Speed Control Part 2......How to throw the ball faster

     Last month I talked about how to throw the ball slower. This month I am going to talk about how to throw the ball faster. There are times when we need more ball speed to overcome a drying lane condition, or to just make the ball in our hand match up better to the lane condition. There are basically 3 levels of increased ball speed.  The first is a situation where we need just a little more ball speed. Maybe you notice that you have depleted enough oil on the lane that the ball is starting to hook a little too early or that the ball is starting to roll out on you.  In this situation you may decide that you need just a little more ball speed.  At this first level we are not trying to break the sound barrier but just trying  to make a minor adjustment. In that case most people can just hold the ball 3 or 4 inches higher in the stance. I always suggest that most people try holding the ball about waist high for there normal ball speed. That gives you somewhere to go if you need to amp it up a little.  When you hold the ball higher you will get a boost of speed from the help of gravity. Gravity is a very powerful force and raising a  bowling ball just a few inches higher in the stance will in turn make your back swing a few inches taller, which will add the extra speed you need.  It is best to always use more gravity over more muscle because gravity is the most constant force on the planet. That means that a faster shot that was thrown by using gravity, is more repeatable than a shot where we just used more muscle to propel the ball down the lane.  
     The second level of increased ball speed is more than just a minor adjustment to get the ball to skid a few more inches. This next level of speed may be needed to overcome a much dryer lane condition.  If we need to amp it up a couple MPH, then we need to hold the ball even higher in the stance. Try holding the ball anywhere from 6 to 12 inches higher. This will change your swing cycle, so you most likely will need to move back on the approach, by about the same amount that you increased your ball height.  This will stretch out your steps and make them a little quicker, to better suit your new arm swing. This helps you keep good timing and is much easer than actually telling yourself to walk faster or slower.  Try holding the ball at different heights and standing in different places on the approach to see how much speed you can generate without loosing control.  Try to only use the added speed of gravity and not additional muscle in your swing.  
     The third and final level of increased ball speed is a big one. This is a last resort move that we make if the lanes are way to dry for us to overcome with conventional methods. At this speed level, we will need to apply some muscle. But we need to apply it the right way and at the right time. We need to apply the muscle in a manor that compliments  and works with gravity. This will make best use of our muscle power and have the least adverse effects on our approach and accuracy. We still use the higher ball position and move back on the approach that we used in level two. This time though we are going to do the big no no. We are going to muscle the ball down, AFTER the peak of the back swing. This is a critical point and a big mistake that a lot of people make when they try to throw the ball harder. We need to wait on the ball to reach it's peak in the back swing and then start to fall on it's own. Then and only then, do we apply a downward pressure on the ball and increase that pressure gradually until the ball nears the bottom of the swing. 
       Remember that one of Newton's laws of motion in physics is "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". This equal and opposite reaction becomes torque in the upper part of your body that will tend to open your shoulder more as you force the ball forward. We minimize this by waiting on the ball to start falling and gradually increase the pressure to accelerate the ball. This is using the laws of physics to our best  advantage.  When you throw the ball at this kind of speed, you will need to make sure you have a quick enough approach to keep your timing in line. Since we are forcing the ball after the peak of the back swing, the ball can start to out run us to the foul line. This will give us early finish timing and cause us pull the ball inside of our target and or make us have a weak release.  It is a good idea to push strongly with the right  leg (right handed)  into your slide as you complete your next to last step. This added approach speed will also add some speed to the ball. If you find that even with your increased speed, the ball still hooks off  the lane, then I suggest that you open your wrist some to take some revs off of the ball. This is especially important for high rev players. If they don't open the wrist some, then they add as many revs to the ball as they do speed and the ball hooks just as much as before.
I can be contacted through email at rclifton@triad.rr.com  or through Creekside Lanes 336-771-9800