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Questions about release, pin carry and targeting – June 2009

Q: I’ve recently been topping the ball when I throw it. It kind of spins instead of rolls.
Any suggestions?

A: You’re probably bending the elbow during the release rather than keeping your arm straight. During your practice sessions, concentrate on keeping your hand behind the ball during the release, and keeping the arm straight through the follow-through. Also, concentrate on keeping the arm right next to your body throughout the release. Practice tip: Put a small towel between the inside of the arm and the upper portion of your armpit, and try to keep the towel in place throughout the swing.

Q: I am having trouble carrying the 10-pin on what seem like very solid pocket hits. When I move deeper and use a more direct line, I start leaving a lot of 4-pins and 4-9 splits.

A: You may be using a bowling ball that is too aggressive. Your ball is hooking too sharply in the back portion of the lane, and that means there is very little deflection as it goes through the pins, which leads to all the corner pins. Work with your pro shop operator to get a drill pattern and surface that is less aggressive in the backend. This should lead to a little more deflection and better carry of those pesky corner pins.

Q: I heard on a PBA telecast that Wes Malott targets at the foul line. Have there been any other successful bowlers who do that, and why would a bowler want to target that way?

A: Glenn “Mr. 900” Allison also targeted at the foul line, and there probably are a few others. While I can’t speak for Wes, that technique generally is employed to keep one from lifting up on the ball during the release. This allows a smoother ball path through the head portion of the lane. A smoother ball path provides a more consistent “read” of the lanes, thus making his adjustments more precise.

Q: I have just returned to the game after a 25-year hiatus. I average 188 and have just bought a ball that hooks too much for me to control. I still have my old balls from 25 years ago — an LT-48 and Edge. How would these bowling balls compare in hook and length?

A: As they say — and this could also describe my bowling career — they were good in their time, but their time has passed. The LT-48 was the first soft-shelled rubber bowling ball, and on today’s surfaces and conditioners, it would go almost totally straight down the lane. The same could be said about the Edge, which was an early urethane ball. Either might be good for a spare ball. I’d suggest you consult with your pro shop operator and explain the problems with the new ball. A different layout may be called for, or perhaps a different ball that will go a bit straighter with less back-end hook.