Jim Fjermestad has been a Granite resident for over 40 years. He's been bowling for almost as long, his cousin got him hooked. He's been chasing the elusive 300 game for quite a while, and he's been competing since his junior year in high school. In March, he scored two 300 games, bringing his career total to 6. He currently uses a 15 lb ball, saving him a bit of "muscling through" with 16 lb balls. He says the balls are high tech enough that if you have good mechanics, you have a good chance to do well. That's been his motto.
"Release the ball the same, and watch the ball roll over the target. Bowling is like golf. Take your eye off the ball, what happens? You're either going to miss it or slice it, and bowling's the same way. The ball is going to go where your eyes are looking, not where you want it."
Fjermestad helps people out, but just as often the people insist they won't change. The hardest aspect is getting someone to change their muscle memory. Often the pattern has been locked in for so long, years, that trying anything else can create enough frustration where they just give up and revert. But the correct movements take a lot of repetitions to lock in as well. The game is about being able to repeatedly execute a perfect throw. He talked about one woman that had a hop in her approach. They tried taking out the hop, but it was too set. They added the hop back in and just focused on targeting.
Fjermestad sees two types of bowling. "If you're there to have fun, then the distractions are no big deal. But if you're trying to do something, you gotta be able to block out the distractions." He is very dedicated to his training. For example, he does games entirely devoted to hitting the 10 pin and other scenarios. "I don't have the natural ability some guys claim. I have to work on my game." That practice sets him apart.
He trained in Shotokan karate back in the day. He applies some aspects of what he learned to his bowling. The focus helps a ton, as well as the emphasis on individual practice. At nationals, he had his best year yet. He threw a 621 in the singles division. He cited his intense focus that helped him do better and better each game. He was able to keep his emotions in check, avoiding the "adrenaline dump." This prevents him from getting mad, or frustrated, which would throw off his game. "If you let things affect you it might carry over for two to four more frames."
The biggest chunk of advice he got was related to that. "Don't get mad, forget about it. Move on." Once that sunk in, he started picking up a lot more spares. He new goal is an 800 series. It requires a 268 average, he's been 11 pins away.
Fjorstod bowls 3 days a week. He has done upwards of 12 to 15 games in a day. Normally he averages that in a week. Tournaments can mean throwing 9 games in a day, so being able to sustain mechanics for long periods is important. He says he's gotten conditioned for that. He's thankful for his understanding wife for supporting his passion. He plans to keep bowling until he physically can't. He told me about Bob Jergenson, who has his bowling buddies call out which pins are left standing for his second throw, since Jergenson's eyesight can't see more than a white blob down the lane.