with that sensation. (That is why I recommended starting close to the foul line and moving back gradually).

In all my years of doing lessons and seminars, the number one thing people have the most difficult time accepting, we all change. Even the greatest athletes retire, not because they are mentally incapable, but physically, they cannot replicate fundamental movements. Their number one comment: "Yes, but I used to it this way".

We can make adjustments and still be effective if we let it happen.

You mentioned the power step. That is one of the more difficult aspects of the approach and is more suitable for an individual with quicker reflexes. Instead of a power step, slow down the second to the last step. Let your slide foot take you to the foul line comfortably. It will take a some practice, but you'll get it.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 30th, 2023, 10:36 pm
by Stylez78
TomaHawk wrote: July 30th, 2023, 10:07 pm Nothing is simple in this game anymore. There are so many different types of lane surfaces it'll make a person's head spin. That does not include the overall condition of the surface either.

You should stay with the shoe / heel combination that allows you to slide. Sure, it may feel like you can barely stand up, your body will get comfortable with that sensation. (That is why I recommended starting close to the foul line and moving back gradually).

In all my years of doing lessons and seminars, the number one thing people have the most difficult time accepting, we all change. Even the greatest athletes retire, not because they are mentally incapable, but physically, they cannot replicate fundamental movements. Their number one comment: "Yes, but I used to it this way".

We can make adjustments and still be effective if we let it happen.

You mentioned the power step. That is one of the more difficult aspects of the approach and is more suitable for an individual with quicker reflexes. Instead of a power step, slow down the second to the last step. Let your slide foot take you to the foul line comfortably. It will take a some practice, but you'll get it.
I totally appreciate the reply!! The one thing I have come to accept is that I am not what I used to be physically. Last time I bowled competitively I was 25 and weighed 215lb and was fit. Now I am 45 280lbs, 2 back and 2 shoulder surgery later and I def am not the same guy.

When I fell the first time, I was doing my normal always approach, nothing different, no power step (that was just something I worked on in practice trying to get my ball speed up). When I fell today same thing, normal approach I have always done but each time the feel was boom instant stop! not a slide...stick fall. It was instant stop once I went into the slide. This is what got me thinking that maybe it the shoe? Maybe I went too much on the toe and it instantly caught and made me fall? Again no video so can't really asses what happened. It just seem VERY coincidental the second I went back to the #8 sole which I used when I fell the first time, it was instant fall.

I don't want to right away try new $200 shoes, so I am buying buckskin leather sole and will cut it to size and try that in relation to the #10 slide and see if I can still get acceptable slide but feel more in control. That is a $20 try and if that doesn't help I can do as you suggest stay in the #10 and eventually try a new shoe design. It just confidence crushing at this point.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 31st, 2023, 2:00 pm
by bksmith81
My thoughts on this.

Of all the soles you may have, is this #8 the only one that you are having a sticking problem with? If so, I would try just replacing it with a new #8.

From my own experience, I have had random times where I would out of the blue stick on a shot. I use Dexter shoes and a #8 sole. When I experience a stick, before my next shot, I rub my slide foot under the ball return....area is usually a little dusty. This usually solves my issue and I will usually continue doing that for at least the rest of the game/series. That has usually solved my issue of sticking. What is fun is when you get to the line and your foot slides way too much.......in that instance, I think about my approach, take my time....to figure out what is going on....

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: July 31st, 2023, 11:31 pm
by Stylez78
bksmith81 wrote: July 31st, 2023, 2:00 pm My thoughts on this.

Of all the soles you may have, is this #8 the only one that you are having a sticking problem with? If so, I would try just replacing it with a new #8.

From my own experience, I have had random times where I would out of the blue stick on a shot. I use Dexter shoes and a #8 sole. When I experience a stick, before my next shot, I rub my slide foot under the ball return....area is usually a little dusty. This usually solves my issue and I will usually continue doing that for at least the rest of the game/series. That has usually solved my issue of sticking. What is fun is when you get to the line and your foot slides way too much.......in that instance, I think about my approach, take my time....to figure out what is going on....
Thanks! I purchased a new #8 leather buckskin sole to try out, I also bought a #8 Microfiber one as well. I went back to a new alley today and while using the #10 and #7 combo my slide was really long actually caused the foul buzzer to go off a few times, I had to take a half step back on the approach. This alley had much better approach it felt then my typical house, so going to see how the new #8 work once they come in, if they don't i'll stick with #10 at my league house.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: August 1st, 2023, 1:49 am
by TomaHawk
All bowling centers are different. If you find a combination that works at a certain center, it would be a good idea to make a note.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: August 2nd, 2023, 12:16 pm
by bksmith81
As mentioned, no two bowling centers are the same.

What are the approaches like at your center, synthetic or wood? Synthetic is more susceptible to humidity than wood approaches.

Another option in addition to having multiple soles is to have one of those slide socks with you.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: August 2nd, 2023, 2:15 pm
by walterp
Maybe a new 10 sole will help with the tacky approaches, or even a 9 sole.

Re: How to regain confidence in my approach

Posted: August 2nd, 2023, 3:16 pm
by kajmk
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I bowled, one of my pre shot routines was to test out my slide sole on the approach as I took my stance. Yes we did wear shoes back then :lol:
That would not be a bad habit.
Some variables:
Frequency and degree of the sticking
Circumstance, i.e. any thing special about the shot
Variance in pre shot self talk, keep all verbiage POSITIVE avoid NEGATIVE such as Don't stick, replace that with Glide, or something similar.

You can't really watch your feet during competition, though Brian Voss in Bare Bones Bowling mentioned watching your feet when learning.
Proprioception is the sense of what our body is doing, such as briskly climbing stairs, or walking, i.e. distance and position of the feet, i.e. toes up, down, level.

Rule out a flaw in execution or an aberration.
Video your self with camera to detect red flags.

My inclination is to suspect execution. It takes a long time to form a habit.
Practice the technique, without a ball, break it down in to component parts, eventually add a weighted prop.

At your age, proprioception should not be an issue.

Unfortunately, the myriad of shoe options has added complexity.
I believe Linds Classic Bowling shoes are still available.
Simple Buckskin soles.
A shoe like that might serve you well as a training shoe.

Submit a video for folks to observe, perhaps someone can spot an area of concern.

I hope that you will get over this problem and enjoy the sport.