Just Paying Attention - Featuring Jodi Woessner By Mark London, Columnist
It’s a classic sports story. Athlete has pretty good rookie season, then looks forward to continue the momentum the following year. Next season arrives, does OK at first, then athlete goes into a slump. But unlike the sophomore slump many athletes coming off a good rookie season, this athlete kept battling, figured out what happened, then showed off her talents by making the match play rounds in the last two tournaments on the two most demanding oil patterns of the season.
The adjustments by athletes at the highest levels are often very subtle, often invisible to the naked eye. But when things go well, as we’ve seen with Pete Weber on the PBA50 Tour this summer, results can be off the chart.
Jodi Woessner was kind enough to answer questions going into season two of the new PWBA. Now, she recaps one of the most mentally challenging seasons an athlete can experience.
JPA: After your success in 2015, was there a different mind set or game plan going into this season? JW: Yes, but it didn’t work in my favor. I learned a lot last season in regards to the more technical aspects of bowling but I think all that did was make me overthink things at times instead of just letting my ball motion tell me what to do. My game plan going in this year, which was trying to stay as straight as possible, caused bad habits of laying off the ball too much. That would have worked better on the patterns last year, but not so much this year.
It was a big week in the world of league bowling. The 28th and 29th perfect 900 series were shot within 48 hours of each other. David Sewesky of Dearborn, MI shot his 900 on Sunday, quickly followed by Dale Gerhard of Mill Hall, PA who at 59 years old became the oldest person to ever shoot a perfect 900 series. 36 consecutive strikes seems like an impossible task; I really don’t see how this has happened 29 times. It’s not that hard to hit the pocket 36 times in a row on a league shot, but to carry 36 in a row, well, that’s another story. Last week in the Lousy Bowlerz league at Strikz in Frisco, I got a little taste of what all that feels like.
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Bowling and Science Which falls faster in a vacuum chamber - an 8 lb. bowling ball or feathers?
Professor Brian Cox, host of the BBC show, Human Universe, visits NASA’s Space Power Facility in Cleveland, OH. The facility is the world’s largest vacuum chamber used to test space craft in the conditions encountered in outer space. Scan the QR code to watch the video as they test the conditions when feathers and an 8 pound bowling ball are dropped in normal conditions and again when they pump out 30 tons of air in the chamber to simulate weightlessness and zero gravity.
Hope Gramly, a 14 year old freshman at Prosper HS, rolls her first 300.
June 2, 2014
Just Paying Attention By Mark London, Columnist
It was a tongue-in-cheek comment two years ago in Baton Rouge. I told Matt Cannizzaro the only way to keep me from guest commentating on a USBC Open Championships live-stream was to put me in front of the camera. But, even that didn't shut me up. Now on YouTube/Bowl.tv, you can see for yourself how I did, even asking viewers to submit questions on Facebook, then doing the unthinkable and answering them during competition. Oddly, it actually helped keep my mind off what was coming. Oh, yeah, then there was that 10-pin. More on that in next week's TBN and on another edition of The Phantom Radio Show starting Wednesday June 4 at http://phantomradioshow.blogspot.com/
At this time last year, Matt McNiel was finishing up as head coach at the 900 Global Showcase Lanes as part of the 2013 USBC Open Championships. After suffering nagging injuries trying to make a major change in his game while bowling for collegiate powerhouse Wichita State, the most celebrated under the age of 30 bowler in USBC Open Championships history nearly walked away from the game he so dearly loves. In the first part of a twopart exclusive interview in JPA, McNiel outlines how the injuries occurred, what was done to correct them, and how he prepared.
JPA: What physical problems crept into your game? MM: Well, after the 2013 USBC Masters (top 16 finish) I knew I wanted to be able to compete with the pros and be a viable competitor at the PBA national events. It has been my dream since I was 2 years old. However, I knew that my unique style did have flaws, as minimal as they might seem after winning 3 eagles in 3 years. Still, I was not satisfied and wanted to straighten out my footwork and swing in order to create a more consistent and repeatable approach. That was my idea and the coaching staff at WSU fully supported it. However, as things got somewhat straighter my accuracy, rev rate, leverage at release point, follow through and feel went considerably downhill. My body did something for 26 years and now I was trying to change that. I knew as an experienced coach that I would get worse before I got better, but the better really never came. Actually, I battled a lot of physical pain in my hand, wrist and forearm, as my feet and swing straightened, so my body really was rejecting what we were attempting to do. Still, I fought on knowing that this was (in my mind and the coaches minds) the best way for me to get to that next level or upper echelon. A lot of my "feel" at release point is derived from the redirection of my swing (swing goes from right to left and my hand manipulated it to keep the ball on a straighter trajectory), this redirection was what allowed me to release the ball the way I did which gave me my "trick", the ability to have a heavy forward roll that was clean through the front yet still continued down lane. When the swing got straighter, my hand still wanted to redirect the swing at the bottom which created a very poor ball roll, high grip pressure, pain, loss of accuracy and lots of frustration. Basically, I had lost my gift, I threw away what had made me special. Finally after about 7 months of trying to make things straighter, I made the decision that I would attempt to go back to doing what made me successful in the first place.
JPA:What steps did you take do to correct them? MM: It started in the first week of March. With a ton of support and help from my best friend Erik Vermilyea, (I owe so much of my success to him, Erik has always been there for me) I began trying to get "loopy" again, hoping to find that magical gift I used to have. It took a lot of practice of "just letting things go", getting my tempo, goofy footwork and loopy arm swing back. Every minute of practice was dedicated to feel. Feeling good at the line, feeling a good tempo, feeling relaxed. I had many days where I could not throw any good shots, maybe 1 out of 12 or so, but I knew I was on the right trail. It has gotten better over the last few months and I'm feeling confident again in my abilities. Thus far, I have become almost a hybrid of my old self. A little more tilt, a little less roll, a little straighter footwork, and a progressively straighter swing. Mike Jasnau commented that is was a huge difference from what he has seen in the past. The work will always continue, as I am never satisfied, I always want to keep getting better.
JPA: What were your goals going into the Inside Bowling open? MM: Really just to cash. I texted Erik Vermilyea that week and told him I would be lucky to cash. After a horrendous first squad, I was ready to pack it up for the weekend and focus on drinking the remainder of the tournament, but I was pushed by my backer Harvey Johnson to bowl again (Harvey has been a godsend, he has supported me so much and been a huge part of my recovery and I would not be where I am right now without his support and help). I ended up finding a good reaction and slowly but surely I found myself again. I felt all the good things that I had only had glimpses of during that last couple months, and I felt like I belonged, that I could compete and more importantly, that I could win. It turned out to be a good weekend. Lots of things went my way, but they always do when you it's your day to win.
JPA:What were the goals heading into USBCs after winning the IB open? MM: The goals this year were the same as the last and years prior. Good tempo, good shot making, and give yourself a chance to be competitive. I did all of those, however, the lane play was not the greatest and I played them completely wrong in d/s. It happens, even to someone who has three eagles. It was a good learning experience. I will be back next year and give it another run, by bowling standards, I have yet to reach my prime and look forward to getting back in the winner's circle a few more times before my career is over.
Next week in part two, McNiel talks about what made him think about walking away from the game altogether. And TBN's charming and delightful raisin columnist reviews this year's trip to the National Bowling Stadium.
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