Are you just a beginner in the sport of bowling and want to start out with the help from someone who is an expert? Would you like to change your bowling style? Would you like to get your game up to the next level? Do you want to improve on a specific aspect of your game, such as technique, form, your approach? Perhaps you have a big tournament coming up and want some advice or or some mental tips? If the answer is Yes to any of these questions, then it may be time for you to get a bowling Coach! Even the professionals need coaches from time to time! A coach will watch you bowl, make lots of positive suggestions so your game can improve more quickly, and getting one makes it easier to help you figure things out if you are having any issues with your game.
If you are a beginner, you'll have more help learning the basics before you can develop any bad habits. If you're an experienced bowler, it's a good idea to have something specific in mind that you want to learn from a coach, like how to get more strikes, how to improve on converting spares and splits, improving your timing on the approach, or just improving more on getting a higher average for example.
Keep in mind that you will have to make a weekly commitment and be flexible since some of these bowling coaches have other jobs and may only be able to meet you different days during the week.
There are a few different ways of finding a good and coach that is CERTIFIED by the USBC (United States Bowling Congress). If you're in a league, it's best to ask some of the other bowlers or you can go to the pro shop at your bowling center. Lots of the pros in there do give lessons or will know of good coaches that can help you out. It will most likely benefit you to try and get lessons at the center where you already bowl so they can help you out with the type of oil patterns they use there.
With technology being what it is, you can also go online and just type in "certified bowling coaches" in the city and state that your reside. The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has a special rating system for Certified Coaches. Level One-Bronze, level two-Silver, and level three-Gold, Gold being the most experienced and also the most expensive type of coach. There are only 16 Gold coaches worldwide. There is also another good website you can go on, bowl.com which can also help you locate a good coach.
When you find one, it's a good idea to do a little background checking to make sure he/she is all they say they are. Talking on the phone, emailing, or meeting the pro in person before any lessons, will help you decide if this coach will be a good fit for you. You want someone that has a good attitude and personality, and will be someone you will enjoy taking lessons with. Also ask about the coach using any training aids like diagrams, or videos. Lastly, know what the cost will be to you each week and how long the lessons will be. Most lessons can range from $35+ an hour depending on where you reside and the level of the coach, as previously mentioned. Some may require you to take more than one lesson.
If you feel a private one-on-one lesson doesn't quite fit into your budget, then you can ask a friend you bowl with to come with you so you can split the cost. Bowling Clinics exist for help in improving, you just need to go online and do a little research. I have taken a few lessons over the years to help me get over issues I may have been having at the time that I couldn't quite figure out for myself. They always got me back on track!
I feel coaches are very beneficial because they can analyze all aspects of your physical and mental game, and can help you improve more quickly than doing things yourself. You may also be able to get more out of your practice sessions after taking a lesson or two.
If you are an experienced bowler and would like to become a Certified Coach, you can go online and do some research about the specifics. They have classes you can attend or 3-5 hour courses with a test at the end for each level, information about the cost, and the times that the classes will be online.
Remember to set realistic goals for yourself when working with a coach or just improving by yourself. Be patient and in your spare time, make sure you can get to the lanes to practice what you are being taught by the coach.
Check out my ebook available on Amazon/Kindle--"Let's Rev Up Those Bowling Scores"!
Good luck and high scoring!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing "Wrist Positions". I hope to see you then!
Bowling Ball Speeds
Ball Speed is an extremely important factor in the game of bowling. All bowlers have a certain speed and rhythm they incorporate into their game for their footwork and arm timing to be in sync for a nice smooth delivery. An average ball speed is between 16 and 19 mph. Under 16 mph is considered a slow ball speed and above 19 would be considered a fast ball speed. Sometimes though, it may be necessary to change our speed in order to be able to achieve different results on the lane. A faster shot can give you more action at the pins, but will also cut down on the size of the hook.
Speed changing was a little difficult for me in the beginning, so I preferred to move left or right on the lane instead of changing my speed. I have gotten much better at it over the years though and you should definately learn to master it by trying it out in your practice sessions first of course, and when you feel confident, then try it out in your league.
*****A SLOWER BALL SPEED:
**Causes less ball friction on the lane and it will allow the ball to hook more.
** Will allow the ball more time to hook, but sometimes the ball can lose it's action power by the time it reaches the pins 60 feet away. So you don't want the ball to go too slow.
** Is good to use when the lanes are oily so the ball will have more of a chance to hook rather than skid.
**Can be achieved by moving closer to the foul line on the approach approximately 2-4 inches as a starting point. Keep your footwork the same, and make sure your arm movements and your steps feel like they are still in sync with each other keeping your timing and rhythm good. Moving closer to the foul line will make you automatically slow down your walk because you won't want to cross over the foul line.
