Never Be Too Complacent To Adapt

Last weekend the PWBA tour traveled to Sonoma County, CA; wine country! Somewhere I had never been before, however, bowling did get in the way of me enjoying everything wine country had to offer. (Darn bowling!) But I was extremely excited to see the infamous Golden Gate Bridge on our drive to and from the airport, and see Alcatraz from a distance over the bridge. Everything looked so beautiful from a far, I hope one day I’ll be able to go back and be a tourist.

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Now down to business! We competed at Double Decker Lanes for stop number two of the 2016 PWBA Tour season. The proprietors and staff at Double Decker Lanes were absolutely fantastic. They were so thrilled to host all of the professionals that competed, they were engaging, kind, helpful, and most of all supportive. I turned around from throwing my first strike game 1 of qualifying and had a handful of strangers clapping for me. How cool is that?! Additionally, after every game our lane monitor had some words of encouragement for me, regardless of if I bowled a great game or not so great game. Most weekends, although I have a roommate, I am traveling on my own. I absolutely love when my family and boyfriend come to watch me bowl, as they are my strongest support system, however it was so comforting to know I had a group of people at the venue and at home rooting me on, and wanting me to perform well.

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As for the lane conditions, they were HARD! To move onto the cashers round it took an average of 195.5, that’s -54 over the 12 games of qualifying. From the beginning the lane conditions were not forgiving, but the hardest part was moving from pair to pair throughout the bowling center. The topography was certainly not friendly! My own bowling was a significant improvement over last weekend, so I was extremely pleased with that! Plus I cashed, that never hurts :). I executed shots much more consistently, made A LOT of spares, and bowled A LOT of clean games. Let’s just say it was a grind. I can recall only five times the entire weekend, that’s over 18 games between qualifying and the cashers round, that I threw more than a double. And three of those five times were only triples. It certainly makes scoring high, very difficult when you are not stringing strikes together easily. And YES, that was extremely frustrating. However, anytime you bowl, whether it be league, a local tournament, a regular season tour stop, or the US Open, scoring pace dictates all. Despite my frustration I knew I was doing okay in terms of the standings, so I just kept my head up and kept plugging along.

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Yes, I cashed and although that’s great, that certainly is not my goal every week. Every time I bowl I make sure I leave having gained some sort of knowledge or experience from it, to be better for next time. There is no room for complacency when you’re aiming for much higher than mediocrity. I didn’t have lousy carry because of the bowling ball I was throwing (Ebonite International produces amazing bowling balls!), because I didn’t have the right surface on my ball, or for any other reason that’s out of my physical control. After coming home and collecting my thoughts about the past weekend, I took a look at the girls that made match play and compared myself to them. Many of them have a higher rev rate than I do, their footwork is quicker, and their hands/fingers are in a better place on the ball at release point than mine are, therefore they have more of an opportunity to manipulate how a ball reacts with their hand. Higher rev rates create more margin for error, greater pin carry, and ultimately more strikes. Combine that with the accuracy the top players have, that typically results in higher scores. Now I’m not saying that I’m going to turn into Belmo over night or ever for that matter, but making some small tweaks to the things I already do well can change my results significantly.

So keeping all of this in mind, I made sure I had some productive practices this week. I worked on getting my ball into the swing sooner and faster. This allows my feet to move a bit quicker and helps me gain momentum as I’m approaching the foul line. This also gives me some more time to have my hand working the ball at release. Day 1 of practicing this was not pretty! I had no idea what direction the ball was going in, and it really just felt awful but potentially in a good way. Days 2 and 3 of practicing this were much better, I still had some directional issues but I threw many more good shots. I certainly haven’t fixed my flaws and it’s definitely not perfect yet, it could honestly take months to really be better, and it will always be a work in progress. But if I don’t try this now, it could make for an extremely long season of getting 9. Some may think I’m crazy for trying to change some of my physical game in the middle of the season, but I came to win. And maybe this is exactly what needs to happen. As many bowlers say, “you’ve got to risk it, to get the biscuit!”

I am thrilled to be heading back to California this weekend, but this time to Sacramento! Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes is our first repeat stop of the season. This stop was by far my favorite of all of the places we visited last year. The atmosphere and the fans were incredible! Looking forward to an even better weekend on the lanes.

Catch you next time, in my spare time. – Jackie Carbonetto

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