Lessons From The Pros: Mika’s Slide to 299


Much of the bowling game can be learned by watching the professionals on the PBA, that is if you know what to look for.  There is more to it than someone just hurling a 15lb object at 10 pins down the lane shot after shot.

Watching the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions this year was exciting for a few reasons.  The first was the $250,000 prize, which is the richest prize in all of bowlings history.  The second was Mika Koivuniemi rolling a 299.  The third was watching the lowest score ever on national television (100) by Tom Daugherty (sorry Tom, we still love you).  Lastly for me was a discovery that I’m not the only crazy one who is not afraid to try something different.  Check out this picture below, which was taken right after Mika shot a 299.

Major Mika After Rolling a 299 at the TOC

Though subtle you’ll notice that his slide sole isn’t just one color.  It’s made up of two different slide soles (from the looks of it likely a Slide 8 in the front and a Slide 10 in the back).  I’ve also been experimenting on acheiving the proper slide for a while and I had tried just about everything until I came up with the idea to cut my slide soles in pieces and achieve all kinds of alternative slides to what is considered the “standard.”  I later discovered Chris Barnes was using this technique, and was pleasantly surprised to see Mika doing it as well.

What led me to try this was that Dexter’s Slide 8 was not enough, and their Slide 10 felt like I was ice skating (too much slide).  I took half of Slide 10 and put it in the front, and half of the Slide 8 and put it in the back to create a slide that was slightly more than the 8, and slightly less than a 10.  I joke that I’ve acheived a Slide 9, but really there are only a few tricks to achieving more or less slide, but none as dramatic as what I’ve just told you.  Powders are good, but it’s hard to get the amount right and depending on tournament rules you can’t use them.  Shoe brushes are helpful, but can only fine tune the slide.  The best way to change your slide dramatically is to change the slide sole, and this is an extension of that.

After showing off my new found “Slide 9” I got mixed reactions from bowlers, but I’m glad to see others and now professionals are using this technique.  So there are two things we can learn here.  Never settle for a mediocre slide, and pay attention to professionals.  They can teach us a lot about what we should be doing.

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