The Long Road Home

A collection of tips and advice for senior bowlers

The Long Road Home

In my last article, I announced that I was done writing instructional articles due to the fact that I can no longer bowl competitively. Between the comments on that article itself and the many, many emails that I received directly, I decided to honor the requests for an article specifically intended for senior bowlers.


One of the great inequities in life is that we all age at our own pace. I know many bowlers who are still bowling well in their 80s. Others, like myself, find our bodies giving out on us while we are still in our 60s. Sooner or later, it will happen to all of us, and how we handle it will determine if we continue to bowl or quit the sport altogether.

Regardless of the specific physical conditions that begin to adversely affect our ability to bowl, the most common result is a lack of ball speed which, with today’s lane conditions and bowling balls, is devastating to our ability to maintain the scoring pace to which we have become accustomed.

How we adapt to our slower ball speeds will determine our ability to continue to bowl at a level that will allow us to enjoy the game as we have in the past. Please note two things about the preceding sentence: first, I’m talking about adapting to our slower ball speeds, and second, I’m talking about a level of enjoyment, not a level of performance. Please allow me to explain.

As painful as this is to hear, there is really nothing that you can do to increase your ball speed once you have begun to lose it. It’s one of those things that you cannot change. The more you try, the worse your bowling will become. Your feet will get too fast. You will start to muscle the ball. Your timing will go down the tubes.

Once you finally accept this inevitability, you will resort to dropping your ball weight to achieve more ball speed. It won’t work! Dropping from 14 pounds to 13 might result in a 1 mph increase in ball speed. If your speed is 13 mph and you increase it to 14 mph, you will still be about 4 to 5 mph short of where you need to be. Your 1 mph increase in ball speed will only result in a loss of carry.

In one of my recreational leagues, there is a 92-year-old man who has suffered a stroke and has glaucoma which severely impairs his vision. He is so frail that he often has to hold onto the ball return ...

Rob Mautner

About Rob Mautner

Rob Mautner is a USBC Silver Level Certified Coach. Rob can be found on the lanes coaching and bowling in Las Vegas, Nevada.