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Thread: My son's struggles with a new ball

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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Default My son's struggles with a new ball

    My son was until recently using his first ball which was a 12 lb plastic drilled finger tip. Since he got that ball he's grown over a foot and 75lbs which is mostly muscle since he's an athlete. Surprisingly he was murdering the pins with that 12 pounder shooting a ton of big games including a 279 at a school bowling meet.

    The school of thought between myself and his coaches was if he could do that with a light plastic ball then he'd be killing it with a 15 lb reactive. So he was in love with my Venom Shock. Even though it's not a current ball I was easily able to find him one.

    Sadly it's had quite the opposite effect on his game. He said it hit like a train but he's very inconsistent with it. I was able to watch him the other day in practice and I notice he releases it way too early. It lands on the approach like he's dropping it. Second, the ball rolls out before it hits instead of driving through.

    He's also complaining about a very sore wrist. He acts like the ball is too heavy for him. The kids is 6 foot tall and 165 lbs with and bigger arms than mine. If my scrawny body can easily handle it, I can't believe he can't. His ball speed is slightly less than it was with his old ball.

    My theory is maybe he's trying to compensate for the weight difference. By forcing the ball to get his ball speed up which is causing him to drop it and not come through the ball on release? I have been busy so I haven't had a chance to get any video thus far.

    Any ideas? Rob, any input?

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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Ok so maybe his issues aren't as bad as he thought they were. He shot 687 at a meet for his school tonight. With a very sore wrist I had to tape up prior to it.

    Early in the first game he was dropping the ball and it was rolling out, hitting weak. Then suddenly he started staying behind it more and releasing a tad later. His release was still way too early but just enough to get the ball to finish and drive through the pocket. As a result he was getting much better action, messengers and thunderous strikes.

    His coaches and I all agree that if he can come out of the ball a little later and get a touch more horizontal rotation on it he will get much more potential out of his ball.

    Tonight he somehow managed to make it all work. It's hard to complain when he annihilated everyone on the league. He even did the "I threw the ball but I'm turning away not looking because I know it's a strike" thing to end his 3rd game with the last nine in a row. Lucky for him he was right but I admit it was a no doubter pocket bomb.

    As good as he was, I know he has a lot of potential for much better. I do want to get this release figured out before bad habits get formed. This wasn't an issue until the heavier ball.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    Ok so maybe his issues aren't as bad as he thought they were. He shot 687 at a meet for his school tonight. With a very sore wrist I had to tape up prior to it.

    Early in the first game he was dropping the ball and it was rolling out, hitting weak. Then suddenly he started staying behind it more and releasing a tad later. His release was still way too early but just enough to get the ball to finish and drive through the pocket. As a result he was getting much better action, messengers and thunderous strikes.

    His coaches and I all agree that if he can come out of the ball a little later and get a touch more horizontal rotation on it he will get much more potential out of his ball.

    Tonight he somehow managed to make it all work. It's hard to complain when he annihilated everyone on the league. He even did the "I threw the ball but I'm turning away not looking because I know it's a strike" thing to end his 3rd game with the last nine in a row. Lucky for him he was right but I admit it was a no doubter pocket bomb.

    As good as he was, I know he has a lot of potential for much better. I do want to get this release figured out before bad habits get formed. This wasn't an issue until the heavier ball.
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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Yep, I'm a very proud dad. Considering when I joined here a few short years ago when I was teaching him the approach in our kitchen. That was before he ever threw a bowling ball that wasn't at a birthday party. I'd say he's come pretty far pretty quick.

    In a few more years he'll come even father. It's fun to watch as a dad and his coach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    Yep, I'm a very proud dad. Considering when I joined here a few short years ago when I was teaching him the approach in our kitchen. That was before he ever threw a bowling ball that wasn't at a birthday party. I'd say he's come pretty far pretty quick.

    In a few more years he'll come even father. It's fun to watch as a dad and his coach.
    Sounds like he has a good future in the sport if he wants it. When I was younger (teens maybe) I had a stint where I wanted to be a pro bowler. This was back in the early to mid 80's. Problem back then was there was no internet so nobody knew how to get from A to B unless you knew someone that could show you the way. Back then I have no idea how you would ever even find out where the next PBA tournament would be or when it would be. Being a 14 year old and knowing nobody in the industry that info was like finding gold at the end of a rainbow. Had there been Google back then I may have taken it more seriously and actually tried to pursue it. Found out later that a PBA pro used to own the center I bowled at. Talked to him all the time but didn't know anything about that and figured he was just a league bowler that owned a center. His name was Ross Ziegler. Turns out later on Mark Roth took over that center and I talked to him every Saturday as I coached the youth league. Had no idea who Mark Roth was. I had been told he was a PBA hall of famer but I couldn't remember ever hearing anything about him before. This was around 2001-2002 and I was now in my mid 30's so too late to try to go pro by then anyway but the point is he seems to be on a good path and has the tools and mentorship to get there. Tell him I said great job and good luck!
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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    He definitely wants a future with it. He's been looking at colleges with the best bowling programs. Actually he's hoping for a scholarship which is possible if he keeps going how he is. Last night at another meet he shot 650 somethin, so the last one wasn't a fluke.

    I still think he's releasing it a tad too early so he's not fully getting around the ball resulting in more of an end over end rotation causing it to lose energy quickly. If he could stay in it a microsecond longer it would make all the difference.

