Article Contents

  • 1. Background and motivations
  • 2. Line-of-sight construction: one of bowling’s fundamental skills
  • 3. Bowler skill level vs. line-of-sight construction skill mastery level
  • 4. Current methods of line-of-sight skill training
  • 5. A proposed new technique for bowling line-of-sight construction training
  • 6. Results
  • 7. Practical considerations and next steps
  • 8. Conclusions

“Skill” is the ability to carry out an action automatically without active conscious control. An indicator of skill competence is performance of an action without the need to consciously think about how the action will be performed. When a person has skill competence for a given task, it is no longer necessary to think about the execution of the skill via its separate partial sub-operations.

Successful bowling, of course, requires competence in countless complex skills. One of the many jobs of the bowling coach is to develop and use the most effective methods of skill training on our students so that their learning processes can be accelerated as much as possible.

In this article, I want to analyze the process of learning and the implementation of one specific bowling game skill. Namely, we will examine the line-of-sight construction skill of the bowler. Line-of-sight construction is a skill that allows the bowler to envision the launch trajectory of the bowling ball on the lane. We’ll start with some background and with a description of why this skill (as well as other similar skills) can be so challenging to teach. Finally, we will give an example of a new method of line-of-sight training that I’ve been using successfully with my own students to accelerate their development.

Background and motivations

Throughout my career as a bowling coach, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of bowlers. This includes players at the novice level all the way up to the national team level.

Additionally, I have a significant amount of experience coaching deaf bowlers. One of my students is a medalist in the Deaflympics and numerous of my other deaf students are European Bowling Championship winners. Recently, one of my female deaf students won a Gold medal at the 3rd World Deaf Bowling Championships in Bologna, Italy in August 2015.

Working with bowlers who have different types of thinking skills has motivated me to seek out improved teaching methodologies for our sport. The task of building an efficient training process for deaf bowlers, for example, has been very non-trivial. This led me to deeply analyze the process of bowling skill learning from the perspectives of cognitive and educational psychology.

This process uncovered psychological regularities of the bowling training process. Developing an understanding of these regularities has resulted in me adjusting my training methods for improved efficiency. This has led to significant accelerations in skill mastery for players of all types.

Line-of-sight construction is one particular bowling skill that can be challenging to teach to both ...

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Alexander Gurkov

About Alexander Gurkov

Alexander Gurkov is a USBC-certified Silver and ETBF-certified Level 2 bowling coach. He is currently a member of the coaching staff at the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Florida. He was a professor at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth, and Tourism, where he authored the Program of Education of Bowling Sport in High Education. Alexander has competed as a member of Russia's national bowling team and was the head coach of Russia's youth national team, winning numerous medals in international competition as a coach. His coaching methods have been successfully used for 12+ years on youth, adult, and deaf bowlers of all skill levels. Alexander also owns and operates BowlLab, a popular bowling school in Moscow. He has both a Master's degree in Coaching and a Master's degree in Optical and Optical-Electronic Systems.