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Use and distribution of this article is subject to our terms and conditions
whereby's information and copyright must be included. BowlVersity Q & A Part 4 wishes to continue to share with our readers a few of the many questions we receive related to articles posted on our site. This BowlVersity Q & A Part 4 article features three questions sent to us by our community guests. We would like to address these questions randomly submitted as comments and provide the fourth in an ongoing series of articles known as BowlVersity Q & A Part 4.

We hope our responses to these questions below lead to helping you improve your bowling game. Most of the responses are to questions we received from bowlers ranging from beginners to 180 average players.

As we indicated in our first articles in this series, if you are an advanced player or a highly skilled and experienced player, you are most welcome to join in and offer your comments with the intent of sharing your knowledge from your personal experiences on the lanes with our fellow bowlers. We cannot possibly keep our responses to questions short and direct in content without omitting information which could expand the range of answers to a more acceptable level, thus another reason we invite you to share your thoughts by making a comment under the posted article and help us pass along useful ideas.

Here are the three questions for this article addressing issues most beginning bowlers encounter:

Q. I am a person who has never bowled before and wish to learn how I can get started?

A. The first thing we recommend to get properly started in the game is to do the following:

a. Find a local or nearby certified bowling instructor or a bowling professional to schedule you for a lesson or for a series of personalized lessons so you can learn the important fundamentals of the physical game and also learn bowling etiquette and on-lane courtesies. Start by interviewing bowling center management personnel, pro shop professionals, and read local bowling newspapers and magazines for names of experienced bowling instructors who are able to get you started the right way.

b. Once you determine who you coach will be, schedule the lessons and be ready to invest in a new bowling ball and bowling shoes. If you choose to use a house ball at the local bowling center, at the very least purchase your own bowling shoes so you get a consistent slide each time you bowl as well as comfort and stability. Avoid renting bowling shoes whenever possible. You will actually pay for your own shoes over time by no longer having to rent shoes each time you visit the bowling center.

c. Make sure you leave your coaching session with prepared notes recapping the key fundamentals of the physical game which you learned during the lesson. Often, the coach will provide you a recap of the key training points covered during the session. If not, make you own notes. Build a practice outline so you are sure to work on all the key fundamentals of the game covered during the lesson. For each lesson you take, try and practice at least twice per week so you do not forget what you learn and so you develop a good feel and mental pictures relating to the components of the physical game.

Trying to learn the game without guidance from an experienced instructor only prolongs the time to learn correctly and can be a frustrating process. Often, taking a lesson will cost you less than the cost of a new bowling ball. It is a relatively inexpensive way to learn the game. We offer many articles to read and videos to hear relating to the physical game in the "BowlVersity" section of our site. Please keep us posted as to how you are progressing in the game and welcome to our world of bowling.

Q. I have recently completed a series of lessons and am learning the game. I really enjoy bowling. My coach has suggested I buy myself a new ball to make sure I get a properly fitting ball. Any suggestions on which ball I should choose?

A. All the leading brands provide quality equipment and are worth purchasing. The important thing here are to make a decision whether you want to purchase a plastic ball or an entry level urethane or reactive resin ball as your initial selection. The plastic coverstock will give you minimum traction on the lane surface and has the least amount of hook potential compared to all other types of coverstocks. Experienced players generally choose plastic balls for spare shooting since the amount of hook is reduced and the ball is easy to control or for use on very dry lanes where the ball is prone to hook uncontrollably.

Regular urethane coverstock balls are the next level up in gaining hook potential. Urethane balls create more surface friction and will hook slightly more than plastic coverstocks but also will provide a predictable ball reaction.

Reactive resin balls will create greater surface friction and will grip the lane and hook more than plastic or urethane coverstock bowling balls. The risk is losing some control when the ball hooks when shooting spares until you become proficient at spare shooting techniques. If you are not planning on investing in multiple bowling balls right away, then purchase either a regular urethane coverstock or a mild reactive coverstock ball depending on your overall budget. We certainly recommend you consult with your coach as to how to have the ball drilled (fingertip grip or conventional grip) depending on your progress in the game. Your pro shop professional can help you with determining the drilling layout.

Q. I am a right handed bowler struggling with picking up the ten pin spare. Any tips for me please?

A. Without knowing your present alignment technique and walking pattern to the foul line nor knowing anything about your release, we can only give you a few suggestions to try and improve your percentage of 10 pin spare conversions. Make sure you move to the far left side of the approach with your slide foot aligned with the left edge of the lane. Influence your toes of your bowling shoes slightly facing the 10 pin standing on the pin deck.

If you hook the ball, sight to the right of the center arrow about 15 feet past the foul line, perhaps two or three boards to the right, and allow for the ball to hook slightly and still maintain its direction toward the spare. If you roll the ball very straight or use a plastic ball which does not hook a great deal, use the center arrow. You may have to modify your starting position on the approach slightly to achieve just the right angle of delivery to the 10 pin spare.

Walk your line and do not drift excessively to the center of the approach. Drifting to the center of the approach will reduce an effective angle to the spare and the ball will either miss to the inside of the spare by hooking away too soon or fall into the channel.

The number one reason bowlers miss the ten pin spare is because of drifting off of the desired walking path created by the initial alignment on the approach. The other most common reason bowlers miss the ten pin spare is because of ball speed changes, usually trying to deliver the ball much faster than normal or by using a ball which hooks more than needed when rolling the ball toward the corner of the lane on very dry boards.

Follow through toward the target on the lane and avoid turning your shoulders and hips away from an alignment which allows you to deliver the ball accurately.

These tips should help you improve converting the ten pin spare.

We thank the bowlers who shared their questions with us for this article. We hope our responses serve a useful purpose. Feel free to offer your comments; they are most welcomed. Be sure to check the "Improve Your Game" link in "BowlVersity" on the home page of our site for future posts. Thank you.

Rich Carrubba

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