Newport, KY and Mo Pinel

Okay, so just a week or so ago, I blogged about my itinerary for the upcoming month. Well, yesterday being my birthday, we made the trip up to Newport, KY. After getting quite a late night trying to get some last minute work out of the way before we left, we were up at 7am to get out the door by 8am. For once, we got out of the house on time but we had to stop to get some stuff for the trip. Three and a half hours is a long way to go with a 20 month old in the back with no snacks or anything to drink. We finally got out on the road by about 8.20am. Not bad at all!

So we stopped in London, KY, for breakfast. Thank you McDonalds! From there we continued on our way. Now, for those that have never traveled on the interstate or any other high speed road, there is something to be said for traveling at 75 mile an hour. The 79 miles from Lexington to Newport was gone so fast! Before we knew it, we were in Florence, KY which is just 10 to 15 minutes south of Newport.

We put in to Newport at about 12pm. We stopped at a gas station just off the off ramp and asked for directions to the bowling alley (I forgot to print them out) and he said just follow shark signs to the aquarium and its on Monmouth road. So we did that until we got to Monmouth Rd and the part we intersected with was one way – in the wrong direction! So we got on it until it ended and decided get on a parallel road that went in the opposite direction and as far as we could. Well, that didn’t quite work as planned, we asked a woman on the side of the road how to get there. She said just get back on the road we were just on, follow the road the lights and turn left. You will see the mall and the alley is at the far end of that. So we did that and we parked up in front of Hitt’s Pro Shop at about 12.20pm.

So after stretching the legs and changing Lily’s diaper, we walked in. Right there, behind the desk was Mo Pinel. I introduced myself to Josh, who I’d actually spoken to on the phone about booking in the session and he quickly announced our arrival. Mo looked up from his Blueberry (I think it was Blueberry. It might have just been a phone.) and said “Ah! Hello! I’m impressed by the quality of your posts lately, young man!” As mentioned in a previous post, I know Mo from a couple of bowling forums I frequent. Having only beginning to learn all this stuff just three months ago, I took this as a huge compliment, from a man that has been in the bowling industry almost as long as I’ve been alive!

So after the introductions the owner of the pro shop and some discussion as to how I ended up in Hazard, KY, I went outside to get my gear in for our lesson. I changed in to a pair shorts, because I don’t really like bowling in trousers, and kitting up, Mo told me to throw a few to warm up. My slide foot stuck solid on my first shot! I turned around and said “I’m sticking up!” to which Mo responded “That’s okay. It will do that for a little while, then you’ll be fine.” He was right. After sticking solid for the next three shots, I started to slide again and that is where the lesson begins!

The first thing Mo works on with me, is my release. Being self taught to date, I was making a lot of assumptions about what I was reading and applying as much as I could to my physical game. Unfortunately, I hadn’t applied everything correctly. A good release sees the ball reaching your foot, with your hand completely on the inside of the ball and your thumb pointing at the outside wall. I thought I was close to this, but as it turns out, I was turning the ball over near the top of the swing. So Mo made me focus on turning my hand completely out at the top of the swing for a few shots.

The next thing we worked on, was the actual point of release. A good release sees the hand under the ball as the release begins, still on the inside of the ball. As the ball reaches the foot, snap your wrist, causing your fingers to sweep across the bottom of the ball, thus creating revolutions, thus creating hook. Everything I have heard and read until now has told me to stay behind and under the ball, then quickly rotate your hand counter clockwise. I was only executing half the picture. I was staying under and behind the ball, but at release I was only completing half the rotation, then lifting straight up. This is bad in my case, as it tends to result in the ball thumbing until it gets about half down the lanes.

From there, it was just a case of doing it over and over and over, again. The challenge for me was not lifting through the ball. So Mo told me that I was to practice spinning the ball three times a week, for 30 minutes sessions. This is just to retrain my muscles and to get used to the feel of spinning and not lifting.

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