SI Vault
Don Johnson
October 23, 1972
"When Don Johnson's legs start to tremble," said an old rival who no doubt felt that he had followed in Johnson's quake once too often, "I don't like to bowl against him. I know he's got that winning feeling." Since mid-1969 very few people have enjoyed competing against the Akron professional. In that time he has won 13 PBA championships and nearly $200,000 in prize money. His career totals are 19 wins and $318.149. second only to Dick Weber on the alltime lists. Last December and January Johnson was nearly the perfect kegler. He won four PBA events, was named 1971 Bowler of the Year and, at 32, was easily the best bowler of his generation.
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October 23, 1972

The Way To A Super Bowl

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"7) Did my right foot drag behind me on the floor until I stopped? The foot is my brake.

"If I've been right on all these counts—and hit my spot—the pins ought to fall."

"During my approach, I stride slowly. I keep my elbow locked throughout the back-and downswings. My left foot and right arm hit the line at the same time. I release the ball over the line and crank my hand a quarter of a turn to achieve a hook."

"For a righthander the 10 is the most difficult single-pin leave [right]. I start my delivery far over, 25 boards to the left of center, using almost all of the 40-inch lane. My spot is between the fourth and fifth arrows and I throw the ball harder and with less hook than normally."

"Sometimes all the wood doesn't fall, as in the 2-4-5-8 combination. Hit the 2-pin fully with a hook, and the ball will miss the 5. Hit it lightly on the right, and the ball misses the 8 on the left. I concentrate on the 2-5 pocket. The ball takes out the 2, 5 and 8 and the 2 deflects into the 4."

"The 6-7-10 [left] is a tricky split that requires skill and luck. I'm happy enough when I knock down the 6 and 10, but there are times when I go for broke. I shoot this as I do the single 10-pin leave. The ball clips the 6-pin, then blows out the 10 while the 6 knocks down the 7."

"The 5-7 is a pocket split that even we pros make only half the time. The important thing here, as with all combination leaves, is to get the forward pin. I move three boards left of center, using the same spot as for a full rack. The ball grazes the 5 on the right and moves into the 7."

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