The Storm Corner

If you watch the best in the world bowl on ESPN, you will see the best in our sport cover more boards on a lane, with more speed, than you and me. And you’ll often hear it said that the top professionals have a phenomenal ball roll. What does that mean? Don’t all of us who participate in the sport of bowling roll the ball, in some fashion? The answer is ‘yes’ but while we all roll the ball when we bowl, we all apply a different type of action to the ball. Some have more side roll and rotate more quickly. Others look like a top when they go down the lane, not the best professionals in the U.S., mind you. And we can talk about the ‘spinner style,’ which dominated the recent World Championships in Las Vegas, at a later date.

So, when we mention the term ‘ball roll’ we are referring to these three elements of how the ball rotates as it travels down the lane:

  1. Rev rate
  2. Axis rotation
  3. Axis tilt

Do you consider two-handed sensations like Jason Belmonte, Osku Palermaa and Kyle Troup to be “crankers?” If so, it is because of their high rev rate. Defined as how fast the ball rotates over a specific length of time, usually minutes, rev rate relates to the amount of energy transferred from your release to the bowling ball. Players who generate the most powerful strike balls do so with a strong, leveraged position, their fingers well below the equator of the ball. And they do so not only with a cupped wrist, and possibly bent elbow, but also through proper use of the strongest muscle group in their body, their legs! Try lifting a heavy suitcase with just your arms, and you’ll quickly realize how often you use your legs without even thinking about it.

To find your rev rate, you will need to use your camera on your phone or an appropriate app.  Watch the number of times your ball turns over in one second and multiply by that number by 60, as there are 60 seconds in a minute. Watch this great video below, too, for a better explanation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yccbhBI-Yy0&feature=youtu.be

A cranker will have a rev rate of at least 400 rpms, or revolutions per minute. Tweeners have less hand action than the cranker, and will have between 200 and 400 rpms. The straightest players, the strokers, have less than 200 rpms. Which category do you fall in? Find out and you will be one step closer to fully understanding your game!

The second part of the ball roll formula is your axis rotation. This refers to the direction of your ball roll. A ball that rolls completely end-over-end is said the have 0 degrees axis rotation. Great for predictability, this heavy forward roll will give you great control on the backends, but generates little entry angle and often lacks carry power. Here is how to find your axis rotation at home:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-btz1SpFtw

A player like Pete Weber has nearly the exact opposite. The 90 degree axis rotation generates maximum hook on the backend and yields unmatched power at the pins. This is most often referred to as the high risk-high reward type of roll. A majority of players, however, fall somewhere between these two extremes. A moderate amount of side roll is considered the optimum amount. Exhibited by nearly ¾ of the entire PBA tour, the 45 degree rotation will surely give you a nice combination of power and predictability.

The final ingredient of the recipe is axis tilt. To best describe axis tilt, imagine a top spinning on your desk or table. This type of roll, when equated to a bowling ball, would considered 90 degrees of tilt and would be seen only if the ball track were to be condensed to one very small point. On the converse, consider a ball track that covers the full circumference of the ball, all 27 inches of it, and you would have 0 degrees of tilt. Again, these are the extremes and nearly everyone falls in a comfortable range somewhere in-between! This is how to find your axis tilt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkRscXz5JTU

In closing, be sure to know your ball roll. Remember the three variables: rev rate, axis rotation, and axis tilt. The better you understand your game the easier it will be for you to select the proper ball and layout for each lane condition! And to learn more about Storm’s line of high performance equipment, spend some time on our website, www.stormbowling.com, or feel free to contact me via e-mail at stevek@stormbowling.com.


Stay In The Moment

The process... to stay within the moment.

BUT, how does one stay “within the moment”?

It seems to come so naturally for some, Weber, Belmonte, Federer, Nicklaus… any great performer, and it really doesn't matter the sport or disciple. Those who have “it” seem to carry some sort of unique power to always succeed.

Throughout my years of competition, the one thing I consistently witnessed from the best was their commitment to their process. To stay “within the moment”. What does this mean? We hear, “stay in the moment,” often, but how is it really accomplished?

Success is the result of proper execution. Proper execution is a result of being committed to staying focused. Our focus lies within your process which often leads to the ability to stay in the moment. This is accomplished by not allowing outside interference affect your performance and not allowing distraction to interrupt your flow. Distractions come in many forms. The #1 distraction is to be focused on the results. Humans are competitive. We are constantly measuring ourselves against society and against our peers. We want newer cars, bigger houses, nicer clothes, larger bank accounts, the list is endless. Why do we have these desires? The ability to understand this leads to the ability to understand why some can perform “within the moment” and why others can’t.

To be properly focused on the task at hand (the process), one must stay in the moment.

Not the past, no matter how far or immediate, nor the future. It takes great discipline to not be results oriented when we are competing. We can’t look ahead. It also takes great discipline to let go of the negative past results we have experienced. We can’t look behind either. This balancing act is exactly what the greats do to remain in the process. The mind is clear and quiet, the thoughts are purely on the action. It is a form of passive aggressiveness, to get exactly what you want to have and to “let” it happen. You must “allow” yourself to perform, you cannot “make” it happen. It doesn't work that way. It never has and it never will.

A drill that I have used with many of the players I coach is to learn to not watch the scores. This is much easier said than done, but if implemented fully, it will pay immediate dividends. In your next league/tournament, do not look at your score, nor recap, nor results, nor your opponent’s score, nor your friend's scores, nor your rivals scores. What does this drill achieve? Well, it teaches the mind and muscles to stay in the process.

The only shot of any importance is the next one. Nothing else matters.

Our mind knows when we are bowling well, we can feel it. Our mind knows when we are bowling bad, we feel that too. We do not need a number on a piece of paper to tell us what we already feel. Once you feel your body speaking to you and you learn to listen to it, you will then learn to be more honest with yourself. Honest with what you feel, and how to improve on that. The smallest of errors can be felt, things you would have never felt before. Removing the scores from being the dominant factor in how one self-assesses their performance teaches you that you are trying 100% EVERY shot. You are not allowing distraction or the fear of results to affect your performance. You are living in the moment. You are leaving it all out there. No matter what your results are, you tried your best, and that is all we can truly ask of ourselves.