Article Contents

  • 1. The GPA System
    • 1.1. Have at least one GOAL each time you practice, but no more than two
    • 1.2. Have a PLAN
    • 1.3. Take ACTION
  • 2. Making practice productive
    • 2.1. Practice often
    • 2.2. Practice at home
    • 2.3. Don’t socialize
    • 2.4. DON’T watch (or keep) your score when you practice
    • 2.5. DO keep score when you practice
    • 2.6. Challenge yourself
    • 2.7. Practice on different oil patterns

I recently watched a few local hotshots in a practice session. These guys are all 220+ average members of the THB/THS Club: Typical House Bowlers on a Typical House Shot. All righthanders, they are very successful practitioners of The Stand Left – Throw Right School of Bowling.

Standing on the far left side of the approach, each bowler tossed his high performance resin ball onto the lane. Each saw the same result. The ball traveled about 40 feet, heading toward the right gutter. Then, just before it fell off the edge of the lane, the ball came in contact with the very dry outside boards that are common in typical house shots.

On touching the dry boards, the ball made a sharp left turn, veering toward the pocket. As it hit, the pins danced, jumped, flew, spun, and generally cavorted all over the deck. The bowlers rolled strike after strike, celebrating each shot with a round of high-fives.

So…what’s wrong with this picture? Simple: these bowlers thought they were practicing, but they weren’t. Not really. What they were really doing was playing a game called Let’s See How Many Strikes We Can Get. Were they learning new skills – or even sharpening old ones – as they bowled? Not likely.

Practice is not about strikes; it’s about learning how to become a better bowler by consistently making good shots. So, make sure you “practice smart” with the GPA System: set Goals, develop a Plan, and take Action to implement your plan.

Remember how it was in high school? The students who had clear goals usually earned good grades and went on to college, while the ones who had ...

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Phil Regan

About Phil Regan

Phil Regan, a USBC-certified Silver coach, has been teaching bowling since 1964. Retired from corporate life, he coaches bowlers of all levels in the northern California area and competes on the PBA50 and PBA Regional tours. Phil can be found online at