In today’s day and age, bowling equipment is generating lots of entry angle. Strikes look a little different than they used to.
In the days of rubber and plastic, bowlers still tried to get into the pocket from right to left for a righty, but with little entry angle created by a straight ball, balls tended to deflect away once hitting the pocket. This either garnered a ton of corner pins or many light strikes. If you watch some of the older PBA shows, you will tend to see the 6 pin tapping out the 10 a lot, more so than 10 back in the pit.
Once the Mark Roths of the world came along and started to put some significant spin or hook on the ball, you started to see “entry angle”. Carry would increase and the new age began. The age of Urethane and then reactive equipment took over the sport and now carry is as much about entry angle as it is speed, revs, and accuracy.
This is not a history lesson so much as a simple introduction. Generally speaking, if you expect to average 200 or better, you will need to be generating some kind of entry angle to carry strikes at a higher percentage than a straight ball. Today’s equipment will create hook and some entry angle all by itself but some hand will yield even higher entry angles.
Is there a perfect strike?
Even today, I would still consider the ideal strike one where the ball enters the pocket and touches the 1-3-5-9 pins as it rolls off the deck. For a lefty, it would be 1-2-5-8.
I got Tapped!
Every night I bowl, I watch strike after strike where a Righty, for example, is using so much entry angle the ball is hitting the 1-3-5-8 instead of 1-3-5-9. There are a lot of strikes but the ball is going off the pin deck to the left of the 9 pin. Then eventually, bowlers get really annoyed with stone 9 leaves.
When you leave a stone 9 for a righty (or stone 8 for a lefty), it simply was not a perfect strike! You didn’t get “ripped off”. It’s not a “tap”. Again, this leave means you have too much entry angle. You simply need to make an adjustment that will reduce the entry angle. Watch for the ball driving too hard and finishing off the deck well left of the 9 pin for a righty.
What about “Ringing” Corner pins?
Yes, I know they hurt too. And many times they feel like really good shots. Most people think a “flat” corner is something that can be adjusted for but ringers not so much. Again, they are not “taps”. The pins are telling you something about your ball reaction. Generally speaking, leaving corner pins comes from not enough entry angle on the right board at the head pin. Flat corners means the ball doesn’t have enough entry angle and deflects away, causing the 6 pin to bounce in front of the 10 pin instead of knocking it down. However, ringing corners are similar in that there just may not be enough entry angle. Or the ball may look like it has plenty of angle but it coming in “behind” the head pin. This still causes the deflection pushing the 6 pin in front of and around the 10 pin. In this case, make an adjustment that increases the entry angle. Watch for the ball deflecting as it enters the pocket and finishing to the right of the 9 pin for a righty.
Too many bowlers don’t read what the ball is actually doing at the pin deck. You’ve got to get used to watching what the ball is doing, not just walking away when you get a strike no matter what happened.
The only way to keep striking is to adjust to what you see. If you make no adjustments, eventually you get “ripped off” or “tapped” but no one will care but you! These adjustments could be hand adjustments, target adjustments, breakpoint adjustments, ball change, or a combination of these.
I know that a strike is a strike on the scoreboard, but if you don’t watch what’s happening, eventually the scoreboard will reflect that too!
Just make sure you are actually watching what’s happening so that you can stay ahead of any transition as it occurs. That way, you can keep striking!