My bowling experience began in 1960 around the age of ten when we were living in Alaska. Parents would drop a couple of us boys off at one of two bowling alleys in the area where we could “shadow bowl” (no pins) for about $.10 per game or with pins for about $.25 per game. Obviously, those of us without much money spent quite a bit of time shadow bowling—but it did help perfect technique at the time. And skilled bowlers would offer help and tips to improve our games. Desiring to have my own bowling ball, I saved my lunch money and purchased my first used bowling ball for ten dollars. It weighed ten pounds and was black rubber without what we know today as a special core weight block. The ball bag had to wait due to lack of funding so the “new” box that the ball came in served for nearly a year as my ball bag—it did so with generous amounts of reinforcement tape.
After returning from Vietnam, my wife and I bowled using “house equipment” until we moved to Fort Riley, Kansas where we made our first real purchase of bowling equipment and joined the American Bowling Congress which was the sanctioning body at that time. I still have my ‘70’s era 16-pound rubber ball with conventional finger grips. My wife and son have both retained their “antique” equipment as well. We did pretty well in league bowling—my high game was a 278 which was also the league high game for the season. As the military moved us on to new assignments, we continued to bowl primarily for recreation while my wife’s schedule allowed for her to league bowl.
Returning from Eurpoe, our recreation time was diverted to supporting our daughter’s equestrian riding along with working in complex and time consuming jobs which allowed for little or no time commitment to devote to a personal sport.
We did return to bowling in 2011, using house equipment as our ‘70’s equipment no longer fit our hand spans and for some reason our bowling shoes no longer fit. We used house equipment until we determined whether we wanted to make a large investment in new equipment and to make bowling a recreational sport for our spare time. Once that decision was made, we started anew with modern equipment. During our early years, we had built solid baseline bowling skills so it was a matter of learning the new equipment, lane surfaces and practicing. The transition from our old equipment to the new equipment went quickly and we soon added to our bowling ball arsenals.
We joined a Friday morning league, not sanctioned by the USBC, and last year won the league championship after having finished in the top ten (24 teams) for several years This league uses a two person team in a four-game format with the first two games being conventional and the last two games being 9 pin no-tap. For conventional games, my average runs right around 190 and the four pins games around 220 for a running combined average of 206. I also bowl a Wednesday morning league with the goal maintaining a 200 plus average in order to qualify for the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA).
The sanctioned 300 game remains elusive but in 9 pin no tap I have quite a few perfect games and managed a 300 with a 298 back to back during the 2016 Summer 9 pin League play. I have numerous games where I have 10 or 11 strikes but no "cigar" for 12 in a row. The key is to be consistent.
In 2012, I was asked to fill in as a youth league coach and I did so until 2013 when I elected to commit more time to coaching youth league bowlers beginning first with "Kids Bowl for Free", and, "Bowling 2.0." Thus, I ventured off onto another diverse tangent in my teaching, training and coaching forte.
In 2014, I completed the USBC Level I and Team Coaching On-line courses to better enhance my understanding of teaching young bowlers the basics of bowling. Wanting to garner more knowledge, I spent a year studying for the next coaching level certification, that being the USBC Bronze certification which was completed in June 2015. Completing the Bronze course made me "hungry" for more information and progress to the next certification level. I spent almost a year refining my coaching skills through coaching Junior league, High School Girls Bowling, giving private lessons and studying for my USBC Silver Certification which was completed in July 2016. The final step is to achieve the Gold Certification or at least complete several of the primary modules. Given there are only 21 USBC Gold Coaches in the world, and in conference with a Gold Coach, it took him three years and nearly $10K to attain the certification this goal may be beyond my funding and longevity ranges. I will however continue to develop my coaching skills and knowledge through advanced studies.
For those reading this page and are not familiar with the certification levels, I have provided a breakout of the skill sets trained and evaluated at each certification level. Also, my certification grades have been provided for review.
Currently I am the head coach for the Junior Program at Daffodil Bowling Center and give Professional Lessons every Monday afternoon from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Screen capture of a Pre-Bowl session in 2015.