When a bowler gets to be my age, he starts worrying about body parts going on the fritz. A tender hamstring, balky knee or arthritic wrist can make participating in the sport we love difficult at times. The aches and pains of growing old are evident if you are around to listen to me as I exit a vehicle after driving for a couple of hours.
So when I came across an article in US Bowler magazine that advocated exercise to make the shoulder more flexible, I was, as they say, listening. At times I felt the author was talking directly to me, like he knew that I was a bowler he was trying to target. Let me share some information with you.
The author suggested that the shoulder is likely the most flexible joint in the body. He also mentioned that a bowler's shoulder is involved in strenuous repetitive action. Exercising the shoulder is important so that we may achieve that loose smooth movement we use in bowling.
All right, perhaps he was not talking directly to me, as smooth is not a word generally associated with what I do on the approach. For argument's sake, however, let's proceed.
You folks can do a simple test for shoulder mobility. Reach up behind your back with one arm. Then bend the other arm behind your head in an attempt to get the fingers of both hands to touch. I tried this and came up a little short with my left arm behind my back. When I attempted the same thing with my right arm, I was woefully short of any finger intersections.
The author explained that it would be more difficult with your dominant arm because of muscle mass. I know, I know. Muscle mass would be akin to using smooth when describing yours truly!
At any rate, if your fingers do not touch, a trio of stretching exercises was proposed to get more flexibility in your shoulder. Since the only stretching I do when it comes to bowling is the stretching of the truth when telling people how well I bowl, I am now paying attention. The first was called the Sleeper Stretch.
My first thought was the fact that if this guy was suggesting I could stretch while sleeping, I'm all in. Then I remembered when I woke up from sleeping in the middle of the night, stretched and tore my gastrocnemius muscle. For those of you who have never taken a kinesiology class, the gastroc is your calf.
As it turns out, this stretch is done by lying on your side with your bottom arm extended straight out. You should bend that arm at the elbow to a 90-degree position with your fingers pointing to the ceiling.You then place your opposite hand over your wrist and gently push your arm toward the floor offering moderate resistance. Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds. Even I can do this one.
The next exercise is called the Door Stretch. Reach for the frame of the door with one hand, keeping the arm straight. Take a step forward and hold. Repeat with other arm. Again, this is simple and could prove valuable.
The third one involves clasping the hands behind your back with arms straight. Lift hands up and away from your body. I've seen people do this, but I'm afraid this activity could cause me to topple forward and there is no way to get my hands out to break a fall. I think I'll skip this one, but the other two look doable.
My suggestion to you bowlers out there is that you do these simple stretching exercises at home before you go bowling. If I get to the lanes and a whole bunch of people are lying on the floor
Mark Huffman leads the way this week as he fired a 711 series in the Wednesday Morning League. Zach Gaietto added 695, Tyson Shope 695, Matt Hoover 632 and Aaron Sherman 620. In the Big 8 League Greg Tiell posted a 707 while Mark Baxter had 654, Scott Plickert 631, Jack Book 628, Mike Shock 622 and Scott Washburn 604. Also breaking the 700 plateau was Kevin Fitch in the Sportsman League as he rolled a 702. John Streacker had 643, Rich Yates, Jr. 631, Paul Gosche 628, Chris Rhodes 616, Ron Yentzer 603 and Chris Johnson 587.
In the Alley Cats League Robin Dickman shot 587, Carla Siebenaller 473, Kim Weaver 458 and Sue Stine 452. Ben Hoyda shot 677, Steve Steinmetz Jr. 656, Steve Peer 601, Rhonda Fitch 496, Deb Nominee 484 and Mary Ruggiero 475 in the Imperial-Majorette League. Tim Sturgill had 691, Mark Phillips 671, Dirk Nimocks 646, Skip Steele 625, Tom Tiell 613 and Dottie Funk 496 in the Rock N Roll League. In the Twilight League Chad Snyder shot 647, Tom Tiell 639, Greg Kiser 629, Ed Conrad 621, Bill Biddle 616, T.J. Morrow 614, Hank Wagner 608, Rhonda Fitch 529, Robin Brownell 514 and Rhonda Lewis 418. Rocket League scores included Tyson Shope 665, Tom Teill 627, Dave Coppus 595, Tim Sturgill 562, Dave Kirian 549, Dottie Funk 492 and Virginia Vanover 474. Jere Morlock paced the Grange League with 614. Kelly Cook shot 582, Bob Capehart 548, Dion Payne 544, Kerry Wertz 522, Hunda Shook 484, Nicole Babcock 457, Marty Factor 419, Joyce Babcock 413 and Carol Elchert 384.
Action from the K of C Lanes included Steve Steinmetz Jr. shooting 684 in the Tuesday Night League. Joe Lord had 628, Jim Lord 621, Doug Snyder 586, Darl Elchert 552 and Aaron Sherman 540. Lady Knights League scores: Nerita Streacker 465, Flo Lucius 431, Marilyn Gangluff 416 and Carol Burmeister 401. In the 55 Plus League Dick Gabel shot 565, Paul Gosche 546, Bob Reinhart 523, Jim Ruess 497, Jim Ferstler 474, Steve Schafer 463, Jim Donaldson 436, Paul Fey 419, Dan Coppes 418, John Ferstler 404, Bernie Tiell 375 and Dave Everhart 374. In the Senior League Herb Sendelbach shot 601, Ken Ritzler 592, Tim Gassner 565, Mike Reser 547, Bennett Paulus 510 and Joe Zirger 505.
Al Stephenson is The A-T bowling columnist.
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