Like all sports, skee-ball is just as much mental (if not more so) than physical. Keeping your cool in what can be a loud and distracting environment is key to consistency and success. In the tight confines of a skee-ball lane, concentration is paramount.
“There’s not much room to wiggle around. Everyone is in different shapes and sizes but they’re kind of encroaching on you a little bit. The rookies rolling next to you might roll a hundo and they get so excited they start jumping up and down. It can get distracting. Just like any other sport though, you cant let outside factors affect your play. It’s just something you have to deal with. Usually I’m so in the moment it doesn’t even affect me at all. I’m just so focused that I tune that out.”
If your lane mate is that distracting, Hinojosa simply suggests waiting them out before rolling.
#7 Be Yourself
Everyone and every city does it differently. In San Francisco many rollers use the bank technique (rolling the ball down the side of the ramp, careening the ball towards the center at the last second), while most rollers roll right down the center. Hinojosa, a righty, actually rolls with his right leg forward.
“People say I roll weird because I put my right leg forward. Now there’s a lot of people who roll with their right leg forward. I don’t know if it’s because of me, but I see that more lately.”
Although everyone will develop their own style (Hinojosa described a player from his city who rolls from his knees and shoots the ball shuffleboard-style), Hinojosa recommends cutting down on unnecessary movement and keeping balanced.
“You have more control if you’re balanced on your feet. When I first started playing Brewskee-Ball, I was playing a lot of golf. Your brain knows when you’re balanced. Your standing on two feet somewhere. Your’e brain knows and keeps you balanced. The least amount of variables the better. I don’t shift my weight and just kind of move my arms back and forth. The less you have to think about the better.”
Unfortunately for new rollers, there aren’t tons of books, movies, or professional coaches out there to guide you through the game. You’re essentially left to your own devices and other rollers to help refine your approach.
“I kinda figured it out on my own. I would watch different people roll. There wasn’t a book to go to to read about the perfect form. The people in NYC would record the matches and I would watch them and see what they did and try to incorporate that and develop my own thing. For me, I just can’t be consistent with my left leg forward. There’s one player, Joey The Cat, he’s got a poster that runs through his method of rolling and it shows his way. But not every basketball player shoots the same way (and neither does every skee-ball player). That’s what great about Brewskee-Ball.”
The bottom line, when it comes to Brewskee-Ball, is having fun. After all, the league is held in bars and has likely exhausted every skee-ball related pun in existence (seasons are called “skeesons”, the website touts players from “skee to shining skee” and features players such as K. Skee Anthony, Skeebron James, and the Skeebler Elf).
“It’s kind of open to everyone really. If you want to play, anyone can play (2015 saw the first female roller, Tracy Townsend take home the cream colored jacket). It’s not exclusive to anyone. You just have to have a willingness to be good at something. If you don’t want to be a really good player, just hang out and have fun and its great that way too.”
The 2017 Brewskee-Ball National Championship emanates from Austin, Texas, October 27-29th. Roy “Brewbacca” Hinojosa enters the tournament as a #4 seed in a 64-roller field. For more information on Brewskee-Ball, visit their website, brewskeeball.com.