Bowling Adventure

Ow. I went bowling Monday night, and learned two important lessons.

1.) I’m way out of shape.

2.) I don’t have proper “bowling form” or something, because even accounting for point one, I shouldn’t hurt this much in this myriad of locations. Owie.

I wonder how many bowlers we have on the board…

If you bowl regularly you’ll get over the soreness. I bowl in a weekly league, even though I’m not very good. My average is a 108, although last Sunday I bowled a 176! Woo! Hoo! and beat my average the other two games also. By the end of the season I expect my average to have increased somewhat. I’m getting more consistent and finally developed a hook which should help my average.

My average is 109.

The one tip that I try to follow is that when you throw the ball:
[li]Your thumb should go up, straight up when you release it.[/li][li]when you release the ball it should be a smooth transition from hand to floor. Despite the fact that everyone else heaves and plunks it down the lane[/li][li]practice, practice, practice[/li][/ul]

I don’t bowl often enough to have an average - the previous effort before Monday’s ordeal was four years prior.

I think my hand/grip/release part’s okay… I’m just worried about my stance - it’s my legs and back that are hurting unusually.

My approach to bowling is:

a. Find the lightest ball that I can put my fingers in without fear or dislocation come actual bowling time.

b. Have a few beers.

c. Throw the ball as fast as I can down the lane in the hopes that if it hits something, that something may hit something else.

My results - anywhere from low 60s to 169 (which I got just a couple of weeks ago! That was my all time high!).

But man, the next day I feel like I’ve been rock climbing or something. My right wrist/forearm is sore for at least 48 hours. God help me if I didn’t trim my thumbnails just right too.

A heavier ball will have better follow-through and will knock down more pins.

Until I got on the team I’m on, I thought that would have been a given. Some of the guys on my team don’t drink while they play. I don’t understand that.

F=ma. More mass, a heavier ball say 14 to 16 pounds, at 15 to 16 mph will do more than a 8 or 10 pound ball at 18 to 20 mph. The lighter ball will deflect off the head pin (or whichever you hit) and head towards the gutter without getting more pins. One guy on my team bowls a 16 lb ball and throws it at 21 mph. It’s impressive when he hits the pocket.

Deflection is also why a hook helps.

Another tip: Those little diamond marks a few feet out from the foul line are your target. Choose one of those and roll your ball at them instead of the pins. If you can hit your target with regularity, the ball will hit the pins consistently, too, and it’s easier to aim at them than the pins. Once you find your target, find the right spot to stand using those spots in the approach area. Stand there, hit your target and knock down pins with consistency. You’ll either move your target by a few boards or move your starting point by a few boards depending on what spare you’re trying to get.

I miss bowling.

I had to give it up in November 1987 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My average in the last league I was in before that was 192. I used to make a fair amount of money on the weekends bowling.

I still dream about it at least once a week. It had been a part of my life for so long that it was like having a death in the family.

How exactly does one get the “hook” anyway? I can’t figure it out. Do you still put your fingers in the holes? Obviously I see it’s from the spin on the ball, but does that come from a rotation of the wrist, a general arcing motion and follow-thru, judicious use of vaseline and sandpaper, what? Generally I’d say I average about 110-120. Of course, this is an average that is taken over a period of about 10 years since I bowl about once a year now.

I am a decent bowler, but I always end up in pain afterward. My average (when I have practiced recently) is near 130. My problem is that I am right handed, I approach from the middle target and throw the ball on the far left. It then curves goofy-wise to the middle. After bowling I have some nasty pain along my hip running down my leg. Given the weird way I torque my body this is no mystery to people who have watched me bowl.

I can’t even picture what you’re describing fruitbat; but it does sound painful. I don’t know how a right-handed bowler can hook right.

To hook: Imagine throwing an underhanded spiral with a football. That’s the motion your hand should do to make a hook.

My problem is that I can hook with 2 fingers (no thumb), but not with 3. When you use 3 fingers, where is it in your swing that you rotate your thumb?

I’m glad that someone else did this. I was actually about to start a thread to get people to help me bowl.

Oh, I can hook right. I use it sometimes to pick up the 10 pin if it’s all that I leave standing.

Actually you pull your thumb out before your fingers so that your fingers do the rotation but not your thumb, so you’re close. I switch to straight bowling to pick up the 10 pin. I can’t hook right.

Woo hoo! Something I can reply to with some actual knowledge of. I’m not even close to being a pro, but I have been bowling somewhat regularly for the past 18 or so years (currently have a 180 average).

CandidGamera, leg or back soreness would be from an improper throw. Are you walking up to the line, pausing, and then bending down to throw the ball? This puts extra strain on your lower back and your left leg (if you’re right-handed). A smooth walk-up and throw should be painless with you barely noticing the ball in your hand.

audiobottle, a sore forearm or wrist may be from you using too much of your wrist to throw. A smooth swing doesn’t rely on your wrist, and there exists many products to prevent your wrist from moving. Try swinging the ball more from your shoulder to take the pressure away from your forearm and wrist. The hook of a ball comes from the release. When the ball comes off the hand, the thumb comes out first and while the middle fingers are in the holes (man, does this sound sexual:)) the hand turns 90 degrees. The hand goes from being palm up to up-down (like a handshake). This turn causes the ball to spin and once past the oil on the lane friction takes over and the ball hooks.

fruitbat, you throw a backup ball. It’s not unique, but it is uncommon. A higher percentage of women throw this way (I don’t know why). It comes from turning your wrist the opposite direction of a normal hook shot. Your palm may start somewhat flat but you then turn it towards the outside of your body, possibly with your pinky & ring finder flipping upwards. If you hurt after bowling I would suggest a beginner lesson and learning a more conventional way of throwing a ball. Bowling shouldn’t hurt.

No pause, but the throw may be improper in some other way. I bowl right-handed - definitely a lot of pain in my right leg today, particularly the thigh.

I always notice the ball, though - I can never find a light one. 1.) They don’t generally label them by weight anymore, it seems, and 2.) anything ‘light’ for me has fingerholes that’re way too small.

Hmm seems I lost my complete post. I’ll try again. My apologies if this turns into a double post.

I also enjoy bowling. Last winter I averaged about 195 for the season. Not too shabby for an old guy.

CandidGamera It sounds to me like you may be stopping on the wrong foot. Right handed bowlers should stop on the left foot and there should be little or no strain on the right side of the body at all.

BTW to roll a “hook” one should never impart a “spin”. The hooking action is acieved by releasing the ball, thumb first, and pulling up with the fingers. You want the ball to actually slide with a sideways roll. If you spin it, all that will happen is it’ll just spin on the bottom of the ball all the way down the lane. You want the ball to slide on the oil down the lane sideways untill it reaches the dry part of the lane- 40 to 45 feet. Then the sideways roll will grip and hook toward the pins.

Fairly simplistic I know, But there are ALL kinds of physics that take place and we really don’t need a textbook explanation right now. Do we?

What I noticed last time I went is that if you want POWER in your throws, use your legs. Just like pitcher derives much of his velocity on a fastball, really driving toward the line and using one strong push-off at the end with your “drive leg” will add mph to your ball!