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Questions about release, carrydown and adjustments – January 2009

Q: How do you get the ball to skid farther down the lane without moving your line or changing bowling balls?

A: There are a couple of tricks you can use to achieve this goal. The first is to extend the follow-through toward the intended target on the lane. The second is to move your target farther down the lane. If, for example, you target at the dots, simply move the target to the arrows. Both of these techniques will extend the skid of the ball, because they allow you to subconsciously alter components of your physical game. When practicing either of these techniques, make sure you stay down with your body, so as not to pull up on the ball during the release.

Q: What is carrydown and how do I move when this occurs?

A: Today’s bowling balls are very porous and they actually pick up lane conditioner every time they roll down the lanes. This causes the lane conditioner to be moved from its original location to farther down the lane. This effect is called carry-down. Carrydown can cause confusion for bowlers; they often see bowling balls that were hitting the pocket a few frames earlier suddenly missing the pocket by two or three boards on a similarly thrown shot. You must make adjustments when this effect occurs and it is wise to know what other bowling balls in your bag will do and/or where to move. In most cases, a move inward is the correct move, as you will find less friction in the head portion of the lane and cleaner backends. This really is, though, an inexact science, so it would be wise to keep track of your moves and remember them for future sessions. Because there are different types of lane conditioners and different types of lane surfaces, there is plenty
of information to store in the back of your head.

Q: I bowl in travel leagues and tournaments. What is a good system for making moves on the lanes when they transition during competition?

A: You must have a good understanding of your bowling balls and how they react on varying lane conditions. I saw one bowler who actually had a small notebook explaining ball reactions on various lane conditions. Secondly, you must have a good understanding of when you are throwing the ball well and when you are throwing the ball poorly. I have seen many bowlers make moves based on poor shots, rather than actual lane changes. Once you have a good feeling for these factors, I suggest moving inward on the lanes in most cases. This should be a gradual move, two or three boards maximum each time. You will find that most bowlers prefer making their moves inward.

Q: I am a new PBA member and recently bowled in one of the new PBA Experience leagues. For the most part, my ball rolled perfectly straight. I played all different lines – with the same results. Can you give me some ideas about bowling on these types of bowling conditions?

A: The PBA Experience leagues, for the most part (with the probable exception of the Cheetah pattern), go longer with the lane conditioner than your normal league shot, so now is probably a good time to go back to your pro shop operator and evaluate your bowling equipment. I would suggest trying a duller surface bowling ball that might allow for more friction in the front portion of the lane. Additionally, I would continue to bowl in that PBA experience league before you even think about competing against other PBA bowlers. Averaging well enough on a “typical house shot” to join the PBA is one thing, but bowling well enough to compete with the more experienced and better informed players on the Regional and Lumber Liquidators circuits is something entirely different. You need to hone your game at home before taking that next step (and it’s a big one).

Q: I watch the PBA television show on a regular basis and I have one question that constantly comes up in tight matches. Sometimes it seems that the bowler throws a perfect shot and they leave a 10-pin. Is there a reason for this or is it just bad luck?

A: There are several reasons why a bowler might leave a 10-pin. One type of 10-pin is the weak pocket hit, where the 6-pin just falls into the channel and doesn’t move. This is because the ball did not hit solid in the pocket, but rather hit a little bit “light.” Another type of 10-pin is the solid variety, where the 6-pin flies high around the neck of the 10-pin. This occurs when the ball hits with too much power and/or the wrong entry angle and sends the pins air-born.