How to destroy a game in four frames…

Last night, we bowled in our regular Sunday League trio. Earlier that night, I had stripped and oiled the lanes, and bowled a couple of  practice games. The practice games went well. I threw something like 6 in a row in my first one, so I knew I had a good line and good ball to match up on the lanes. It turns out, I’ve had that ball since I first started bowling, I just didn’t know it was the right ball. With all the extra revs and power I’ve picked up over the last year, what was once a ball that skidded to far is now the best ball in my arsenal. At least at Fugate’s. Go figure.

On to league play…

Game one. I open with a split. YAY ME! I cover two pins and walk away with 9. From there, I made a small adjustment, moving right with my feet one board and then I started to find the pocket. Unfortunately, I kept leaving ringing 10’s, which I subsequently picked up. I managed to string a few strikes together, but not enough to make a great game out of it. In the end I finished with a decent 185. I’m always happy to start with a 180+ game, because I know that I’ve given myself a good platform for a 600 series, which is what we’re shooting for, right?

Game two. This game started much the same as the one before it. 8 count and a spare. From here I started to string some strikes together but I left a couple opens which seems to be the story of my bowling life at the moment. Having said that, I managed to get myself positioned well to finish the game with at least an early 200, only to open the 10th and this game became the game of 3 opens. Again, I finish with a decent game, this time 191. With 376 I’ve got myself in good position for the first 600 of this season.

Game three. This game started with an absolute blast for me opening the game with the front five. By the time I step up in the sixth, I’m already thinking about a 600 series and the possibility of throwing a very high 200, or possibly even a 300 game. Unfortunately, this is where the game completely fell apart.

In the 6th frame, I missed my mark just a little to the left, but I get lucky and leave just a ringing 10 pin. I’ve shot this spare hundreds of times and know the routine to hitting this spare. I’ve done twice already tonight in league alone, but since I’m already thinking about the 600 series, I start to over think the shot and put way more pressure on it than I need to and miss it by an inch or so. But thats okay I’m still in good shape for a 600. If I strike out from here, I can still shoot a 267 max.

In the 7th, as consequence of the shot before, I give the ball a little too much room to the right and leave myself with a 6-7-10 split. To make matters worse, I chop it and take just the 6 pin. I’m still okay though, I can still shoot a 245, which will give me a 621.

In the 8th, I throw a good shot but it leaves a solid 7. For some reason I struggle to shoot left hand spares and this is in the back of my mind as I line up for the shot and consequently miss it by just an inch. Again. Okay, things are starting to get desperate if I want a 600. I need to strike out to get a 224 which gives me a 600 series exactly. What the hell is going on?

In the 9th frame, I throw what looks like a reasonable shot and get left with 4-7-8 cluster and staying true to form, I chop the 8 leaving two pins. What was once looking like a mid 600 hundred game is now going to be a 202 at best. All hope of a 600 has just fallen by the wayside.

Stepping up in the 10th with a 172, I need to strike out to keep this game even close to what it should be. In then end I get the first 2 and leave a 6 count in the fill frame for a 198. In just 4 frames, I’ve managed to turn what should have been AT LEAST a 230’s game and  withered it away to a 198. *Sighs*

This is a good example of just how much of an impact the mental side of  a game can have on physical execution. If I had just stayed out of my own way and bowled, I have no doubt that I would have bowled a great game and finished with a reasonable 600 series.

In the end I finished the night with a 574, which is a far cry from the 510’s and 480’s that have plagued me these last 2 months. I finally feel like I’m starting to find a rhythm again and getting back to some semblance of competitive form. I think changing back to my original ball is helping. The few times we’ve bowled in the No-Tap tournament in Prestonsburg has been helping as well, because I’ve had to learn how to play a different shot at that house, which helps to make me a more well rounded bowler, which is always a good thing. I’m still anxious to get that first 600 of the season. It’s really starting to feel like a monkey on my back; one I’d really like to shake. Preferably sooner rather than later, but at this point its really just a matter of time.

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