Article Contents

  • 1. Shoes
    • 1.1. When to move to interchangeable soles
  • 2. Ball fit
  • 3. What is the correct ball weight?
  • 4. When to change from conventional to fingertip
  • 5. A couple of warnings from my experience
  • 6. Are you looking for a new youth league?
  • 7. Does my athlete need individual lessons? Should they “specialize” in bowling?
  • 8. Last comments

It’s mid-July as I write this and I have begun preparing as a coach, a youth director, and parent for the upcoming youth season. I would like this to remind parents and coaches of issues to be aware of as the youth season starts, especially for those youth bowlers who took the summer off from bowling.

Shoes

Young athletes grow very suddenly (or so it seems) and their shoes can fit one week and the next week be too small. Before the first week of the winter leagues, get the shoes used last year and have the bowler try them on. Even if their tennis shoe size has not gone up in the winter, the sizing of different brands of shoes (and sometimes sizing within a brand) can be different. Try them on.

When to move to interchangeable soles

I don’t believe as a parent that I would pay the extra dollars for these shoes until it appears that the foot has grown. This is the most economical way to approach this.

However, if the child reaches a highly competitive stage at a young age and their game develops to the point where they comment on approaches being slick or tacky, then it’s time to move them up to those shoes. The only additional limitation in this regard is that most shoe manufacturers do not make the interchangeable sole shoes below size 5.

Ball fit

Just as with shoes, it seems that one week a child’s hand can fit in the ball properly and the next week the holes are too small or the span too short. It is CRUCIAL to have correctly fitting equipment from the first day.

Find time before league starts (and not on the first day of the league as the pro shop is hopefully so busy it will be hard to get service that day) to have the fit of the ball checked. (Before you do that, read this entire article. There is more information to consider). Just because a ball fit when you bought it six months ago or even three months ago when you had it plugged, does not mean that it will fit now. It also does not mean that the ball driller did anything wrong. It ...

Dug Barker

About Dug Barker

Dug Barker is a Silver Coach, Youth Director at Ken-Bowl Lanes, and is based in Louisville, KY. A member of the Positive Coaching Alliance, he is a two-time Top 100 Coach.