Pulling the Ball Part 2
In last month’s article I discussed a lot of the reasons bowlers pull the ball inside their intended target. That article was mostly devoted to the “sudden tuggs” where you were bowling well and all of the sudden you start pulling the ball.
The “sudden tuggs” can happen right in the middle of the game and they may not go away for some time. If you missed part one of “Pulling the ball”, it will be on my website.
Part two of pulling the ball is more devoted to the “Chronic Tuggs” This means pulling the ball nearly all the time. Here is a list of possible causes of pulling the ball inside your target.
Swing Path: Your swing path is the over all shape of your swing if viewed from the rear. Most people “think” their swings are straight but very few are. That’s ok though; swings don’t have to be straight to be effective. Some swing shapes tend to be better than others. For example, if your swing bumps out at the top of the backswing, then you are more likely to pull the ball than someone who has a swing that bumps in. If your swing is too far from your leg as it passes, you are a likely candidate to pull the ball. If your swing wraps around behind your back and you tend to release the ball late, then you will pull the shot. As a rule of thumb, a freer swing will tend to be much straighter than a muscled swing.
If your “tuggs” come from the swing path, first try relaxing the arm to get a straighter swing. Then try holding the ball in different positions, left and right. I know that everyone tells you to hold the ball in front of your shoulder and that is a good starting place. However, not everyone has the same body make-up or the same type of swing. Throw some shots with the ball directly in front of your shoulder and note if the ball hits your target. Then move the ball a few inches toward the inside of your body and bowl again. Most likely this will cause the ball to travel a different path. After that, try holding the ball outside the shoulder a few inches and check the result. Chances are one of these is best and may cure pulling the ball.
The next thing to try in relation to your swing path is pushing the ball away in different directions. Push one shot toward the 10 pin and one shot toward the 7 pin and check the results. In your mind’s eye you will think you are pushing the ball way left or right, but in reality, you will only change your pushaway direction an inch or two. The reason you have to try both directions is because everyone is different so everyone will get different results.
Not stepping in: You must step in as you go into your slide in order to get your slide foot under your center of gravity. Most people will fall to one side if they fail to step in as they go into their slide giving them a good clue they are not getting under their center of gravity. A few people, though, do not step in, but somehow bring the rest of their body over to the slide foot and become very stable at the line. This is much harder to detect because you don’t fall over as you deliver the ball. This can cause you to pull the ball because you are stepping away from your swing at the last second and the ball will try to follow you.
Not clearing the thumb: Not clearing the thumb means you stay in the thumb hole past your ankle. This could be caused by something as simple as a sticking thumb hole or squeezing the ball causing a late release. The longer you stay in the ball the more likely it will pull you to the inside causing a “tugged shot”.
Early timing: Early timing is one of the most common reasons for pulling the ball. Some of the reasons for early timing were discussed in Part 1 of “Pulling the ball” but there are many others. A few more common ones are:
Starting the ball too soon in the pushaway: If you have early timing, you may need to delay the pushaway a little or a lot depending on the length of your arms and your foot work. Here again, everyone is different so you just have to experiment with different pushaway timings to see what works best for you.
First step too long: Many bowlers take a much too long first step which results in early timing often causing pulled shots. I have noticed that first steps tend to grow in length so you have to check it now and then. A good time to check is when you start pulling the ball.
Late Release: If you release the ball late (after it passes the toe of your slide foot) you are much more likely to pull the ball.
Playing too deep for your body alignment: If you tend to only pull the ball when you play a deeper inside line, you simply have a body alignment problem. You just need to face your breakpoint more while going to the line. There is an article on my website that covers this in detail called "Getting Deeper".
I am sure I can think of a lot more reasons for pulled shots but these two articles should keep you busy for a while.
Be sure to check out my live bowlers’ chat room each night after 11 PM Eastern Time. I am in there most nights and will be happy to answer questions.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org