Article Contents

  • 1. Missed opportunity conversations
    • 1.1. War stories
    • 1.2. Mind made up
  • 2. Is there one right answer?
  • 3. Coach or bowler?
  • 4. Wrap up

I have had a summer of both watching and competing in tournaments. Also, as I believe all good coaches of any sport do, I’ve spend a good bit of time reading about our sport, the mental game and other sports as well. I recently ran across an article by Chris Wallace of Poker Pro magazine that got me to thinking.

I like to stop and listen to bowlers expressing their opinions. I like to ask them questions. I only give my opinion if I am asked. And when I do offer my opinion, I sometimes play “devil’s advocate.” You never know when you might learn something.

I’ve often witnessed players miss the opportunity to sit down with some of the experts in the game and try to learn something. Instead, they get to talking about themselves. If that isn’t a missed opportunity, what is?

A couple of years ago, the day after Bowling This Month’s Super School in Detroit, I had the pleasure and honor of sitting with John Jowdy for a long breakfast. We were both killing time waiting for our transportation home. Along with John and I were some of the students from the school. For those who don’t know, in addition to having worlds of experience and wisdom in bowling and in life, John loves to tell stories. He is wise, funny. I let him do most of the talking. I asked questions to get him to expound, encouraged him to continue, and only talked when he encouraged me to do so.

I have also had the pleasure and honor of spending a couple of hours of one-on-one time with Dean Hinitz, bowling’s mental expert and BTM contributor, and watched him work with my collegiate team. I felt like our interchange was a two-way discussion, and I would like to think he got a tenth as much from me as I got from him. I do know I got something because I won a Nevada Quarter from him at the 2008 Super School on a challenge that I don’t think anyone had won before (I kept the quarter and still have it). Yes, I am still a competitor as well as a teacher.

That brings up another interesting coaching/competitor subject. Many moons ago, I took my USBC Silver Class from an outstanding nationally recognized coach. One of the coach’s words of advice was, never let your students see you bowl. This can be extremely difficult to near impossible, especially if you also compete and bowl leagues where you coach.

After trying my best for a couple of years of not being able to bowl in front of my students, I took a different tack. I’ve learned to practice what I preach in competition, ...

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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.