By Rod Ross on Jun 19, 2019 5:06:36 PM
One of the PWBA's top players, Erin McCarthy, has been an elite player for many years. Today, we're going to look at Erin's game from her time on Team USA, comparing 2015, 2016 and 2017 to see some of the subtle changes she is constantly making to get better.
A lot of times, it's hard to notice subtle changes in the top players as they keep improving, so looking at her game from three different years gives us a great look at exactly what she's changed and why it's helping.
The first thing we see in her stance is her ball placement. In 2015, she held the ball pretty far out to the right. A year later, she brought the ball closer into her body, now aligned underneath her shoulder. By 2017, she moved the ball inside her shoulder and elbow. By doing this, she balances her weight much better and means she won't have to compensate as much in her swing.
It's easy to see the difference this makes in the approach on her first step. In 2015, she has to move the ball in on her first step. She does the same in 2016 (although she doesn't have to move it as much). After the changes she made prior to 2017, we see she is able to drop the ball into the swing. In just two years, her swing direction has changed significantly and for the better.
As she begins her swing, we're really able to see how much this seemingly subtle change has helped. In both 2015 and 2016, she had to swing the ball back out, but in 2017, since the ball is simply dropping into the swing, it continues to drop. Her alignment is much better.
Getting into the backswing, we see the ball being just inside her head in 2015, then just a bit outside in 2016, then pretty much in line with her head in 2017. The subtle changes help her control her launch angles in the front part of the lane.
At the release point, we can see her entire position is tighter in 2017 than either of the previous two years. She's always been good at loading up her elbow, but with the tighter position at the line in 2017, her elbow is loaded behind the ball, which gives her more control and consistency with her release.
Erin's release and follow-through have always been elite, and she has one of the strongest hands on the PWBA Tour, but as we can see here, just a couple small changes in her stance and pushaway have helped her game advance even more.
From the back view, we can get a good look at her hand placement throughout the swing. Notice how her hand is on the inside of the ball in 2017. A year before, her hand was directly on the back of the ball. Going back to 2015, her hand was way inside. This means she's been keeping-or bringing back-some of her best attributes from the past to use them in her new game.
As she brings the ball back, we see her hand roll to the right in all three videos, but when we compare them, we see a lot of movement in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, her entire swing is so much tighter, helping her to get into a much better position at the bottom of the swing, giving her a better roll and allowing her to be more versatile.
Erin is a great example of someone always trying to improve her game and isn't afraid to make the tweaks necessary to earn big results.