You can often see guys throw one strike after another in bowling centers, accompanied by loud cheers and high-fives from their friends and teammates. It can appear quite threatening, especially if we consider that they will be your team's rivals in the league. But is that the case? Bowling is a sport, but what sets bowling apart from other sports is that a change of bowling center or oil pattern can turn everything upside down.
Imagine the situation - during training sessions, a basketball or soccer team forms into groups and runs from one side of the court to the other, chasing the ball simulating competition. No passing, no drills, no physical preparation turning your weaknesses into strengths. It's the same with bowling - how can you improve if your practice is limited to playing game after game on a house shot?
If you don't play in a league, or at least don't set high goals for your team and play for fun, this article is not for you. But if you're seeking more than that, there is no room for strikes in training.
Many teams and players use the GPA system. GPA means Goal-Plan-Action. It's elementary - you set a goal, prepare a plan to implement it, and take action. Let's get down to the examples. Let's say you have issues with the 10th pin. Then a goal would be to increase the frequency of picking it up. Sounds easy. Now that we have a goal, we can devise a plan. The plan, in this case, would be, for example, to make 20 shots using three different actions.
Different actions are needed for you to choose the one that works best to achieve the goal.
The first step could be a straight shot through the middle arrow with a spare ball, the second through an 18th board, and the third through a 22nd board. Track results and identify the differences. Repeat the process in the following practice session to rule out coincidences. After a couple of practices, you'll start noticing what action suits you most, and you will achieve your goal of increasing your 10th-pin spares. You wouldn't have figured that out just by throwing strikes, right?
It's just one of the GPA system examples. You can think of many more, and not necessarily just for picking up spares. GPA system can also be used for drills, balance exercises, accuracy, and many more. The most important thing is to do everything thoughtfully and take notes. Most importantly, stop staring at the screen. The result is entirely irrelevant here. See the result only after finishing the game during the tournament to write it down in the score sheet. In all other cases, it's just an additional distraction.
Try to do the same exercises on different oil patterns. If the operator is in a bad mood and doesn't want to prepare the lanes for you - improvise. Take another ball that you usually wouldn't take under certain conditions. For example, if the bowling lane is dry but you want to practice on the long pattern, take a spare ball and look for oil in the middle. You will practice as if you were playing on the long pattern and will learn to control loft, speed, and angle.
The bottom line is that bowling is not just about strikes.
Sure, it's fun, but is it always helpful? When competition comes, those who train to improve their game and learn something new have an advantage. Also, paying attention to your psychological preparedness can be crucial to your bowling performance. Check out how to create routines and get ready for decisive bowling shots in our latest articles.