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Sunday, October 9th, 2005, 4:47 pm

Bowling and Spinning

Roy bowls

The least hideous photo snatched by my sister
(against my will, I am urged to point out)

SINCE I rarely post items about my personal life, I decided to make an exception today. On my very recent vacation, I taught myself a valuable lesson in bowling — a lesson that cost me an entire game that was filled with gutter balls and oddities. It was a game of exploration and experimentation.

I decided that I wanted to master ball curling, thus hitting the pins much like the pros while spinning the ball elegantly. This ended up far more successfully than I had imagined and I would like to share tips based on my amateur experience.

  • Firstly, I count my steps (approximately 4) as I walk backwards to identify a good starting position, ensuring that I throw as my left foot stomps forward
  • I approach the track by treading across the left side rather close to the gutter. This turns out to be helpful as I am right-handed, hence I must spin to the left
  • Bending of the wrist gives the ball its spin. The grip with the ball is rather steady when the wrist is perpendicular with respect to the forearm. I was once told that by a childhood friend who played in the leagues.
  • The ball must be thrown in a sharp angle so that it nearly collapses onto the right gutter. Otherwise, it may spin to the left too early.
  • To give the ball little time to travel before it changes direction, the throw must be fast. The speed also gives extra power, which is crucial.

My main problems were often too much of a spin or reluctance to let the ball approach the gutters. It is simply adverse to instincts. Ultimately, I managed to consistently hit the pins at almost 30 degrees (towards the end of the track) and I had almost no gutter balls. As bowling is very repetitive, I need more experience. Nonetheless, I hit a few admirable strikes and spares that day, all of which involved a sharp spin and very powerful impact.

Up until a week ago I hit the pins by chucking the ball straight down the middle. At the age of 16 or thereabouts I hit 140+ at my best. Without hitting the pins diagonally it is rather hard to achieve high scores. I look at my transition to the spin as a form of long-term ‘investment’. I also find it much more rewarding to practice and for others to observe.

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