Last month I had the privilege of being invited to bowl alongside the Cambridge Credit 1 team at USBC Nationals. On the CC1 team were Shannon and Bryan O’Keefe, sponsor and anchorman Christopher Viale, the amazing Bill Webb (who shoots 785 – thank you very much) and “The Machine” Ron Nelson, Jr. See the video of the team event here.
When I wrote the original Stick the Landing post, I was searching for the perfect line position example. Leading candidates were Ty Dawson and Parker Bohn III, but Shannon O’Keefe now gets my vote for the finish position that EVERY aspiring bowler should emulate.
As you can see in the photo, her finish position is absolute and unwavering. In watching her across nine games at nationals there was never even a hint of imbalance, falling off, or any make-up moves so she could “look good” at the line. She uses her fully extended right leg and right foot as a second floor contact point to give her a rock-solid two-point finishing stance.
This move pays her back in spades. She always gets maximum leverage off the shot because no energy is wasted in her downswing. It is so baked onto her mindset she can key on other things like hand position, speed, or her mark. It covers up a lot of the little inconsistencies we all have during our approaches because she knows she will always finish in a solid, repeatable position. Her record speaks for itself – I would match Shannon against virtually anyone in the world, male or female.
I am even more convinced that sticking the landing is the most basic and important bowling fundamental. Take it from Shannon and her husband Bryan – assistant coach at the USBC training facilities in Arlington and no slouch himself, who was amazed he actually beat Shannon in the doubles event this year – he never had before.
ACTION: take videos of yourself across an entire game. If you even occasionally fall off or step out of the shot or are not as deep as Shannon, get yourself into the gym for some squat thrusts – then bowl 50 practice games thinking about NOTHING but a deep knee bend and perfect line balance. Your game will improve immediately and dramatically.