By Michael Cousins
I have touched on this before — and I’m sure I’ll touch on it again — but loft is necessary in today’s game.
After Master’s qualifying ended last week, many people were on social media discussing their distaste for loft — one person even went as far as saying that it is a gimmicky trick, and something that only bowlers without talent utilize.
On the contrary, typically the most talented bowlers are the ones that are truly great at it.
Loft is a skill. It’s a talent. As is knowing when and how to use it to your advantage. And those that do it — and do it well — do it because they have to, not because they’re just choosing to do it.
Understand that when these ultra flat and tough patterns break down, with todays rev rates, there’s only one place for bowlers to move: left. And once you’ve moved a certain amount left, you can’t really move any more, without loft that is.
You have to clear the channel when you get way inside. And then, furthermore, once that also goes away, and you can’t move any farther left, the final alternative is giving it some air — and sometimes lots of it.
I see people say “why don’t they just move right with urethane or plastic?” Or, “why don’t they just take their hand out of it?”
Honestly, to be quite frank, those thoughts are naive and misinformed.
Plastic and urethane are not viable options when you’re forced to play that far left. The balls are not going to give these players — even with their revrates — enough angle to carry from inside. These guys are trying to strike every time. Spares are important, but they’re not going to win you a major championship on their own.
As for taking hand out of the ball, revrate is an advantage. It can drastically improve their carry. So, once again, when you’re that far left, lowering your revrate just isn’t as viable as loft.
Loft allows players to create angles that they couldn’t otherwise do. It allows players to stick with their same revrate and stronger(ish) balls that will go through the pins better. Loft allows players to strike at a higher rate than the other alternatives.
What is interesting to me about this whole thing, is just how ignorant some people are to it. I’ve seen people make the argument that the players that do it are less talented than the players not doing it. And that blows me away.
Think about this for a second. It’s very hard, especially on some of these conditions, to hit what you’re looking at consistently and throw it consistently. Pressure, the environment, the moment, the patterns. These are all things that impact and effect our ability to loosen up and throw it to the best of our ability. Even in regular situations.
Now, imagine you’re bowling game 9 of a major event. You have all those same pressures and stressers on you. BUT now you also have to hit exactly what you’re looking at IN AIR 10-15 feet — sometimes father with some of these guys — down the lane, on the fly. It’s incredible.
People say, “well, that just shows they aren’t versatile.”
Uhm, excuse me?
If that isn’t versatility, please, enlighten me as to what is?
When a guy moves out to the gutter and aces one, the general consensus is “wow, he’s so versatile.”
But when a bowler moves his feet into 50, has to alter his approach to deal with the ball return, sometimes take 3 steps, loft the ball over the gutter cap, 10-15 feet down the lane, projecting the ball to their breakpoint from an extreme and difficult angle, and dead labels it they’re “one dimensional?”
Explain this to me, please, because I’m genuinely interested to know.
Loft, in many cases is not only effective, but necessary. It’s today’s bowling. The lanes call for it at times. And these guys are getting really, really good at it. And it’s incredible to watch, when you truly understand the skill and talent it takes to pull it off effectively and efficiently.
So, if you’re a doubter, next time you see a bowler lofting it over the heads, try to have a different mindset; be more open minded. I promise, you’ll appreciate it much more.