HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER PART 2
Link to part 1
Last month I discussed the importance of a consistent approach. Where your sliding foot ends up on the same board
each time at the foul line. If some of you used my advice and checked your drift pattern, you may be having a hard time getting a consistent approach. If your approach tends to wander or you drift more than you would like here are some ways to fix it.
First you have to learn what your feet are doing on the way to the foul line. The best way to learn this is to
have someone video tape you. This way you can see what each foot does at each step. When I do bowling clinics I always
bring along a good video camera. It quickens the learning curve a great deal. Believe me, you can't feel what your feet are doing. They operate entirely on muscle memory. One way to see what your feet are doing is to look down at your feet as you make your approach. This seems hard but I have not had anyone fall on their head yet. Try it a few times without the ball and make your approach. Just look down at your feet and notice where each step goes. Chances are it's the same foot each time that's in error. After you do it a few times without your ball, try it with your ball. Just stand on the middle dot and look at a target like the 3rd arrow just to get your bearings. Then look down at your feet and force yourself to make your approach without looking up until the ball is delivered. Your peripheral vision will keep you from falling on your nose. Well it does for most people. It will take a few deliveries for you to get used to looking at your feet, so don't give up too fast on being able to do it. If your left foot steps too far left each time then you will know it. It is a good idea to stop as soon as you see yourself take a wrong step and start over. You have to make your feet go where you want them to go, until they get the hang if it. A very common misstep is to not step in on your last step. If you don't step in toward the center of your body as you push into your slide you will end up off balance and to the left of where you should end up if you are right handed.
I suggest you pick a dot at the foul line that you wish to end up on. As you approach the foul line looking at your feet, pick up that dot as you near it and slide to it. Don't be satisfied until you can nail that dot every time. Now believe me, as soon as
you start looking at your target again your feet will go back to their old habits. You can train your feet to do anything you want, but it takes some time. Another little trick is to take a bright colored sponge with you to the lanes. One that is only
about one inch wide. Place that on the board you wish to slide on, just on the other side of the foul line. You can see the sponge in your peripheral vision and you can walk toward it, even if you are looking at your target. If you would like to learn to walk straight, which comes in very handy if you are playing the twig, just make your feet touch the same board with each step. Once again stand in the middle of the approach. Straddle the 20 board with your feet and make an approach looking down at it. With each step, force yourself to step in enough that you touch the edge of the 20 board each time. It's like walking the yellow line for the cops only you don't go to jail if you can't do it the first few times. Bowler's that drift way to the left (right handed) can have a really hard time when they have to square up on the gutter. If you read my tip on playing the twig you will see why. If you need to land your ball on the 3 board at the foul line and have the ball ride the 3 down the lane to the break point, you will be in big trouble if your sliding foot is ending up on 12. Your feet operate totally on muscle memory. They have to be trained how to do something different. If I raised all the steps in your house a half inch you would fall up them for the first few days. Then your feet would learn they need to raise up just a little higher each time. Learning new foot work in bowling is the same way. It takes some time so don't give up. If you find that you can nail your foot work just fine without the ball in your hand but go off course when you actually throw the ball then that tells you something. It means you are working against your ball as it swings not with it. You need to check your swing timing and maybe even your swing plane.