Single Pins – Disaster or Near Perfection, Part 1 of 3 by Ed Cotter

Single Pins – Disaster or Near Perfection, Part 1 of 3 by Ed Cotter

 

How many of us have thrown what we thought was an excellent pocket hit only to have a single pin stop us dead in our tracks?  I know I have.  It’s especially frustrating when it ends a string of strikes.  As I explain to those I coach, yes I’m going to listen to myself.  Leaving a single pin on a pocket hit means you are within a fraction of an inch of perfection.  This is only the tip of the iceberg of all the things you have to keep track off when you’re bowling.  Then have a string of strikes, 5 or longer, and you now have to add nerves to the equation.  With nerves comes muscle tension.  The looseness you started with fades and the tension increases when you realize what is happening.

 

Having taken Statistics, the odds of throwing a perfect game requires a measure of luck.  For those that did not know, USBC uses a robot to test bowling balls and replicate the same ball throw motion every time.  Now, for everyone, how many 300 games has the robot thrown?  The answer may surprise you, none.  Why?  The lanes changed and the robot is not programmed to adjust.  It just replicates the bowler variables that we humans struggle with on a regular basis.  Take into consideration the number of variables we have to contend with and 9 out of 10 is a good shot.  Granted the goal is 10 of 10, but that isn’t going to happen every time.  But we can achieve it more often if we keep our wits and analyze the shot we just threw to understand what is going on.

 

I’m going to present some possible solutions to back row single pins using the assumption that your ball has hit the intended target and pocket.  Now these are not going to work for everyone.  Another thing to consider is with a strike the ball actually only touches 4 pins; the 1, 3, 5, and 9 pins for a righty and the 1, 2, 5, and 8 pins for a lefty.

 

10 pin leave for righties and 7 pin leave for lefties – statistically, the contributor for leaving this pin on the deck is a strong ball finish behind the headpin and across the 3 pin.  This sends the 3 or 2 pin straight back deflecting the 6 or 4 pin to the side.  The 6 or 4 pin flies around or lies in the channel beside the 10 or 7 pin.  Some things that have worked for me are:

          Move slightly left, right for lefties, on the approach, for me it’s a board or two, and maintain the same strike line.  This allows the ball to finish slightly deeper in the pocket hopefully getting the wall ricochet to knock over the 10 or 7 pin.

          Move up an inch on the approach – do this only if you have room before the foul line with your normal approach.  Maintain the same strike line.  This allows the ball to finish slightly deeper in the pocket hopefully getting the wall ricochet to knock over the 10 or 7 pin.

          Maintaining a slightly straighter wrist position – sometimes not cupping through the ball during the release delays the ball’s hook ever so slightly to allow the ball a slightly deeper pocket hit.

 

9 pin leave for righties and 8 pin leave for lefties – statistically, the contributor for leaving this pin on the deck is a strong ball finish.  The ball doesn’t deflect back from the 1-3 or 1-2 pins towards the 5 pin into the 9/8 pin the way it’s suppose to.  What happens, the ball rolls between the 1-3 or 1-2 pins and right over the 5 pin without deflecting into the 9 or 8 pins.  Something that has worked for me:

          Maintaining a slightly straighter wrist position – sometimes not cupping through the ball during the release reduces the ball’s power enough to allow the ball to deflect as it should.  You really don’t want to move because the ball motion is good just a little strong, the proverbial too much ball for the house.

 

8 pin leave for righties and 9 pin leave for lefties – statistically, the contributor for leaving this pin on the deck is a weak ball finish.  The ball deflects back from the 1-3 or 1-2 pins, lightly hitting the 5 pin, sending it in front of the 8 or 9 pin instead of into them.  Something that has worked for me:

          Maintaining a slightly cupped wrist position – slightly cupping through the ball during the release increases the ball’s power enough to allow the ball move through the 1-3 or 1-2 with enough power to knock the 5 pin into the 8 or 9 pin like it should.  You really don’t want to move because the ball motion is good just a little weak, the proverbial lack of drive ball.

 

7 pin leave for righties and 10 pin leave for lefties – statistically, the contributor for leaving this pin on the deck is a weak ball finish into the pocket.  This sends the 1 pin to the side, the 3 or 2 pin straight back deflecting the 6 or 4 pin to the side.  The 6 or 4 pin lies in the channel beside the 10 or 7 pin.  Some things that have worked for me are:

          Move slightly right, left for lefties, on the approach, for me it’s a board or two, and maintain the same strike line.  This allows the ball to finish slightly higher in the pocket hopefully getting the wall ricochet to knock over the 10 or 7 pin.

          Move back an inch on the approach – Maintain the same strike line.  This allows the ball to finish slightly higher in the pocket hopefully getting the wall ricochet to knock over the 10 or 7 pin.

          Maintaining a slightly cupped wrist position – sometimes slightly cupping through the ball during the release increases the ball’s hook ever so slightly to allow the ball a slightly higher pocket hit.

 

I hope this helps you.  In part 2, I’ll discuss other single pins.  In part 3, I’ll discuss angle adjustments.  Good luck and good bowling.

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