** Can be achieved by changing the height of the back swing. Holding the ball down a littler lower at the stance will also make the back swing lower.
*****A FASTER BALL SPEED:
**Causes more ball friction on the lane and it won't hook as much.
** Is good to use if there isn't much oil on the lanes (dry lanes) and your ball is hooking too much.
** Can be achieved by "Muscling the ball", or using more physical exertion at the point of release.
** Can be achieved by standing a little farther back on the lane than normal, by a few inches as your starting point and then adjust more or less as necessary. This will make you walk a little faster on the approach.
** Can be achieved by holding the ball up higher than normal at the stance. This will also create a higher back swing.To do this, you will need to open your shoulders and hips slightly to be able to get the arm up higher when it's in back of you.
To calculate your ball speed, bring a friend with you that can use a stopwatch on his smart phone. Have him start it as soon as the ball leaves your hand. Then have him stop the watch as soon as the ball makes contact with the pins. Next you will need to divide the seconds by 60 (for the amount of feet the lane is). You can get a good idea of your ball speed after the calculation. Let's say for example it takes your ball 4 seconds to hit the pins after it leaves your hand. Just divide 4 into 60 which would give you a ball speed of 15 mph.
Fun Fact--- The fastest bowling ball speed recorded was 140 mph delivered by Jason Belmonte, an Australian pro-bowler who set the World-Go bowling record!!
Mastering ball speed can be a challenge, so YES just keep practicing and again, be patient with yourself. The more things you know that can help you achieve different results on the lanes, the more confidence you will get in bowling on different lane conditions and the higher your scores are going to be!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing "How To Find A Good Bowling Coach".
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
How do you Join a Bowling League?
If you are interested in joining a Bowling League, pretty much all you need to do is call or go to the bowling center near where you live and ask about the different leagues they have. You need to decide which evening and time works best for you, so you can do your best to be there. Most leagues meet once a week or every other week.
If you'd like to bring a friend along you can join together. There are usually 3-5 members on a team so if you have 3 or 4 friends, you can all be on the same team and give your team a cute or catchy name. The Winter Leagues usually start in September and range from 26-36 weeks long, and the Summer Leagues are 11-12 weeks long.
I had moved in the middle of a season and I was able to join a league by calling the bowling center I wanted to bowl at. I told them the evening I wanted to bowl and they gave me the name of the league and the phone number of the league president. Some of the teams were not yet full and needed someone, so I lucked out and got on a really nice team.
Most leagues bowl approximately 2-3 games per week and can take 2-3 hours depending on how many people are on a team (usually between 3 and 5). Most weeks your team will bowl 2 or 3 games against a different team on two lanes.
League prices will vary depending on what area you live in. I lived in New York and in Colorado, and the leagues in Colorado were less per week than those in New York for example. Some may be $10-24+ per week depending on prize money when the league is finished. Senior Leagues are usually less per week, since many Seniors are retired and living on a fixed income.
Rules can vary from league to league so it's important that you attend any meetings they may have, especially on the first night the league begins. League positions for president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary are usually voted on during that first meeting. To be eligible for prizes concerning 300 games one may bowl during the year, you must join a "Sanctioned League" which follows all the ABC Rules (American Bowling Congress). These sanction dues must be paid within the first few weeks after the league begins and the cost is approximately $20+. To be eligible for prize money for high average, high game, and high series, one usually needs to bowl at least 2/3 of a season. So if a season is 36 weeks long for example, you will need to bowl at least 24 of those weeks or 72 games if the league bowls 3 games per week.
You can get a hand book of rules from your league secretary. Some may include facts concerning questions like:
* If a bowler arrives late, can they bowl now or not until the next game begins?
* How many games does the league bowl per week?
* How many weeks will the season last?
* If I'm absent, can I have a substitute bowler take my place?
* Are substitute bowlers allowed to bowl on position rounds? ( Position nights are when 1st place bowls the 2nd place team, 3rd place bowls the 4th place team, etc).
Here are a few types of leagues that are out there for you to join:
1. Mixed Leagues:
In this type of league for both men and women and most of them give out handicaps. Each person receives extra pins per game depending on their average. Some of these leagues work on an 80% or 90% handicap using 200 as a base or 230 as a base. For example, if your league uses a 200 base and your average is 150, the you subtract 150 from 200 which is 50. If your league uses an 80% handicap, 80% of 50 is 40 so your handicap will be 40 pins per game. Prize money at the end of the season is given out to each team. The most money obviously would be given out for the first place team and so on down to last place. Trophies are reserved for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams if the league votes on giving them out.
