A request came into the site for a combined lesson, husband and wife which we arranged. They arrived with just their bowling shoes and nothing else. "We don't have any bowling equipment." Amazed that someone so novice would want a lesson, I delved into what motivated them to call? Turns out they're doing a bowling party with their friends in a couple weeks and wanted a few pointers to get them going in the right direction so they won't embarrass themselves.
Was getting my Bowler's Map and camera ready but quickly realized, they wouldn't be necessary. We went upstairs and spent some time finding the right house ball and grip size, basically explaining what they're looking for in a weight, fit and then off to the lanes.
First they needed to do some warm ups; basic stretching to limber up. Seems hokey but to avoid silly injuries, especially older people, it's best to not just start throwing shots. Next was a few frames each to see what I had to work with.
The man squatted down practically like a baseball catcher, took 5 steps and had a grip like he's choking his worst enemy as the ball was lofted over the dots. The woman used 4 steps but actually took two steps before moving the ball. Oh and she really threw it slow with no follow through.
We discussed a basic stance and athletic position which the man applied instantly. With the wife, I talked about the basic 4 step approach and how we need to get the ball started on the first step, swing and follow though. We did this without the ball next to each other until she could coordinate the steps and arm swing. This took about 20 minutes. While this was going on, I had the man working on loosening his grip. He was doing that at the foul line doing no steps and 1 steps. "Very low speed. Just let the ball roll off your thumb and let your fingers lift the ball onto the lane." Later on, we tossed a rosin bag to each other so he could get it to tumble.
In less than an hour, she had her 4 step approach and he was more upright and rolling the ball. He shot a 135 with an open in the 10th (his high game) and she hit the head pin 6 times and made 3 spares. I wrote out their lesson plans so each of them would have reminders what they needed to work on. I left them both happy and eager to practice their new styles! It was really lots of fun for all of us.
I'm telling you this because all of you are dedicated bowlers and anyone who reads my blog has sacrificed a piece of their life for the sheer joy of bowling.
So the next time you happen to be practicing and someone bowling next to you is new or obviously in need of a little attention, or when your friends want to go bowling, you know, the ones who don't bowl, offer some assistance and be enthusiastic. Just the basics. I'm not expecting you to start giving advanced lessons but an easy tip would probably be well received and go a long way to making their experience more memorable and satisfying.
I think when a person finds something and shows improvement, they want to keep doing it and get better. So each of us need to help others learn and discover how much fun bowling can really be. It goes a long way to growing this wonderful sport of ours even if it's just one bowler at a time.