Bowling is hands down one of the toughest sports there is to be consistently good at.
There yes I said it and there’s no denying it. Sure you can argue there are some great bowlers out there with high averages and everyone can go out and throw an amazing game but I’m going to show you WHY we have the toughest sport to excel at.
WE ARE PLAYING ON AN INVISIBLE PLAYING FIELD! The lane oil, the topography of the lane, and the oil pattern are all invisible the naked eye and that’s what we have to go up against night after night. Not just the opposing team or the scores from the previous squads we have the lane itself to contend with.
This of course has changed with the addition of blue oil dyes, but only if you have the opportunity to bowl a televised PBA Tour Event. To the untrained eye it looks like a splash of color across the lane, to a bowler who knows lane patterns it gives you an insight to the bowlers mind. You can see why they’re choosing to play up board 10, how they are making adjustments through the match, and why the ball just nose-dived through the face. Without that visual indicator you would have been guessing at these things.
We can roll one shot and have the perfect line, breakpoint, and entry to the pocket and carry a strike. The very next delivery we can throw the same shot and leave a split. Why is this? Now we may have slowed up a little, or missed our mark, but let’s say we rolled it exactly the same. Some people are puzzled because everything was the same and now they have left a split but they left out a very important factor, everything wasn’t the same. The lane oil has moved, what WAS the perfect spot is now a DANGER ZONE to throw the ball.
Bowling is not the same as say darts or shooting pool, where if you perform the same motion, same target, and same execution you will have the same results 100 times out of 100. In those instances there are no unseen factors to deal with, you can perform the same motion and get the same results how easy is that. Imagine how EASY bowling would be if you could go out and bowl 100 balls at the same target, same footwork, same speed and get a strike everytime!
Imagine throwing 100 balls and getting 100 strikes everytime
In bowling it’s not the case if you throw 100 balls by the end your ball is going to be picking off corner pins instead of nicely into the pocket. We have to make our adjustments only by what we see our ball doing as it rolls down the lane, we have no outside factors to go by like other sports.
A golfer making an iron shot for the green can feel the wind on his face, the flag at the green waving and get a good judgement on wind speed and direction. They can SEE water hazards, bunkers, and KNOW the distance of the hole. Sounds almost like cheating to a bowler!
I’m not saying that other athletes aren’t talented, just that bowling has a set of challenges that are unique to our sport that we need to learn to deal with and overcome. Now what is the best way to do that? Every shot you roll will tell you something about the lanes, so watch the way your ball is rolling and learn from it.
The best way is to learn about the equipment your using, what each ball does, so you will be better prepared to make adjustments on the lane and on the approach, or switch balls if necessary.
-updated April 22, 2019