Balance and Leverage…again

OK, so let’s talk about balance…
In today’s modern game, a lot of guys like to grip it and rip it. The equipment has tons of backend and people love to see that huge move on the backend while shredding the rack. Hey, I used to be one of those! However, my game has evolved the more I learned about the game…and the older I got :-)
I figure if Norm Duke is out there making a ton of money, he must be doing something right! I won’t make this article a “straighter is greater” argument. Well at least not right now. However, I do think that some of the modern game style causes balance issues.

Grip it and Rip it! and fall over to the side…

Grab the ball. Start your approach from way to the left (if you’re righty). Huge backswing. Drift even further left. Open the shoulders completely. Lean down to the right. Accelerate through the downswing. Trying to close your shoulders back up. Launch the ball. Awesome revs. Fall over to the side. “Oh, I was running it out.”

Traditionalist, I am not.
OK, I will just confirm that I am not an old school coach in the purest sense.  I think we should take advantage of things from the modern game. I am not going to suggest to lower your backswing if you’re comfortable. I am not going to tell you square up your shoulders throughout the whole approach like Gary Dickinson (look him up). These are things best addressed in a one on one evaluation. But there are some critical things that can go wrong when doing the grip it and rip it method.
See previous article about generating leverage from your legs. I mention this because you don’t need to rip your arm out of your socket to generate leverage and revs.
Where do you get leverage from?

So, Balance!
Here are a handful of things you might want to consider to help improve your balance.

Watch this short video from the 2009 US Open, particularly Richie Wolfe.

Highlights:

  1. watch what his non-bowling arm does. It will be equal and opposite of the non-bowling arm, i.e., the higher your back swing is, the lower the opposite arm is, and vice versa. But it is more or less stretched out.  This is important for balance  Picture a tight rope walker.  There is a reason why both arms are stretched out and always opposite each other as they sway back and forth.
  2. Watch where his head is in relation to his slide foot. It’s just slightly to the left (he’s a lefty). So you’re spine should be relatively aligned at release.  A lot of times, the grip it and rip it has people leaning well over with their head and much of their upper body in a position well right of their slide foot (righties).  No doubt, when throwing a 15 pound ball from the right side of your body and all of your body weight is on the right, you will fall to the…everybody now…right!
  3. One of my favorite parts is what his back leg is doing. Watch how he keeps it outstretched and on the ground. He is perfectly balanced.  Not all bowlers do this and you can argue Chris Barnes in the same video does not do this and he’s arguably the best bowler on tour.  However, my experience is that it tends to help bowlers be more balanced.  If you are as good as Chris Barnes, you can do whatever you like.  And you probably aren’t reading this article :-)
  4. What about having square shoulders?  No matter what you do, the shoulders will need to be square to the foul line to deliver the ball on line.  I’m not talking about the right vs left shoulder since the modern game “allows” for the bowling shoulder to drop.  You need to be careful about that as it will also contribute to balance issues.  Nevertheless, your shoulders, from the ceiling view, need to be parallel to the foul line each time.  When you open the shoulders too much, you will have trouble “squaring up” consistently with each shot.

Think about a few of these things and how they fit in your game.

If you can, video tape yourself. It’s really the only way to see with your own eyes what’s happening and seeing what your coach might be telling you is going on.  Seeing is believing!

Having balance will ultimately help you be more consistent, which will inevitably increase your scores.

Good Luck!

Comments

  1. I also think a lot of balance issues with your typical house bowler (myself included) stem from us not using our legsa properly. Grip and rip leads to a forced forward swing to induce power pulling you off line. When actually you can get a ton of power from the proper footwork. I was shown Parker Bohn for a model for footwork and finish position and find a lot of us overlook the feet.

  2. There are many out there that can get plenty of revs (actually a lot of revs) with out having the big openned up style of say a Tommy Jones. It has a lot to do with hand position, and how you get your thumb out of the ball. You can pull through your swing with the inside of your arm to give your hand that open position that helps generate revs as you turn your hand over with out doing anything crazy with your form or backswing.

    Many people also get lazy or tired and as they do so tend to stand up on the ball more causing them to become off balance at the line. Usually when I start having balance issues it is because I’m standing up on the ball. Once I get back down in my legs and finish low Im really able to come through the ball much cleaner and with more revs and accuracy.

    People love the big hook and that is why you see so many people going to the two handed style. Most I have seen are no differnt then someone bowling one handed with no thumb or many other styles. (nothing against no thumb just as reference to other styles ment on creating more hook)

    They don’t put in the practice and get good at something. They go off of more revs more area. When the shot tightens up they are no different then when they where using just one hand.

    Belmonte and others are that good like any other pro because they bowl/practice a lot.

    Like the commercial says, “chicks dig the long ball”.

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