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A shocking study about bowlers? Not!

Walter Ray Williams Jr. is one of the top professionals.
Craig Hacker / Getty Images

This is one of my favorite stories and originally appeared on Feb. 26, 2012.

OK bowlers, are you sitting down?

This study will shock you. Researchers at Yale have put bowlers under the microscope and have come up with one truly amazing conclusion:

When bowlers are hot for their first eight frames, they’re likely to stay hot for the final two frames.

And when they’re not hot, they probably will produce less-than-stellar results for the last two frames.

Gur Yaari and Gil David made this conclusion after examining more than 4,000 tournament games of 374 bowlers from 2002-2011, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pro bowling great Walter Ray Williams Jr. (shown in photo) was cited as an example: When he bowled seven strikes in the first eight frames, he had a 71.9 percentage of rolling another strike in the ninth frame and a 71.4 percentage of bowling a strike in the 10th frame.

Conversely, when Williams rolls only three strikes in the first eight frames, he has a much-lower percentage of 56.7 of rolling a strike in the ninth frame and a 62.9 percentage of bowling a strike in the 10th frame.

What the Yale researchers are basically saying is this: Pro bowlers have a higher strike percentage than usual in the final two frames after they’ve been bowling a strong game in the first eight frames.

This conclusion is meant to be somewhat surprising considering that other athletes are – percentagewise – expected to perform to their norm regardless of how they’ve fared previously.

But is this conclusion about bowlers really startling?

For instance, if a bowler is in the groove for the first eight frames, would you expect him or her to fall apart in the last two frames? Of course, if the bowler is approaching a 300 game, perhaps nervousness might become a factor.

But generally a “hot hand” won't suddenly turn cold just because it’s late in the game.

Also, if a bowler is struggling throughout the game, is it intuitively likely he or she would suddenly awaken at the end with a flurry of strikes?

Perhaps the bowler is struggling with the grip, the amount of oil on the lanes or has a flaw in his or her rhythm.

Would it suddenly – and magically – get better in frames nine and 10?

Not likely!

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