Article Contents

  • 1. Watching television
  • 2. Five rungs on the ladder of learning…from least to most effective
    • 2.1. Rung one: Coaching yourself to bowl better
    • 2.2. Rung two: Taking lessons from a coach who only knows the mechanics of bowling
    • 2.3. Rung three: Technical knowledge plus a high degree of self-awareness without the...
    • 2.4. Rung four: The natural learning process plus coaching from someone who can help you...
    • 2.5. Rung five: Natural learning with a coach who understands how to teach you to coach...

“A lesson well learned becomes your teacher for life.”
-Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott, Coaches

Bowlers are like predators, always looking for that edge that is going to help them play and compete better. The search for improved form, leverage, revolutions, timing and etc., is an ongoing, never-ending process that serious bowlers take with them to every instructional session. Most players take that intention to the bowling center every time they play, even in their weekly league game.

So we read our Bowling This Month articles, watch the professional telecasts, and if we are committed enough, we go get some instruction. With all of that going for us you would expect players of all ability levels to get better at the pace of their commitment.

But, the truth is that once someone gets past the beginner’s surge of rapid learning, change and transformation can slow down to a crawl. We spend a lot of time on training and technological instruction, yet relatively little attention gets paid to learning how to learn. In essence, it is like going to a buffet, but not really knowing how to put the food on your plate.

It is time to change all that in the world of bowling instruction. This month, we are going to look at how to watch the pros, how to listen to your coaches, and ultimately how to learn to bowl your best.

Watching television

A funny thing happens after viewers watch the PBA telecast. Those who go down to the bowling center to practice will find that they bowl better. One of two things may have happened. Without really thinking about it, you may have picked up some subtle technique cues, or simply become inspired to play better. On the other hand, as a student of the sport you may have keyed on some aspect of a player’s game that you put into practice.

“Your backswing is your backswing. It is as high as it is all by itself. That’s your swing.”
-Nick Melnikoff, former PBA Tour Player

From one point of view there is a right way to watch the pros and a mistaken way to watch them. The wrong way is to observe how someone bowls and then try to make your body do the exact same thing. Now there is nothing wrong with experimentation, but each person’s game is like a personal signature. Forcing yourself to play like someone else can cause you to try to mold yourself into something that is not natural to you.

On the other hand, it is perfectly fine to let yourself ...

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Dean Hinitz

About Dean Hinitz

Dr. Dean Hinitz is a clinical sports psychologist in Reno, Nevada, a bowler, a former competitive gymnast, and a black belt in Japanese-style Karate.