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To Understand the Secret of the 2-Handers, First You Must Trash Some Misconceptions – July 2010 – Par Bowling By Tom Kouros

IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE THAT the television announcers are amazed by the prodigious, sweeping hooks of the “two-handed” bowlers. But why do they herald said bowlers as having the ability to apply many more revolutions on the ball than those bowlers who use the conventional “one-handed” technique? In reality, they don’t.

The secret behind the misperception? Because they have both hands on the ball at release, the two-handers are able to apply substantially more side-roll on the ball. The increased side-roll results in more hook potential. Bowlers are being misled when lift is equated as the principal source of hook. The amount of hook largely is related to the degree of sideroll applied in the delivery.

Initially, lift is a negative, a skid producer. But it can augment the hook potential, especially if the backends are stripped. Put another way, you can apply a thousand revolutions to a bowling ball, but if it is void of side-roll, it will not hook an inch.

Further, I believe the twohanded release should be limited to those with exceptional agility and reflexes. Why? Because those traits are required when using this system.

Most tightrope walkers walk across that wire with a balance pole in hand. Very few have the ability to walk that wire without the pole. Likewise, few bowlers can arrive in balance at the foul line without the help of an extended non-bowling arm.

Another subject is the disturbing mindset among young bowlers who expect overnight success. Granted, equipment and lane conditions have had something to do with this delusional expectation. Then again, when shooting under 600 in a 50-man league brings on a bit of embarrassment, that does tend to distort your perspective.

But as outlandish as some of today’s scores have been, we haven’t crossed the line. Cream still rises to the top, and this requires hard work and dedication. Just ask some of the top pros on the PBA Tour.

Case in point: A few years ago, a middle aged man — let’s call him Charlie — walked into my center and said, “Mr. Kouros, I love to bowl, but I never learned how. I’m in my 50s, semi-retired, and would love to compete on the Senior Tour.” He was convincing, so I took him under my wing. Charlie had never set foot in a bowling center until he was 34. Like thousands of inspired newcomers, he would go down to the center three or four times a week and bowl as many as eight to 10 games in one session. He took no lessons. He was averaging around 170.

After a couple of lessons, his form improved and he began shooting in the high 180s and low 190s. Partially by trial and error, he discovered the secrets to improving, and realized it was a long-term process.

He continued to practice several times a week, but now surrounded himself with players who challenged him to get better. Slowly, he raised his average over 200.

Charlie’s progress demonstrates hopeful truths for bowlers who take up bowling later in life and find themselves wallowing in mediocrity. While they start out way behind those fortunate enough to have been introduced to the game as kids, it’s also true they have no negative experiences clouding their outlook. In other words, they haven’t formed an opinion of where they rank in bowling.

Charlie put no limits on himself. He recognized early on that he had to work hard on both his physical and mental games.

I remember discussing the importance of a preshot routine with him. He took it from there and developed a mantra he called “ooowww” for “flex, step and place.” That’s as good a description as any for launching a five-step approach. Indeed, Charlie worked hard and built his game on a solid foundation. That’s why, today, he’s out on the Senior Tour cashing frequently. And that’s why, more importantly, he’s having a lot of fun.

Posted with permission from Luby Publishing Inc.