Last December, at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, hundreds of bowlers competed, both for a regional title and for seven exemption positions on the PBA Tour. In addition, the winner of this competition would be privileged to bowl in the Tournament of Champions later in the season. In the end it was seasoned veteran Mark Hall and Scott Norton, with two games to go, vying for the champion’s spot.
Norton was down about 50 pins after four days of grueling play on four different PBA patterns. Total pins would determine who was to make the Tour, who would do something else for a living, and who would win. He posted a 278 in the second to last game, and never looked back after that.
“That win took every last bit of guts I had.”
-Scott Norton, Winner of the PBA Tour exemption qualifying tournament
Anyone who bowls competitively would like to think that, given the opportunity, they would close out a game or tournament with the same kind of authority. Yet there are so many distractions, disturbances, and derailments that can occur, that many players either fall or fail. Others simply never envision being in this situation, and so they bowl themselves out of it. These players save themselves before they can get bruised this far down the line.
This month, we are going to look at the preparations needed so that you can close a game, or a tournament, when you are faced with the opportunity. The task is to put yourself in position to be an effective challenger. Then, when you know you are nearing the finish line, learning to put the hammer down, á la Norton’s 278, and gliding in to victory.
The essential elements
Let’s get right to it. We can break your championship play into several key elements. That way you can look at areas of your game which are toned up, and other areas which have been forgotten, or are underused.
As you know, in order to be a champion player, you need a lot more than a good armswing and release. Those important pieces of your game are just part of being a champion player. Sure, you must have the consistency to repeat shots, and to ...
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