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Manipulating Release

Excerpt from Bowling Fundamentals - Second Edition By Michelle Mullen


Because controlling the midlane is the key, how you manipulate your release is equally important. As with ball surface, more back end reaction is not always the solution.

When a ball is not finishing, the problem is often that it slid too long. Although you see that the ball is not hooking on the back end, it is likely that it did not hook soon enough. If you try to turn the ball more to create more hook on the back end, you will only perpetuate the problem further delaying your ball’s reaction.

Because you really need to get the ball to roll sooner to change direction to the pocket earlier on the lane, you actually need to stay behind it longer to create more forward roll. More roll and a stronger cover with more friction are the key here, not a ball with more back end or putting more turn on it at release. Trying to create more backend to hook a lane that is not hooking much does not produce the desired results.

A ball that slides too long is a common problem. Conversely, you actually could be in a situation in which your ball is too strong for the conditions. In this case, the ball is using its energy way too soon for the amount of oil on the lane, causing it to start hooking and lose so much energy that it has nothing left to give on the back end of the lane. This is called roll-out.

Sometimes detecting whether the ball is sliding too long or rolling out early is more easily determined when you totally miss the pocket one way or another. However, when you are in the pocket and you are not carrying, it is not always easy to tell the difference between a ball that is sliding too long or one that is rolling out. In the first case, the ball does not use up its energy soon enough; in the latter case, it uses up its energy too soon, or rolls out and just dies at the pins. In either case, the ball’s energy is just not right to strike. You can change the ball or your release to fine-tune the ball’s reaction into the pocket.

Some bowlers are limited by the equipment they have to conquer conditions. You may need a stronger ball to get into a roll sooner to handle more oil. Or, you may need a weaker ball to handle the lighter volume of oil on the lane, adjust to lanes that break down quickly, or simply stay in an area you like to play.

If you do not have additional equipment, you have to make other adjustments, such as in your release or perhaps your speed to do the best you can to strike. However, be advised that release adjustments, and especially speed adjustments, are advanced concepts that are not easily mastered. When striking becomes difficult, it is a sign that you need more equipment to handle the conditions you are bowling on. You may need to develop your main release or multiple releases to effectively change the ball’s reaction on the lane.

You have to play within your means, and I always say, “Let necessity dictate.” If you are finding that you are frequently on a condition that you are not able to score well on, that is a sign that you need another ball. At that point, discuss this need with a reputable pro shop operator to determine how to fit another piece of equipment into your arsenal.

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