Article Contents

  • 1. Goals and planning
  • 2. Train things in the right order
    • 2.1. Phase one: sport-specific skills
    • 2.2. Phase two: competition skills
  • 3. Things everyone should work on
    • 3.1. Spare shooting
    • 3.2. Playing straighter angles
    • 3.3. Pattern play
    • 3.4. Separating strikes from spares
    • 3.5. Team play
  • 4. A word about equipment
    • 4.1. Choose your equipment several weeks before the event
    • 4.2. Check your fit, change you grips, etc.
    • 4.3. Stock up on accessories
  • 5. Conclusion

The tournament doesn’t kick off for another few months, and you might not be bowling for another few more, but it’s time right now to start getting ready. For some bowlers, this event is their only sport shot experience of the year; it’s an annual pilgrimage to enjoy the challenge of something like what the pros bowl on, and to appreciate how amazing those winning scores are when it’s all said and done. For other bowlers, it’s just another tournament in a long season, where there’s money to be made and a chance at winning a coveted Eagle.

Either way, making the most of the experience requires more than an extra few games of practice the week before you leave. Now’s the time to get to work, so this article will tackle USBC Open Championships preparation in two ways. First, it will help you prioritize your training based on your specific needs. Next, it will then cover some of the general skills that every bowler should be working on in preparation for this kind of tournament. Let’s get started!

Goals and planning

When setting goals, I’m not referring to the “outcome goals” of cashing, winning, or shooting a certain score. I’m referring to the “process goals” that you’ll need to work on prior to leaving, such as improving your armswing or improving your mental game. For more information on setting goals, check out my article, Achieving Your Goals in 2016.

With the help of a coach, identify the areas you need to improve to maximize your performance at the Open Championships. Let’s consider three example goals from different areas of the game:

  • Improve my focus and pre-shot routine
  • Get better at reading lanes
  • Improve my armswing

All these skills are essential to good bowling, particularly on harder conditions in a tournament setting. Your list might be different, with more focus on a specific area of the game, but the key idea is to start with some process goals. This gives your preparation a direction, and provides a purpose for each of your practice sessions.

Train things in the right order

Generally speaking, physical game changes take the longest to incorporate and should come first in your training. Tactical game goals—such as getting better at reading ...

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Tyrel Rose

About Tyrel Rose

Tyrel Rose is Bowling This Month's Director of Content. He is the former Head Coach for Team Canada, with almost 20 years of experience coaching bowlers of all levels. Tyrel is an NCCP Competition Development level and USBC Bronze Certified coach, and a former Canadian National Champion. Follow Tyrel online at his coaching Facebook page.