By Rod Ross on Jul 18, 2019 5:07:22 AM
As the top young players from across the country compete in Junior Gold right now, I want to take a look at one of the top young players on the PBA Tour-and 2010 Junior Gold winner-Marshall Kent. Marshall is a long-time member of both junior and adult Team USA and is a great example to follow for a fundamentally sound game.
We'll start by busting a myth. Marshall is standing very far left on the approach and he's not only good from this deep, he's good from even deeper when he has to loft over the gutter. That brings us to the myth: a lot of players get in trouble from this position because they try to push the ball toward their target. That mindset makes sense, but once you start sliding on the 25 board or deeper, you get in trouble. What you need to do-and what Marshall does here-is push the ball straight up the lane.
Watching Marshall's approach with the vertical line I drew, we never see his ball leave that line. He takes it straight back, then comes straight through, releasing straight up the lane.
He pre-sets his launch angle at the top of the swing with his hips and shoulders, which allows his ball to tuck in and create his desired launch angle through the front. If he wasn't standing so deep and wanted to roll a straighter shot, he wouldn't have opened his feet and his hips as much. By controlling his launch angle with his body, he allows himself to still push the ball directly up the lane while getting it to the break point he wants.
The ball stays on that vertical line, but he changes his angle as he drops into the swing. From the back view, we can see that a little better.
Even though he's standing so far left, he walks straight up the lane. He pushes his ball straight up the lane. He creates his angle with his hip, the ball tucks in and he hits his desired launch angle with everything going in the direction of his break point.
From the side, we see one of aspects of Marshall's game he's been working on, which is his left arm. He has it a little higher than we'd like to see it, but he'll get that cleaned up. Even with that, we see the entire approach in good, consistent alignment.
Just before the release, he loads up with his shoulder and elbow, which is where he gets his revolutions. When he unloads at the foul line, he gets a lot of power on the ball and because of his good alignment at the release, he can extend through the shot while maintaining great balance.
One more look from the top shows us once again how good Marshall's alignment is all the way through the approach.
When you're looking for an example of a sound fundamental game, Marshall Kent is one of the best players you can watch.