Monday, May 16, 2011


When I get to the host city of the USBC Open (or previously, the ABC Nationals), I like to watch earlier squads to gather information as to where I can or should play the lanes. Now, you can read the Internet for other bowlers' experiences or insights. One source of information has always been USBC Hall of Famer Jeff Richgels. He has posted on his blog his information, sources and practice methods for his team on how they attack their team pair.

If you have been following, there have been higher scores and numerous honor scores. The top teams are, once again, scoring high. Even Jeff has posted his insight while practicing on the Open lane condition in his home house.
One thing to emphasize about this year is that it's more about getting to the pocket "correctly" to carry well, rather than just finding the pocket, as it usually is at the Open Championships.
Getting to the pocket is not an issue this year? The Open is not a tournament to let your guard down and lose focus on your goal. The pessimist in me knows a bad set or sets this year will be more disappointing than in year's past. I will now block all this Internet information and do my normal routine. I will watch similar bowlers to my style while I am there and see how they are doing. I will make my adjustments to the lanes as they are playing. Tougher conditions dictate that I play more conservative. Easier house conditions usually require more aggressive style, such as more speed or more back-end reaction. I will keep a tough condition mentality and try not to lose that focus after my first double. I hope it will be the start of many strings. But only focus, concentration, and good shots make that happen, even if it was on a house shot.

Side note: We used to bowl the same dates and squads as Jeff Richgels teams. Well, both groups moved to different dates. While they took our money most every year, I do remember those guys congratulating me as I bowled a perfect game in team event in 2007. I also enjoyed bowling with some of them during the Bowlers Journal squads. As current and former professional bowlers, they are a pleasure to bowl with and against. They are a credit to our sport. However, I am glad we no longer bowl on the same USBC Open squads!

May 21 update: Too prophetic. This team is now leading the USBC Open team event with a record 1281 team game.

You know the feeling when you strike every shot in practice, and then cannot strike once the competition begins? I'm starting to get that feeling before I am even on the plane to Reno.