He only uses two fingers
March 1, 2009 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Just like your grandma, Jason Belmonte bowls with two hands but unlike your grandma he bowls 300s

Some people say this is like the Fosbury flop, everyone's laughing now but it's a technique that allows for more spin or whatever. Some people say he won't last, we'll see.
posted by BrnP84 (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can remember bowling through my legs as a little kid. I was expecting that from this guy and was a little disappointed that his method doesn't look totally stupid.
posted by selfnoise at 6:25 PM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

This is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
posted by gman at 6:27 PM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Always that one guy who does what everyone else does differently...and is damned good at it.
posted by Chan at 6:31 PM on March 1, 2009

Damn. I was expecting a full-on Rick Barry-style granny shot.
posted by grounded at 7:06 PM on March 1, 2009

Just like your grandma...

Dude, my grandma is 85 and she bowls every Tuesday. She rocks it one-handed.
posted by Kimothy at 7:36 PM on March 1, 2009

"Bowling's lost its luster, and I think he could bring it back," says U.S. pro Mike Fagan.

I'm not sure anything is going to save bowling.
posted by dammitjim at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2009

Bah, the two-hander isn't going to go all that far.

If a technique with more spin is going to go anywhere, it's more likely to be the "helicopter" or "spinner" delivery, which is popular in Asia. That one's especially notable as it's not just a difference in the delivery of the ball, but achieves the strike through alternative pin action - instead of the ball hitting in the pocket, taking out the center pins itself, and sending the rest outwards, the spinner hits the pocket and deflects to the side, thus the need for lighter balls to allow the deflection to happen.

I don't think the two-hander allows for that much more than what some guys can already get with the traditional delivery, say a guy with large hands and a 14 pound ball.

Then again, the spinner is better for extremely tough oil patters, which isn't exactly where the game is going. House shots have become easier than they used to be, and combined with the modern equipment, league bowlers are averaging higher than ever. And the PBA has only a small selection of predictable oil patterns that they use. Sure, that's better than twenty years ago where they'd just set up one pro or another to win the tournament depending on their moods, but there's a lot of room for them to make things harder and do it fairly. But everyone wants higher scores, both for league play and the pros. Push the oil pattern tougher for league play, drop the 210-average folks down to 170, and league attendance will drop. Push the pros down to that level (which wouldn't be hard to do), and the fans stop watching.
posted by evilangela at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2009 [6 favorites]

evilangela, please to assemble the bestest bowling post on mefi evar? k?


(i really mean it! you sound like someone with some science to throw down upon us!)
posted by mwhybark at 8:34 PM on March 1, 2009

Some one-handers are taking bowling form to new heights.
posted by terranova at 9:04 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I really don't understand bowling as a competitive sport. I mean, basically each turn is exactly the same: all of the pins are lined up exactly, there aren't any impediments to your movements, no real time constraints. You are only nominally competing with another person (which is to say, you can play the entire game with an identical outcome on your own). The motions aren't even particularly strenuous so tiredness and endurance is not really part of the equation.

I would think that you would simply pull out a couple of people who knew how to spin a ball and they would consistently bowl 300s and that would be it.

If there were changing variables -- for instance, if they bowled over a slate surface rippling with water, or if the bowling balls had hamster wheels inside them or something -- I could understand the ongoing interest. Otherwise it seems like having a competition where people add numbers together on calculators or something.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:10 PM on March 1, 2009

I'm not an avid bowler but Deathalicious there's a little more to it than that. Each turn isn't exactly the same, usually bowling competitions are done in two lanes with varying oil conditions and as a match goes on the conditions change. The outcome would not be the same if you are on your own, it's just like making a free throw at the begining of a game vs. making one with 1min left and your team is down 3. Bowling is generally done in match play style, you play the guy sitting right next to you and at all times you know what your score and his/her score is. The motions are strenous, you're throwing a 15lb ball about as hard as you can at least 20-30 times, usually more. I'm not a big bowling fan either but it's definetely a skill sport, that's why I bowl 100s and these guys bowl 250s.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:27 PM on March 1, 2009

I didn't understand what evilangela was talking about until I found this.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:02 AM on March 2, 2009

Grandma bowls with one hand. She keeps the other one on her walker.
posted by orme at 4:24 AM on March 2, 2009

Bowling not only takes skill, it takes balls.
posted by Goofyy at 5:37 AM on March 2, 2009

posted by porn in the woods at 7:10 AM on March 2, 2009

If there were changing variables -- for instance, if they bowled over a slate surface rippling with water, or if the bowling balls had hamster wheels inside them or something -- I could understand the ongoing interest. Otherwise it seems like having a competition where people add numbers together on calculators or something.

But there are, they're just less obvious.

First, the delivery of a bowling ball is a complex physical motion, easily on par with swinging a golf club, or throwing a pitch. It's really hard to learn to do it nearly the same way every time, and even once you're there, it's easy to make small mistakes. You're walking 3/4/5 steps while swinging a 14-16 lb weight with your hand, trying to get the weight swinging at the same time and same speed every time, and letting it go at the exact same time and same way, while aiming it at a point about an inch across about 15 feet away. Even the pros aren't consistent - that's why spin is so important, since combined with the lane oil, you can eliminate some of the variables in how and where you release the ball.

Oh yes, the oil. There's your biggest changing variable. Most of the length of the lane is covered in a thin layer of oil. But the amount of oil they put down on various portions of the lane is not constant - there will likely be more oil in some places, and less in others. This will affect the friction between the ball and the lane in enormous ways. So every time you go bowling, it's an exercise in adaptation - how is the oil laid out today, and how do I adjust where I stand on the lane, where I aim the ball, and how much speed and spin I put on it?

A minor change in the lane oil pattern can have a huge effect on the bowler's score. For example, one night on a league, the oil they put down worked so well with my delivery that I was able to stand in one spot, throw the ball pretty much anywhere between the 1st and 3rd arrows on the right side (about a foot wide of a target), and have it come in for a strike. I bowled 741 for three games. Later that year, I was in a league that had pro tour conditions - I pretty much had to hit one specific mark on the lane to get a strike. That night, I shot about 500 for three games. That's a big difference.

Then there's the part where every single time the ball goes down the lane, it alters the oil. While rolling over areas with more oil, some of it clings to the surface of the ball. Then when it hits ares with less oil, some of that ball gets deposited back onto the lane. For one person bowling one game on a pair of lanes, it's not much of an effect. When a lot of people are bowling on that pair, or one person bowls a lot of games, that can have a huge effect - so a bowler has to learn to adapt during play. You may have what seems like the right place to stand and aim to get your strikes, but as play goes on, you'll find that your ball isn't hooking back as much, or too much. If you don't anticipate the changes and know just when to move, you'll watch your performance go down and down.

You take any experienced bowler, figure out how they bowl, and you could devise an oil pattern for the lane that would make them score much, much higher - or the opposite, make them struggle like they've never struggled before. And you won't know which is on the lane until you throw that first ball.
posted by evilangela at 9:21 AM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

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