Hugh Miller is flat out great. I just watched him win the DV8 South Shore Open in Hammond, Ind. He drew 11-12 for the title matches and when I hit that pair 11 hooked about 3 boards more than 12 – one of the more challenging pairs in the house. Hugh made them look easy, even getting a couple shots in on 11 and getting them to hold. He has tremendous hand-eye coordination, like many of the greats, that lets him adjust his release based on his balance, position and timing for each particular shot.
Hugh told me one of his secrets. He studied thousands of his games and came to realize an inescapable fact: you are going to strike about 72% of the time you hit the pocket. If you miss the pocket there is little chance of striking and a much higher chance of a split or other badness. So, above all else, figure out how to hit the pocket and stay there. If you are getting rapped, be very wary of making a move, either to a new ball or with your feet, that might cost you the pocket. If you are hitting the pocket the strikes will come.
UPDATE: My friend Jeff Valentine, a longtime friend of left-handers, points out that if the scoring pace is high you might indeed need to adjust based on bad carry. Remember that Hugh was bowling on very challenging tour conditions where a small move or ball change might cost you the pocket. If it’s easy to hit the pocket, you might need to adjust for carry to keep up. One such move is BACK with your feet on the approach if you are leaving corners.
The other Miller “revelation” is never, ever, ever miss a spare. Maybe kind of obvious, but you’d be amazed how many bowlers take this way too lightly. Opens of any kind cost you more than a double to make up. I could have taken this advice in Hammond when I missed the cut by 5 pins after 16 games, missing a 3 pin, a 4 pin, a 3-10, a 4-7, and some other easy ones.
Good luck in Decator Hugh – going for POY!