2. Scratch Leagues:
Scratch leagues do NOT give out a handicap. They have teams made up of 2-5 people and they usually cost more money. Since more prize money is involved, there is more pressure to bowl your average or better each week. This type of league is mostly reserved for those who average at least 180+, so if you want to socialize more, then this would really not be the league for you to join.
3. Senior Leagues:
These Leagues are reserved for those 50 years or older. Usually prizes consist of cash only and they are mostly for socializing. Some even give out free coffee and donuts if it's a morning league!
4. Junior Leagues:
These are reserved for children ages 6-16. Most of them meet on week ends, but some meet after school. Teams vary from 2-3 players and the cost is approximately $9 per week. There is no prize money involved (since they are under the age of 18) but trophies, or gift cards to various establishments may be given out at the end of the bowling season.
There are also many other Leagues available such as Vacation Leagues-where the team that finishes in first place at the end wins a vacation, Mens Leagues-for men only, Women leagues-for women only, and Disability Leagues-for the handicapped, where they have special ramps for the ball to slide down that can be moved left or right on the approach for assisting those bowlers that may need them.
Please join a league if you are not already on one. Averages of most bowlers on leagues will range from very low to very high so don't worry if you are just a beginner. By being there each week, you will be able to improve your average and you'll make lots of new friends in the process!
** Before joining up, please read my blog post on "Etiquette" posted on May 24, 2021 so you will be ready!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing about "Bowling Ball Speeds" and how it can affect your game.
Good Luck and High scoring!
When you go to the lanes for practice, I recommend having something specific in mind. Don't just toss the ball out there because there are several things you can work on, and you should practice each for a game or two. Having a more mindful practice session will be a lot more beneficial to you in the long run.
** Before starting to bowl, I would like you to do a few warm up stretches that you read about in my Blog Post from 5/17/21 and then take your ball and walk up to the lane. Standing at the foul line, just swing it back and forth several times to get the feel of the weight and the ball in your hand.
Here is a good starting list of things you can do while practicing:
1. Walking up straight-
Check where your starting point is and after you release the ball, look down at your feet to make
sure you are close to that board or arrow on the lane at the foul line.
2. Getting the ball out over the intended target-
You can put a piece of blue painters tape on the board or arrow you want
to use (check with the front desk if they will allow that).
3. Get a good lift on the ball, keeping the fingers slightly bent-
You can also touch your shoulder each time after the ball is
released and the follow through with your arm. This will insure that you got a good lift on the ball.
4. Getting your Timing in sync with the footwork and ball release-
Count your steps and feeling a good rhythm is important".
5. Getting a good LOFT on the ball and trying to hit the same spot on the lane each time-
You can put a towel out a few feet from the foul line and see if you can land the ball on it each time.
6. Keeping your shoulders as SQUARE to your target as possible. The exception is when you need more power. To
get more power, you will need more movement and will need to open up the hips and shoulders more.
7. Practicing hitting any pins you may be having trouble with in the league.
8. Keeping your knees FLEXED (slightly bent) at the stance and throughout the walking and release.
**Using four or five frames for each, you can try getting a strike using the first arrow as your target, then use the second arrow, third, fourth, then the fifth arrow. It will assist you in learning angles. When you start getting more experienced and begin bowling better, you will be able to use your practice sessions more efficiently.
Another fun exercise when practicing, is to try to leave certain pins standing after throwing your first shot. For instance, try leaving only a ten pin up there on the pin deck, then a 1 pin, or try a 4 pin. It's not as easy as you might think, but it will be a good drill for you so when you do leave one of these pins after your first shot, it may help you better understand what you did wrong!
I recommend going practicing at least one other day a week if you are in one league and preferable 3-4 days apart to get your body accustomed to bowling in this routine. If you're able, it's best to go to the center during the daytime hours when kids are in school. It's not as crowded in the bowling centers as it is on the week ends, and getting lane or two will be easier. Kids get excited and don't wait for you even if you are already set up on the lane.They also gather around each other and don't sit down which are huge distractions. If you can only get there on the week ends, then do practice becoming disciplined in stepping back (even if you are already set up on the lane). You'll bowl better if you do!
Most of all, have fun and don't forget to be patient with yourself. Bowling well takes time and several hours of practice.
Check out my ebook available on Amazon/Kindle--"Let's Rev Up Those Bowling Scores"!
Join me back here next week when I'll be discussing "How Do You Join A Bowling League"? See you then.
Good Luck and high scoring!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.