    He's still blaming it on his sore wrist. LOL I think a piece or two of tape in his thumb hole would do wonders. He is also raising up and falling over at the line instead of posting his shot. That would also lead me to believe he's trying to fire it down rather than just letting it swing. Loud strikes are awesome but not necessary to do well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    Any ideas? Rob, any input?
    I'm concerned about your reference to "his coaches" that includes you. Are any of his coaches trained to coach? When I was coaching Junior Gold, my biggest challenge was high average bowler parents who thought that they were coaches... they weren't. Also, as Wendy Macpherson once told me, "Never coach anyone you've ever seen naked." Having, I'm sure, changed some diapers on your son in the past, that excludes you from coaching him in bowling. Encourage him, but find ONE qualified coach to help him him develop into a bowler.

  8. #8

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    Having given this more thought, I believe that his "coaches" allowed him to use the 12 lb. ball way too long. He didn't grow over a foot and gain 75 pounds instantaneously. In the meantime, he learned to bowl in a way that allowed him to score with this light ball. When he moved up to the 15 lb. ball, he needed to learn to bowl all over again, allowing the ball to do the work. Again, find one qualified coach and let him do his (or her) job.

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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Rob, I guess some clarification is in order. When I called them "coaches" it was more of a term of endearment than official title. They are physical education teachers, not certified USBC coaches. They aren't even bowlers. When they do bowl, their arsenal consists of a house ball and shoes and a bucket of Miller Lite.

    I know this because I've personally served them in the past. This is also their first year doing bowling. So instead of "coaches" they are more less chaperones and transportation to practices and to and from meets. They also keep him in check when he's getting frustrated and give a manly slap on the butt when he's doing good. So out of respect instead of calling them "gym teachers" I used "coaches".

    When I said we all agree he's coming out of the ball too early and he's not coming around the ball, it was after I pointed it out. Also when I said he's not posting his shot, after they looked at me like a deer in the headlights until I explained what it was, they concurred. As you can imagine, they don't really have critical eyes.

    I'm sure your reasoning behind not coaching someone you've seen naked is because objectivity would be clouded due to the relationship. Also expectations would be higher than that of a stranger. Kinda the same thing with working with a family member, I get it.

    I was personally taught how to bowl by a former step dad. I was about 8yrs old so he probably didn't see me naked unless he seen me streaking at the homecoming game in high school. That's a story for another day. Point is, he was my coach for many years and an excellent top notch bowler of the era. The only thing that kept him from being a pro was his John McEnroe attitude. When he did poorly he was a weapons grade jackass. This was long before Pete Weber was on so it wouldn't have worked out well back then. I was the only person he ever taught but if I seem him today I'd still take his advice above any others. That includes the PBA pro (also my boss) that was instructing me in TN. No doubt he'd be able to point out any flaws quicker than since he taught me from scratch.

    Now all that being said, as my son's coach I've told him that if anyone gives him bowling advice that it's fine to take it and have an open mind. Give it a try, if it works for him then keep doing it. If it don't then don't keep doing it. I expect him to be his own bowler with his own style, not a mirror image of me.

    Now as far as him getting a new ball so late... I'm afraid that's on me. I did have two used 15lb balls set aside for him before I went to TN but sadly both of them cracked all the way around before I had a chance to do anything with them. I did grab him another one when I was in TN but that is also still in TN with my stuff.

    Since then a whole lot of life happened (including but not limited to, a pandemic and unemployment) and getting him a new bowling ball was WAY down on the priority list. This was the first opportunity we've had to get it accomplished for him. He had to make do with what he had. Granted, not exactly the optimum outcome but It certainly wasn't for lack of trying. All we can do is start from the here and now.

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    Yeah, I think he stayed with that 12lb ball too long.

    It's pretty common with kids. They start out throwing 6lb balls because they claim bowling balls are "too heavy". Nobody ever "pushes them" and they end up throwing 10lb balls as adults and can't figure out why they hit a ceiling. You see it all the time with female bowlers that buy 10-12lb balls in the pro shop. Meanwhile, women on the pro tour are the size of 7th graders and are throwing 16lb balls.

    And its a REALLY hard habit to break. I bought my daughter a 12lb Tropical Breeze and had it drilled fingertip for her. Got her some lessons from an actual PWBA pro. But, when we joined a league...it didn't take long before she started saying her fingers hurt and her wrist hurt and she was back to throwing a 9lb house ball. Kids these days have an extremely low tolerance for inconvenience and virtually no tolerance for irritation. The motto of "No Pain, No Gain" has given way to "Pain = It Ain't Worth It".

    I mean, look at 2-handed bowling. Bowling one-handed was hard when we were little...balls were heavy. We all wanted to throw them 2-handed. What were we told? "Don't throw them like that. You gotta learn to throw them the right way. You gotta learn to roll them." Then, 30 years later...the USBC says, "Well...it is what it is."

    The best advice would be to work on getting his wrists stronger through muscle exercises and gradually move up from 12 pounds. 6' 165 is pretty skinny. He might have very skinny wrists and have trouble with 15lbs. So, maybe work on wrist strength exercises and move up to 14lbs. I don't think colleges would have an issue with a player throwing 14lbs. 12lbs? Ughhhh...???? Thats a TON of deflection off the head-pin.
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