A Smooth landing (part 2)
In last month’s article “A Smooth Landing part 1”, I wrote about the importance of a smooth landing for today’s high tech bowling balls. If you missed that article you can find it on my website at bowl4fun.com. Just to review a little, I feel that in most cases it’s best to lay the ball down smooth and early. Laying the ball down smoothly will keep the ball from having an under / over reaction. An under / over reaction means some balls will hook a lot and others will seem to skid too much before they hook, causing you to think the lane is spotty.
Having the ball leave your hand early (by your slide toe) helps to prevent numerous problems including an under / over reaction by the ball. If you have a late release because you hit up on the ball, (also known as lift) you will impart different amounts of revs on the ball with each shot. Hitting up on the ball often causes it to be launched in the air before it comes in contact with the lane. It causes the ball to “bang” into the lane upon landing. This impact takes some “stuff” off of the ball and it’s a different amount each time. This results in…you guessed it, an under / over reaction.
How to make a smooth landing
In part one of the articles I wrote about using my Multifunctional Optimal Positioner (MOP) to help you create a smooth landing. In part two I want to concentrate on the armswing.
If you try, you can actually change the shape of your armswing to make it easier to land your ball smoothly. The idea is to make your swing have a flat spot at the bottom. Think of your armswing as a big semicircle starting at the top of your backswing and ending at the release point. Now imagine that semicircle with a short, flat spot on the bottom that runs parallel to the approach for a few inches. Kind of like a flat tire on your car.
In the photos you can see a white line and a black line. The white line shows the natural path of your armswing if you don’t create a flat spot at the bottom. If your ball follows the path of the white line, you may have the previously mentioned problems. If you make your ball follow the path of the black line your ball will land on the lane smoothly resulting in a more predictable ball reaction. One key to obtaining this flat spot in your swing is to make yourself follow-through along the black line in the pictures toward the pins instead of up toward the ceiling as we have been instructed to do for years. This does not mean to cut your follow-through off abruptly but just don’t jerk up with it as the ball leaves the hand.
What about the exceptions
Before I get bombarded with emails saying…”what about those two pros I see on TV lofting the ball 15 feet down the lane”?
Those two pros are Mika Koivuniemi from Finland and Walter Ray Williams Jr. from Florida. I have said in just about every article I have written that there are exceptions to every rule. These two bowlers are exceptions without a doubt. Mika has spent most of his competitive life bowling in countries where the term “lane maintenance” does not translate. The heads on some of these lanes have cracks in them big enough to lose a Volkswagen. These lane conditions rewarded bowlers that could throw the ball hard and straight and Mika certainly does that.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. also throws the ball fairly straight most of the time and well deserves his tour nickname: “Dead Eye”. If you throw the ball with very little axis rotation (side spin) like Walter Ray and Mika, then laying the ball down smoothly becomes much less important and having pin point accuracy is a must. Walter Ray, however, does sometimes hook the ball quite a bit when the lane condition demands it and I think he would do much better if he would learn to lay the ball down smoothly when he has to hook it. He is the best bowler in the world right now so I am not going to be the one to tell him.
Special thanks to Andy Scott (photos) for being my guinea pig on a weekly basis.