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Ask Bob (March 2017)

by Bob Korth


Q. I am in the middle of a terrible slump. Do
you have any preferred slump busters?

A. There are several things you can do to bust a slump. First you have to remember you haven’t forgot how to bowl. What happens in a slump is you have lost confidence in your game and many times it is just mental. When you lose confidence the you begin to press. You begin to try and figure out what you are doing wrong. You start trying to place the ball instead of roll it. You begin to squeeze the ball and the arm-swing get’s very tight. I myself have just been going through a month long slump myself. I am beginning to come out of it now. Here is what I have been doing to break this slump. I went to practice and all I tried to do was loosen up my arm-swing. I worked on relaxing my hand, use a softer grip. Then just relax the shoulders and visualize the ball just hanging like it was on the end of a string. Keep my arm as loose as I could and just let the ball roll off my hand at release. Do not care at first where the ball goes just look for the feel of a very easy and relaxed swing. This is the most difficult thing to do when you are trying to score and your confidence is down. Do this for a couple of practice sessions before you put pressure back on yourself to score. You have to build trust in your swing again and start to have some fun again. Then while still in practice try shooting for score but be aware of staying with the relaxed arm- swing and you will see that you will begin to score again and best of all it will become fun again.

Q. How many different spare combinations are there in bowling?

A. Now I did not figure this out on my own but I looked it up and what I found was there are 1,023 different spare combinations. Many of these are very unusual combinations but it does show you the value of a sound spare shooting system. Also the value of practicing spares during your practice sessions. A twist on bowling for practice is to play low-ball. Try to knock down the least amount of pins you can. To play low-ball you shoot for the seven or the ten pin on the first ball. If you miss and go in the gutter on the first ball that is a strike for that frame. You must hit at least one pin on each ball, so on your 2nd ball if you go in the gutter or don’t hit a pin that is a spare. After both balls if you leave five pins standing then your count is five. A perfect game is 20. Good luck on doing that. This is a great game for working on spares and is a nice variation on just throwing shots with no purpose in practice. It keeps spare practice interesting.

Q. I am getting a new ball and I have been having problems with hanging up in the thumb at release. What thumb pitch is best?

A. Thumb pitches in a bowling ball are like finger prints. They are different for everyone. Someone with a short span or very flexible fingers can use a zero or even plus pitch in the thumb. Conversely someone with a long span or very stiff fingers will require varying amounts of reverse pitch in the thumb hole. So the answer is I don’t know but your local pro shop operator will know so place your trust in her/him. They should watch you bowl, check your hand and decide the best thumb pitch for you.

Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine.

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