Every year, more than 50 million people go bowling. For most, bowling is a recreation, a game to be enjoyed alone or as a social outing with friends and family. But for some people—you, for instance—bowling is something else: a competitive sport, where the participant wants to knock down more pins than everyone else. When this happens, these transitioning bowlers become Bowlers with a capital B.
In this series, I’ll address issues that will help bowlers become Bowlers. If you’re making the jump from recreational to more competitive play, these things may be new to you, or maybe you’ve heard of them and they piqued your interest. Either way, I’ll try to add something valuable to your knowledge of bowling, starting with a discussion of the equipment and one of the most important mental tools you’ll need as a competitive bowler: the pre-shot routine. But first, let’s talk about safety.
Avoiding slide-related injuries
All sports carry some risk of injury. In bowling, one of the biggest potential danger zones is the approach. Recreational bowlers don’t always realize that spilling drinks or dropping food can lead to serious injury. Someone can slip and fall, or stick violently. But accidents like these are avoidable. As a competitive bowler, you will bowl in multiple centers, and also change lanes frequently for tournaments.
Before you bowl, slowly slide to the foul line, a foot or two at a time, paying special attention to the last five or six feet, right up to the line, gutter to gutter. If you can slide without slipping or sticking, you’re OK. If you can’t, call for help and don’t bowl until the problem is addressed.
Humidity can also make the approaches tacky. Afraid of sticking, some bowlers resort to using a powder on their shoe that’s made specifically to help ...
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