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"Swing Change" by Karie Kreutz

What do you think when someone mentions ‘swing change’? In my mind it reminds me of Tiger Woods and his historic changes to his game to stay relevant and keep his body relatively healthy. Many look at this as the start of his downfall; he went through many changes including coaches, training and diet but most importantly his swing. After the swing adjustments he had resurgence and continued his winning ways, he felt the need to keep growing as an athlete and changes were necessary for him to stay on top of the sport. People close to him either supported him or were publicly denouncing his changes, they couldn’t understand his reasoning because he was obviously playing very well and was jeopardizing that. Eventually his body did fail him, but in hindsight I don’t believe he would change what he did to improve his game.

So now you are asking yourself what this has to do with 5 pin bowling. Well as some of you may know I have added some changes to my game, you could call it a ‘swing change’. This article is in no way comparing me to Tiger Woods at a competitive level as that comparison is narcissistic and not even comparable as he is a legend and one of the greatest athletes in recent history. I am just using his well-known situation as a basis for this article.

From an outside observer the change to my game may not be as noticeable as I throw the ball 50+ km/h, use a 3 step approach and I still have a high back swing, so what could possibly be the significant change? The change is in my release and angles, I used to be a pronounced ‘up the gut’ player with a back-up release. With my speed there was never a lot of movement but that was the way I played in YBC and the technical Masters course kept the back-up ball as the ideal shot to throw in my opinion. Now a large portion of my shots are angled in from either the left or the right with a hook release.

I was still playing well, made the Masters Tournament Men’s Team for Alberta 3 times, won the Regina Classic and threw 3 perfect games with a load of great finishes on the Tour plus winning Edmonton City high average. All this accomplished by 2015. I must have been a fool to make a change! It all came about when I was reading some of Jeff Young’s blog website, subtle shout-out for you Jeff ;), for the life of me I can’t find the exact entry but I do believe it was an article by Tom Patterson. The article wasn’t stipulating you needed a totally different shot but it was mentioning that a second confident line is a huge factor if you are to be good. So I decided to take it one step further, I knew I could play at a competitive level with my old shot but felt that a second look would be super beneficial, so I took up a new release and took my time to mold it in to what I wanted to see from it starting at the end of 2015.

I immediately saw increases in my pin action, strike and spare percentage as it took a little more concentration to pick those single pins. I went on to make Open Nationals for the first time claiming ‘Rookie of the Year’, made Masters Nationals once again setting the 21 game tournament men’s team scoring record till the very next year Freddie Tofflemire destroyed that record, another shout-out. Then last but not least I won the Traditional Open and the Autumn Open.

As scary as it was making a whole release change to my game, I would do it again in a heartbeat, it definitely panned out for me. I don’t always play the new changes, I still incorporate my old release when I need a fresh look at the pocket but it is nice knowing I have two shots in my back pocket and be competitive with both.

I have had bowlers in the community that I look up to tell me that they don’t think the changes were a good idea, that I should have stuck to my shot, and it could have easily turned out that it wouldn’t have worked but I set my mind to it, pushed past the failures and watched it pay dividends.

I hope this short and fragmented article can give some readers a little insight that change is not all bad but actually can be a blessing.

Thanks for reading,

Karie Kreutz

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