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Tom Blasco's Expert Bowling Tips

-Into The Season

01/30/2006 - By Tom Blasco
      A few months have gone by since I've sent in a contributing article to the different websites I write for. Why you might ask? Well there are a number of reasons, all of which I'll keep for another time. One of the reasons is I've been looking and listening to the bowlers in my local area and a number of bowlers around the country to what their take is on the status of their bowling, this season, and what they think is going on in and around the bowling industry.

      One of the first things I see is that bowlers, in general, just continue to bowl and be bowlers. In a majority of cases, they just want to bowl and don't really care about:
  • the merger of ABC/WIBC, which is now the USBC.
  • the proposed rule changes affecting the manufacturing of bowling balls, which is now somewhat tabled as a result of some 20 representatives being forthright with the USBC Board.
  • the distribution of oil within the oil patterns, the PBA patterns, the sport leagues or oil patterns, because it only affects a small number of our bowling populace. In fact, some of the discussion was directed at house patterns, just so they don't take away the dry right.
  • the fact or at least the possibility, that somewhere down the road the game as we know it today is going to be separated (split) - to recreational and classic league bowling. This action may lead to a different awards program, different types of tournaments, different oil patterns for your competition and maybe different bowling balls for that competition.
  • that only a small number of bowler's care about becoming better bowlers. Even though they all talk about wanting to be better bowlers they don't want or don't have the time to put into the game to be the better bowler they dream about. Resting on their laurels is their greatest achievement.
  • the education that is necessary to become a good scratch bowler or tournament player. They, also, don't care about what it takes to become a proficient bowler, in fact, many believed any one can do it proficiently, regardless of being male or female.
  • the fact the so-called bowlers still don't understand the need to care for and maintain their equipment. It's amazing how few realize why their particle bowling equipment lost it's hitting and hooking power because the particles have broken down or become shattered.
  • new young students of the game. While the industry as a whole likes the fact that young people are becoming involved in the game/sport, it's a shame that this support is not overwhelming across the board, because these self proclaimed super bowlers use these young players as a means of feeding their egos that is only beneficial to themselves.
  • the tour. Many are still unhappy with the fact the tour show has to be put up against football and NASCAR. Those that do watch the tour don't like the Skills Challenge (but my wife does) and others would much rather see the old format of the tour. Those that commented are still unhappy with the fact that bowling still hasn't been able to sell itself on the difficulties of being a professional or highly skilled tournament player. Others find it difficult to believe when we have over 100 million bowlers in more than 100 countries.
  • the rumblings throughout the bowling grapevine to alter sport patterns by changing the ratios to make them easier.
  • that some of the bowling centers and proprietors have an attitude about you bowling in their center. In fact, I've heard that some feel you (the bowler) are indebted to them and they are doing you a favor by letting you bowl in their center and participate in their leagues and programs.
  • about the leadership of our game/sport not being on the same page because there is so much hierarchy in the game that they can't get out of each others way to be more positive or direction giving to where our game is going. The proprietors think and know they own the game, USBC runs the game, but there still continues to be the war of words. Some still believe we should be more like golf, someone owns the golf courses, USGA governs the game.
  • whether or not they have the same oil pattern from week to week. They just want to play the game and strike and have fun with the friends and neighbors.
  • the number of variables in today's game that actually make the game more difficult to play proficiently for long periods of time. The number of players on a pair, the number of games being bowled are part of those variables but only applies to a small percentage of bowlers, they can't or don't want to understand that when they bowl on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday night, 10 players on a pair break the lanes down quickly and in most cases unevenly.
  • the USBC making changes in the System of Bowling with regards to balls, pins, lanes, oils and cleaners.
  • the scratches or wear of the playing surface because most don't care or believe, when identified, it does affect how they play. Also, was informed how little our bowlers actually relate to the surface they play on and generally only relate to it as how much their ball hooks in different centers.
  • the fact, that their new high powered bowling balls and lane friction contributes to their high scoring , in fact a number want more to include more dry right surface so they can hook it more.
  • the ups and downs of league bowling or the trials and tribulations of proprietors. Those that are dedicated league bowlers (classic league or others) are going to continue bowling and those that are recreational bowlers will bowl when they feel like it.
  • that bowlers, in general, don't care about the amount of friction created by the lane surface and their ball and really don't want to take the time to understand the physics of their equipment as it relates to rolling out or hitting flat. Most will just blame the lanes and the proprietor.
  • that today's technology applies to less than 1% of the bowling populace - all they want to do is bowl.
  • that the youth of our game/sport are not provided avenues of high quality coaching which would encourage and promote our sport and maintain them as life long participants.
  • about high school bowling or collegiate bowling. A majority don't even know the programs exist throughout the country and there is even a program in Florida.
  • the selling of bowling and it's integrity. In fact, with most of the players I've talked with that are from the old school seem to be the only ones talking about integrity of our sport, while the newer players don't care and really have no sense of history of what it took to get where we are today. They have a hard time grasping the integrity of our sport when ESPN Classic shows old shows with our players averaging 225 or 230 to make the show and very few believe in the relativity factor of the older and newer players. Some believe that the business of bowling is not in touch with the bowlers. A majority don't care that an honor score doesn't mean anything or that we can't have credibility when we don't even give credit to an honor score. I was told "we don't even honor an honor score."
  • about what is concentration. Most think because they think about concentration, they are concentrating on bowling, Very few really know what concentration on the highly skilled level is all about. Even fewer are aware of the mental, physical and emotional parts of our elite players and the sport.
  • our youth and junior programs with the exception of using them as a form of baby sitting service.
  • that our game/sport has lost its capability of creating FUN.

A few things I have noticed from the bowlers is that they still care about:
  • clean lanes (no dirt on clothes from the balls).
  • having the same oil pattern from week to week, whatever it is. Bowler's (recreational or classic league) still want that element of consistency with relationship to lane conditions.
  • a fair price for their bowling and bowling equipment.
  • having an enjoyable time when they participate. Keeping the rules and all that stuff to a minimum is fine with most.
      To this writer it seems that our bowlers really don't care about a whole lot and we continue in the same spiral we've been listening too for years. Lack of education is still a problem, but I would guess it's standard if no one cares about the state of our game/sport. Fortunately, I still see organizations and groups still striving for education, integrity, fair play and hopes of keeping our game/sport alive for the next hundred years.

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