By Rod Ross on May 20, 2019 10:57:55 AM
Today, let's look at one of Team USA's best players ever, who anchored so many of our teams at the World Championships, Tommy Jones. Tommy recently retired from Team USA, but as we look at some video of him from 2010 and 2018, we'll be able to see why he was such an important part of Team USA for so many years.
His stance is a little different now than it was in 2010. Then, his upper body dominated more of his stance with tension in his shoulders and a locked position with the ball. In 2018, he's definitely more relaxed in his stance with a lower center of gravity.
When he begins the pushaway, we see a slight difference in 2018 in that his arm is in a little better alignment than eight years earlier. This also means as he swings the ball back, it's still in better alignment in 2018, whereas it popped out a little in 2010.
Pausing the video at the height of his backswing, we see a small but noticeable difference in his ball alignment. Drawing a line from the center of the ball to the approach, we see the ball in line with his right eye in 2018. Eight years prior, his alignment was just to the side of his head. It looks like a small difference, but he's definitely in better position now.
Dropping down to the release, we see that slight difference amplified. While he was in an excellent position in 2010, we clearly see he's in a much stronger position at the line in 2018.
Overall, even though Tommy was one of the best players in the world in 2010, his physical game eight years later looks stronger and more fluid than ever before.
Let's take a look from the back at a much older video of Tommy so we can point out a couple things that might help your game.
Watch his right foot. While he drives into the finish, we see the heel of his foot leading to the left. As he steps off that foot, look at how quickly his foot rotates, with his heel moving hard to the right as his toe moves left. This is important because it allows him to roll his hip in (rather than have it flail away as many players do), which keeps even more lower-body-generated power in his release.
The other thing I want you to look at is the collapse of his bowling shoulder at the release. He lets his shoulder drop through the shot, which gives him a better flat spot and helps him increase his RPMs dramatically.
Back to 2018, from the front, we see Tommy collapse his shoulder, but I want you to notice that he goes straight through the ball. He doesn't move his hand off to the left and come through sideways. By coming straight through the shot, he gives himself more consistent launch angles and better control of his break point.
As we can see by comparing Tommy over the course of a decade, he's always been an elite bowler, but the fact that his physical game continues to improve speaks to his desire to always get better than he was.
No matter what level of bowler you are, there's a lot you can learn from watching Tommy Jones.