Top Tips - June 2012 - Pulling The Ball
My teammates say that the greatest flaw in my game is that I often pull the ball. What can I do to stop pulling it?Richard Jacobson Answers...
PULLING THE BALL inside your target could be caused by one of the following:
- Grip. If your span is too short, thumbhole too small, or if it is pitched at an angle that won’t allow you to release the ball cleanly, you’ll tug your shot. Have a reputable pro shop operator examine your grip to determine if it properly fits your hand. Thumb inserts should be considered if you’re using a reactive resin ball.
- Alignment. If you have a medium build and stand more than 10 boards away from your target (for example, standing 25 and looking 10), it’s possible that you won’t be able to play that intended line. If that’s the case, open your angle by shifting your heels in a bit, with your toes pointing more toward your target. This sets your armswing so you can play that line effectively.
- Swing. This happens when your pushaway drifts too far outside your body. Once you initiate your swing direction this way, the ball naturally swings behind you in your backswing and reverse loops on the downswing. Whoops! — a tug! The solution is to hold the ball more inside your body between your shoulder and your sternum. In the first step of a four-step approach — or second step of a five — position the ball over your foot. You might feel like you’re pushing inside, but that’s the proper feeling. Putting the ball in motion this way promotes a backswing that’s more “in the slot,” so hitting your target becomes much easier. Consult your pro shop professional for the best advice about the best swing direction for your game.
Mike D'Ambrosio Answers...
MANY BOWLERS HAVE the common problem of pulling the ball.
To correct this flaw, first check your target. If you are drifting more than a few boards, your body alignment could be at fault. Another sign of poor alignment would be that your eyes are coming off your target too soon, leading to poor body position at the foul line.
The best advice is to simply keep your eyes on your target. Easier said than done, I know. So look at your intended target even beyond the point of release. That’s because the armswing will follow where your eyes go. If you look up prematurely, or don’t keep your eyes riveted on the target until after the ball is out of your hand, you have more of a tendency to pull the ball. Create a visual path through the lane using the focal point method. A tighter, longer visual target line through your intended target will allow a better followthrough and release.
Hand position is critical. Your release will have a tendency to follow the direction in which your thumb is pointing. When your thumb points toward the target, it induces a proper launch direction and a cleaner point of release. Proper form at the foul line will help your eyes stay on your target longer.
Practice visualization and mental rehearsal to master the path you want the ball to travel. Practice these methods during your quality practice time and reinforce them during your pre-shot routine. Remember, you don’t throw a bowling ball, you roll it. So allow the ball to release off your hand without grabbing it at the bottom of the swing.
Richard Jacobson is the Assistant Coach of the Sacred Heart Lady Pioneers, a two-time NEC champion (2010 and 2012), and 2012 NCAA national fi nalist. A 20-year pro shop operator with Ebonite Overseas Pro Shop Services (Switzerland, Netherlands, South Africa), he’s a two-time Top 100 Coach.
Mike D’Ambrosio is the Assistant Head Coach and Technical Advisor for St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y. A professional instructor for 20 years and a Pro Shop owner for 17, D’Ambrosio is IBPSIA certified, and a Top 100 Coach since 2008. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted with permission from Luby Publishing