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The Fundamentals of Bowling

There are no such hard or fast rules to become a star bowler in this game. Only a continuous practice can make you more perfect bowler. And the basic knowledge of the fundamentals of the bowling and the willingness to practice to perfection can take you to the top rank of the pinman. There is no such thing as a "perfect bowler." By this, I mean that there is no one bowler who does every one of the fundamentals exactly right every time. Some stars have a very high backswing, some take a zigzag approach to the foul line, and still others use no slide.

Yet they succeed, because they have learned to overcome the otherwise bad effects of such procedures and to integrate the "fault" into their game so smoothly that it remains only a style that sets them apart from other bowlers. Many persons have asked me about the easy way to become a star bowler. I can't help but smile when that question is put to me. When I think back over all the time I spent (and am still spending) in practice, I know, along with every other star, that there is no "easy way" to bowling stardom. With a little practice, almost any bowler, man or woman, can roll a fairly good game. That's what makes the sport so enjoyable.

Even the dubs on occasion get a thrill out of a 200-plus score-a thrill that is intensified because the big game usually comes as a surprise. But consistently high scores are not the result of hope or accident. They are rolled because the bowler has attained a high degree of tenpin skill-skill based on a thorough knowledge and application of the fundamentals of bowling form. Unless the bowler has mastered the fundamentals, he will never achieve top rank as a pinman. Mastery of the fundamentals requires knowing what they are, a desire to make them a natural part of your bowling form, and a willingness to practice until your approach to the foul line is a well- coordinated glide, and your delivery of the ball is a grooved swing with a smooth follow-through. Let's examine the fundamentals one by one.

THE FIT OF THE BALL The first thing I do when a bowler approaches me for advice is to examine the ball he is using-to determine if it is properly fitted to his hand. Proper fit is most important, for a badly fitted ball handicaps any bowler. If your bowling ball fits properly, your hand does not feel cramped. If the ball doesn't fit, your hand is not loose and comfortable, and the results at the pin-end of the alley will not be to your liking. To determine the proper fit for your hand, insert your thumb almost its complete length into the thumb hole of your ball. The thumb hole should be comfortably loose.

The hole should be sufficiently large to allow for a slight expansion of your thumb-for the thumb is likely to puff up during a bowling session. The finger holes may be snug. After you insert your thumb into the ball, lay your hand flat on the surface of the ball, with the fingers extended over the finger holes.

The second joint from the end of your finger (or fingers), should extend at least one quarter of an inch beyond the near rim of the finger hole. If your hand is bulky and not too flexible, the second joint should extend to the middle of the finger hole. This extra span allows you to manipulate the ball better. After you have selected a ball according to the method described, make a further test to complete your diagnosis. Place your thumb and fingers into the proper holes, pick up the ball, and then insert a pencil into the space between your hand and the ball.

If the pencil fits snugly without strain, you are fitted correctly. When the fit is right, you can carry your ball comfortably up to the foul line. Your hand has a natural feel to it, there is no straining So it is very important how much you have the knowledge of the fundamentals of the game. Remember that until and unless you have mastered the basics of the game it will take time to make perfect your body movements to be a good bowler. Get your fingers used to the bowl and make them more flexible to give bowling variations.

Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for , ,

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