Article Contents

  • 1. Tournament prep starts before you load the car
  • 2. Thirty minutes before practice
  • 3. Make every second count
  • 4. Tape on the PAP
  • 5. Shoot at spares
  • 6. Throw every ball in the bag

Nearly every tournament gives you at least ten minutes of practice before the scoring counts; the PBA gives you 15 minutes. Every second of this time is valuable, so don’t waste it. As an observer and active coach at a great number of tournaments each year, I would like to share with you my ideas for a warm-up game plan.

Tournament prep starts before you load the car

It is shocking to me that bowlers drag multiple balls that don’t fit properly or have something else significantly wrong with them to leagues and tournaments. All of your equipment needs to be one hundred percent ready for action or leave them at home.

At least a dozen times a year I will ask bowlers to try a certain ball in their bag only to hear, “I don’t get out of that ball very well.” Then why did you bring it? Is that part of some weight training program I am not aware of? I understand that bowlers may need to add or subtract a couple of pieces of tape during the event, but if the ball needs major surgery to fit properly, do it long before the event starts.

Make sure that all your balls have been newly cleaned and have fresh surfaces on them before you head out to any event that has an entry fee. The importance of fresh ball surfaces is way too overlooked by tournament bowlers. Balls that react just fine on walled up league shots may skid 60 feet on some longer sport patterns.

Don’t forget to give everything in your bag a look before you hit the road. Make sure your shoes and soles are in good shape. You don’t want to be looking for glue to repair a changeable sole right ...

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Ron Clifton

About Ron Clifton

Ron Clifton has been coaching at the professional level for 25 years. He conducts “Advanced Bowler Training Clinics” across the U.S. and is the inventor and manufacturer of Ron C’s Magic Carpet for thumbholes. Ron can be found on the web at