How to Practice - Two Ideas to Get the Most out of Your Game

One of the first keys to improving your bowling game is to practice properly. You know the old saying, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”

This is one good reason why it’s very important to work closely with a qualified teaching professional. A qualified bowling coach will determine what parts of your game need the most attention and give you specific drills, exercises and corrections that will help you raise your scores. No matter what level a player you are, trying to diagnose and correct the problems in your game without a “second set of eyes” is an invitation to trouble.

Here are a couple of guidelines to help you get the most out of your practice sessions. Follow them and you’ll find that practice will turn from an arduous regimen into a productive and even enjoyable journey of improvement.

Chart Your Game

Even though almost everyone realizes that during a practice session, the weakest areas of their game should be the one’s of your main focus, we tend to spend most of the practice time doing what we do best. A simple approach to determine what areas you should be working on is to keep a chart of your game. That is, during every league session or bowling outing, write down the following:

  • How many times and what direction you missed the pocket (left, right, high, light).
  • What single pins you seem to leave most often on pocket hits (strike percentage).
  • What spares you leave.
  • What spares you missed and how you missed the spare (left, right, chop).
  • Each individual game score and the average of each game. (1st game average, 2nd game average, 3rd game average).

Do this for several leagues sessions or tournaments and you should see a distinctive pattern. From this information you will clearly see what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Develop a Plan for Practice

Here’s where working with a qualified bowling coach can really pay off in bowling higher scores. Once you have completed an accurate charting of your game, sit down with a knowledgeable coach and interpret the results. The instructor may see some specific trends in the results that are not apparent to you.

If your strike percentage is low, under 50 percent, then you may need to work on your ball roll, ball speed, or choice of equipment. If you are chopping the 6 off the 10, then you are probably hooking the ball too much at that spare. If you consistently miss your mark to the left, your timing may be too early. A professional teacher of the game can help you focus on the areas of your game that need the most attention.

When developing a practice schedule, keep in mind that the most effective practice is done over short periods of time versus spending hours throwing shot after shot at your local bowling center. A great time to practice is right after receiving a lesson because the thoughts and the feel you just learned are already fresh in your mind.

By following a structured practice regime, you will soon be on your way to higher scores with a better understanding of what makes your bowling game work.

Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson began his career in the bowling business in 1976 at the age of 15 working for the Florida based Galaxy Lanes chain. Beginning from the ground up in center operations, he has also been a long time Pro Shop proprietor, 40 lane center General Manager, PBA National Tour player, multi PBA Regional Champion, PBA Player Services Director, and even a bowling writer. Since 2004 he has been working with Kegel.

Ted has also coached bowling on many different levels. From basic Learn to Bowl classes and private lessons while in the Pro Shop business, he was also head coach for Florida State University, countless PBA professionals, and even coached Lisa Wagner to her last Player of the Year award in 1993. While working for the PBA, the late great Dick Weber even asked for some of his time. An experience Ted says "he will always cherish". Dick immediately won a Senior Sweeper and gave him $300. It was the most Ted ever received for an hour lesson, and it came from one of the greatest players of all time.

Recently, Ted has been deeply studying topography and the effects it has on ball motion. He is also on the Kegel Team helping make decisions for many of the oil patterns Kegel uses in competitions world wide, which has led to further development of Kegel's lane machines. Ted has a complete and unique understanding of bowling from many different sides.

Ted also named the world's and Kegel's most popular lane machine the "Kustodian ION" (pronounced "EON" in Europe) and spearheaded the creation of Kegel's Navigation Oil Patterns. The creativity may be heredity. In 1968 Ted's father created the famous Dodge Super Bee logo and spearheaded that marketing campaign.