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George Freeman's Expert Bowling Tips

-Managing Practice Time
07/27/2001 - By George Freeman
      In 99% of leagues across the country, league bowlers are allowed anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of practice time, or shadow balls.  Different centers and different leagues have a variety of ways of doing practice.  Some centers are traditional "shadow ball" practice, where there are no pins reset during practice, but for the most part pins are allowed to be reset during practice.  Either way, here are some different ways to attack practice time.

      One of the growing fads in leagues is for players to trip the foul line if they do not get a strike. While this is good to keep a full rack of pins so players can go for the pocket, bowlers do not "test the waters" by throwing the ball over each portion of the lane.  Take some time to throw shots at the 7 pin (for right handers) or 10 pin (for the lefties).  This will give you an idea of what the middle of the lane is like for when you leave a cross-alley spare.  One common mistake league bowlers make is they take so much time throwing shots into the pocket that when they do leave a cross-alley spare, they miss it due to the unexpected amount of oil (or lack thereof) in the middle of the lane.  If they had practiced those shots during practice, they would have had a heads up to the situation.

      It's also a good idea to take a few shots on the same lane before changing lanes.  Changing lanes every shot is fine, but if the lanes are moderately different, it will be less confusing if you threw more than one shot on the same lane to figure it out.  Also, pay attention to the approaches, before the lanes even come on for practice, walk up without the ball in your hand and just slide your foot up to the foul line in each portion of the lane.  This will give you advance warning of any foreign substances, or any varying characteristics unique to the pair of lanes you are on.

      Going into league practice with a game plan is as important to your game plan during league competition. Be prepared, and you will see a positive effect on your game.

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