As a sports of throwing, bowling is somehow like shooting, archery..etc..We all need a system to aim at the target for the best accuracy. So how do you aim when bowling? Don’t tell me that you just throw your eyes at the pins, it wouldn’t be an effective strategy according to many elite bowlers.
As a rule, you might be told to look at the arrow which is about 15 feet from the foul line. It’s a good way to start with aiming when you bowl. But there’s another even better system to aim for better accuracy yet easy to implement. I would like to introduce you to the 3 point targeting system for advanced lane play by USBC Gold Coach Joe Slowinski. This system has been proved as extremly effective to increase bowlers’ accuracy at Kegel training center. So how is it explained?
Determining your 3 point trajectory line
The Three-Point Targeting System has a planning and implementing phase. In the planning phase, you will determine an exit point, focal point, visual short target and a slide point, in that order. This plan will help you establish a straight trajectory line and increase your lane play accuracy.
1. Determine the exit point of the pattern with the formula pattern length minus 31 (PL – 31). This is the board location at the end of the pattern that provides the bowler with the most margin of error. For example, a 40-foot pattern would have an exit point of board 9 at 40 feet (40-31=9).
2. Draw a line from the exit point to the pins. Use the focal point image provided in the article to assist you with this. These are righthanded focal points. For most sport conditions, begin by drawing a straight line back on the same board. In our 40-foot example, your starting test focal point would be the center of the 6 pin for righthanded bowlers, and the center of the 4 pin for lefthanded bowlers.
3. Choose a visual short target, based on drawing a straight trajectory line back, from the focal through the exit point. In the starting practice case, we will test a straight line on a sport pattern. The visual or short target would be board 9 at the arrows, dots or in front of the foul line, where you normally target visually with your short target when throwing the ball.
Remember: Pick out a part of the pin that most closely matches up with the line you’ve drawn including:
1. Inside edge
3. Outside edge
4. Inside base
5. Outside base
4. Add seven boards to determine an appropriate laydown board that corresponds with this trajectory line. Some adjustments will be needed on your slide point, based on your individual laydown.
Implementing Three-Point Targeting (with Quiet Eye)
Based on your plan, you will now have three specific targets to aid in establishing a better trajectory line. Specifically, you now have your four reference points:
- laydown point
Remember, when implementing, you will target from back to front, from the focal through the exit through the visual.
After you are completely set up on the approach, you will begin targeting, back to front. When targeting, you will begin with the focal point. Be sure to keep your eye on the exact spot on the deck or on the pin that corresponds with the board that you want to use. For example, if it is the center of the 6 pin, be sure to only look at the center of the 6…not the 3-6 or 6-10.
- To promote the Quiet Eye, you will keep your gaze on the focal point for two full seconds: one-thousand one, one-thousand two.
- Next, bring your eyes to the exit point. Again, keep your eye on the target for two full seconds: one-thousand one, one-thousand two.
- Finally, bring your eyes smoothly to the visual target. Again, keep your eye on the target for two full seconds: one-thousand one, one-thousand two.
When making adjustments, move the focal point first before the visual. The exit point will remain. For example, for a righthanded bowler, if the ball is hooking too far left, you will need to move your focal point to the right to change the trajectory line.
After moving the focal point to the right, draw the line back through the exit point to your visual target. At this point, you will have a new slide point as well. Think of this process as when a children’s spinner moves, much like those spinners used in Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land games. The exit point will be in the center. If the top moves right, then the bottom of the spinner moves left. In other words, the focal point would move right and the visual target left, with the exit still in the same spot.
After the new line is established, set your slide shoe parallel to this new target line. Be sure the new line created is a straight trajectory line. The ball will go in the direction of the focal point, then, based on your release and bowling ball, change direction toward the pocket. This will change your launch angle through the exit point.
As you throw the ball, make an effort to throw through all three points, in your mind. If you have difficulty finding the exit point, when targeting, establish the appropriate focal and visual targets, using the exit point in the planning phase. Then, you can use the focal and visual targets, which go through the exit point. Some bowlers have difficulty seeing the exit point clearly when on the approach. But, these bowlers can use the exit point in the planning process.