Many beginning bowlers are quick to jump on the bandwagon that the only way to make high scores in ten pin bowling is to solely focus on making strikes. After all, when the almighty strike ball is thrown, that’s when the oohhh’s and ahhhh’s come out from the other people watching…and that always feels good.
However, when I observe some of the newer bowlers out there during my own practice time, or even some of the league bowlers, there isn’t nearly as much effort going into the practice of making spares or dealing with other difficult shots as there is in making strikes.
As much as we’d like to believe that we can simply practice our ability to throw a strike on each frame, that just isn’t realistic and even if there is a spare opportunity, that’s no reason to give up on still making a decent score.
Only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
I’m going to come right out and say it – if you’re just rolling the bowling ball to get a high score each and every time you’re out ‘practicing’, your idea of practice sucks. Sorry…but simply going for the higher numbers during practice time isn’t true practice.
The point of practicing is to work on the skills that you are weak in, in order to get them up to par or strengthen the lagging areas of your overall game. If you already know how to hit the head pin, why simply focus on that over and over again? Practice time is crucial for every bowler and I’d go as far as to say that it’s more important than competition time.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s always good to still put focus on practicing that awesome strike ball – you know, the one that hits the pocket perfectly, making the pins rattle and causing the ear deafening explosion that all bowlers envy. But even the most successful professional bowlers don’t spend nearly as much time honing that strike ball as you may want to believe.
Stop Polishing the Diamond…
Every bowler has their own strength in the game to be proud of, just as they have their own weakness that could use some improvement. The idea of bowling practice is not to keep your strengths as the priority; that’s why they are called strengths – no need to keep practicing on them as much as the weaknesses. That’s like throwing on an oxygen mask to practice your breathing – if you’re alive to read this, it’s safe to assume that you have a strength in breathing, so why place that much focus on practicing to breathe?
In my case, my biggest weakness is still taking care of that solid ten pin that’s left after what looks like a sweeping strike. The lone ten pin is my arch nemesis and the argument could be placed on my needing to enhance my strike ball. However, I carry a decent 193 average and the lone ten pin is left maybe 20% of the time so I feel that my strike ball is good, for now.
What I’d rather focus my practice on is mastering how to take out that ten pin when needed. During practice time, I actually try to leave that ten pin up every time as to force me to get my practice in on that situation. Other times, I simply won’t aim for any other pin but that ten pin, trying to avoid any other pins as to hone my skill in picking it up.
Sure, the score sheet looks odd and practice scores are low, but it’s practice…who cares? Work on weaknesses so that come league night, you are consistently improving on whatever weaknesses you have.