Can you get deeper? Not deep into debt, that’s way too easy. I mean moving deeper on the lane and crossing more boards…a lot more boards.
Bowlers that make the effort to get better at the sport of bowling eventually learn the technique of a stronger release. This allows them to hook the ball more boards than before. Today’s high tech balls also help bowlers cover more boards.
The more you hook the ball, the “deeper” you have to get with your feet. For a right handed bowler getting “deeper” means moving your feet left but keeping your breakpoint to the right. For example, if you placed your left foot on the 35 board and threw a line that had the ball crossing the 3rd arrow and hit the 7th board at the breakpoint 40 feet down the lane and back to the pocket.
A lot of bowlers start struggling when they move their feet more than 3 or 4 boards deeper than their normal down-and-in line. When they have to get deeper than that, they start missing their target to the inside.
Here is a typical scenario: The lanes are on the dry side today so you are forced to leave the comfort of your second arrow and head for the third arrow. You make your first shot and the ball glides over the third arrow just as planned but the dry lanes force the ball to hook more than usual and the ball crosses over to the other side of the head pin. You move your feet “deeper” to the left by 5 boards and throw your next shot. You miss the 3rd arrow to the inside by 2 boards and the ball still crosses over. You move your feet deeper still by 2 boards and try again. This time you miss your target to the inside by 4 boards and the ball crosses over again. Why is it that the more you move your feet left the more you miss your target to the inside?
The biggest reason is that you are not facing the right direction. The more boards you move your feet to the left of your target, the more you need to turn your toes to the right so you will be facing your breakpoint. You need to point your toes to face your breakpoint (or even further right) not only in your stance but at the foul line too.
The lane and its’ long parallel lines often play tricks with your eyes and your head and this is one of those times. Even if you start out facing the right direction the lane gets into your head and you will often start to square yourself with the foul line as you make your approach. Those two long gutters that outline the lane seem to turn in toward the head pin.
This is an illusion. The gutters are actually the same distance apart the full length of the lane. This “illusion” tends to turn the bowler toward the head pin as he or she approaches the foul line. So how do you combat this?
The best way is to literally face the pins on the NEXT lane in your stance, instead of trying to face your breakpoint as you should. If you are right handed and bowling on lane 10, then in your stance try facing the head pin on lane 11. Make sure your toes are facing the pins on lane 11 and not just your head and shoulders. This exaggerates the angle you should be facing but it will work out about right by the time you get to the foul line. This will feel really strange at first but you will get used to it.
If you find that when you face far right you tend to miss your breakpoint too far to the right, then that is a good sign. All you have to do is back off on the angle a little until you get it right. Using the head pin on the next lane is just a starting point and each person will have to find what angle works best for them.
It can also help if you use your imagination a little. Just imagine the lane you are bowling on was laid in at an angle to all the others. The 10 pin is actually the left gutter of your lane and you are just playing the down-and-in line you are comfortable with.
Here Abner the bowler plays down the red line. This is right down the 2nd arrow and a line he is comfortable with.
Abner gets a new hook monster ball or the lanes are dryer than normal. Abner must move deeper and play the 3rd arrow. because the ball is hooking too much.
Abner runs into a problem. When he moves his feet far enough left to keep the ball on the right side of the head pin he misses his target to the left and the ball crosses over. The ball follows the path of the blue line instead of the green line that Abner needs to play. The more Abner moves his feet left the more Abner misses his target to the left.
What is Abner to do?
The problem is that Abner was not facing far enough right in order to face his target line by the time he gets to the foul line. The illusion of the gutters turning in toward the head pin will force most of us to square ourselves to the foul line as we make our approach.
If you look at Abner's starting position he is facing much further right than he is when he finishes up at the foul line.
Here are a couple suggestions for you to try if you have to get really deep an have a problem getting the ball far enough right at the breakpoint.
Here Abner has learned to play much deeper. The ball is going to cross the 22 board at the arrows and hit the 7 board at the breakpoint.
Abner starts out facing the head pin on the next lane. This feels really strange at first but Abner soon learns that human nature will turn his body more toward the foul line as he approaches the foul line.
Each bowler will have to learn where to face to make all the angles work out right. Every person is different and there are many different styles of bowlers. As a coach, I have found that facing the pins in the next lane when a bowler is learning to play deep will work for a great number of people.
I have ask some bowlers to just pretend the lane they are bowling on is laid in at an angle just for them. The 10 pin on your lane is really the left gutter. I thought it would be fun to make a picture to see what that would look like.