Understanding Belmo’s greatness may seem simple to the naked eye. But is it really? Is it as simple as “he’s two-handed?” Today, we are going to look at just that.
There is this misconception out there that two-handed bowling is “easier” or that it is an “unfair advantage.” And, while I won’t pretend that certain aspects of the two-handed style are advantageous at times, I also won’t pretend that it is always the case.
Jason Belmonte is great. There is no denying it. And he does, no doubt, create virtually unparalleled power with his two-handed delivery. I am not arguing against that. But is that truly his greatest attribute? Is that really what makes him so much better than his competitors? I think not.
Unless you have been under a rock the past several years, you have noticed that there are a ton of two-handed players bowling full-time on tour nowadays. And they have all, at some point another, had their fare share of success. I get it.
But have any of them rivaled Belmo’s consistent dominance? Not even close.
And that isn’t taking anything away from any of their greatness, either. No. Not at all. It is just adding to Belmo’s.
They all produce similar power with a similar delivery and get similar pin carry and ball reaction, but, yet, still Belmo sits atop the list. Why is that?
If two-handed bowling is the singular or greatest attribute Belmo has, why, then, do the other bowlers with these same attributes and styles not have the exact same amount of success? Well, because it is far more complicated than that.
Watching Belmo — at least to the naked eye — you see power, speed, tons of rotation, tons of pin carry, etc.
But, to the experienced, well-versed eye, it goes much, much deeper.
Belmo has a simplicity to his game that is, quite frankly, far too often ignored. I understand that when you see two-handed bowlers and you think about two-handed bowlers it doesn’t always look “simple,” but when you see Belmo, there are simply no moving parts. Everything acts in the manner in which it should act. He is, at the core, as fundamentally sound as one can get.
His lines are perfect, his footwork is fluent and rhythmic, and his balance is flawless.
And while that may seem second to his power to most, it simply isn’t the case. I will not say that it supersedes his power, but certainly, at the very least, they are 1A and 1B.
Another attribute — or attributes, I suppose — that is far too often ignored is his finesse and touch.
When one thinks about two-handers, this is hardly talked about, and I understand why that is hard for some to understand, especially when one looks at other two-handers, but with Belmo, it is right up there with his greatest attributes — if it isn’t his greatest.
Belmo has as many tricks as anyone I have personally seen. And his touch and hand rank up there with absolutely anyone, including the likes of Weber and Duke. And, as for his range of speed, it is 100% unmatched by anyone that has come before him.
Typically speaking, when a player fluctuates their speed, especially in great quantities, their rev-rate fluctuates, as well.
It is incredibly challenging to create the same amount of RPMs when throwing it very slow and very hard. And no one — and I mean absolutely no one — has ever been as good as Belmo is at doing it.
And Belmo uses this attribute every bit as much, if not more, as his other attributes.
After all, throwing it hard with tons of revrate is, after all, quite an impressive and advantageous attribute. But, do you know what is every bit as advantageous? Being able to throw it incredibly slow with touch and feel.
But, yet, I never see that talked about. I never see it referenced. At least not by the majority. Not by enough, certainly.
Everyone is so quick to just point to his power, his delivery, etc. But, yet no one discusses his versatility, his finesse, or his fundamentals.
Jason Belmonte is not the best bowler in the world because he is two-handed. He isn’t the best bowler in the world because of his power. He isn’t the best bowler for any one particular defining attribute. No. Jason Belmonte is the best bowler in the world — arguably that the world has ever seen — because, quite frankly, he’s the best. Period.
Quantifying his greatness is redundant. Attempting to define it is futile. Trying to make sense of it is nonsensical. Appreciating it and acknowledging it, though, is necessary. We far too rarely appreciate greatness to its true extent in the moment. Too often, we wait until it is gone to acknowledge and praise. But let us trying something different this time. In this moment. Today. Now. Let’s try to enjoy it and appreciate it instead.
Because, quite honestly, it could be an immensely long time — if ever — that our sport sees this level of greatness and dominance on this scale again. After all, let us not forget that in the history of our sport, in careers that in some cases expanded decades and decades, that no one — not a single one — has ever won more major events than Jason Belmonte has in just a short eight years.