By Rod Ross on Sep 26, 2019 10:55:27 AM
When we talk about elite players who are constantly working on their games to keep improving, we should definitely talk about Missy Parkin. She's a long-time member of Team USA, just won a gold medal in trios at the Women's World Championships and is always trying to improve.
In particular, I want to talk about her arm swing as she's been working on this aspect of her game for years.
First, we'll take a look at Missy from 2013. Right away, we notice how extreme the angle of her feet is. Her stance is fairly similar today, but not to this extent. Her left shoulder was forward, but when she started, she tended to push the ball out to her right, which made the ball want to go behind her head and over her left shoulder when she got into the backswing.
At the point of release, her bowling shoulder was way in front of her non-bowling shoulder. While she was trying to throw the ball in one direction, her body was moving in more of a looping direction. Although she was already one of the best players in the world, all these moving parts meant she had a very small window at release.
If she let go a little early, the ball would go out to the right on the lane. If she held on just a bit too long, the ball would go left. Her ideal release, which she manages to hit here for us, puts the ball right on her desired line, but she had to be perfect every time to maintain consistency.
Moving ahead to 2014, we see her feet aren't pointed quite as drastically to the right. Her pushaway still goes to the right, but not as far as a year earlier.
Skip right ahead to 2017 and her pushaway is quite a bit straighter, which prevents her from wrapping the ball behind her head so much in the backswing. However, we still see her right shoulder way in front of her left shoulder at the release, which can lead to some inconsistency issues.
Bringing up present-day Missy, the difference is evident. Her pushaway is straight in front of her, the backswing goes directly behind her head and, as she gets to the line, her shoulders are much more in line, which puts her follow-through straight in line with her arm swing and launch angle. Making these changes has increased the consistency and repeatability of an already-elite player.
When we watch elite bowlers over the course of time, it's not always obvious to see the subtle changes they make in their desire to constantly get better. Looking at Missy's game over the past six years, we can actually see the subtle changes little by little. It's impressive to see exactly what she's done as she attempts to perfect her arm swing and improve her consistency.
It's this type of drive and determination that makes Missy Parkin one of the best players in the world.