Article Contents

  • 1. Introducing TOPS 3
  • 2. TOPS 3 measurement and calculation process
  • 3. Basic TOPS 3 cut instructions
  • 4. A TOPS 3 example
  • 5. Closing thoughts – a few caveats
  • 6. Resources

From my perspective, coaches must constantly strive to improve their skill and knowledge.  If this evolutionary effort ceases, a coach will begin the progressively backward slide into mediocrity that I see too often.  I take the obligation and responsibility of continuous improvement very seriously.  Like all aspects of my professional coaching, I always strive to improve daily in fitting and bowling ball layout concepts in order to help individuals and teams reach a higher performance level.  My professional journey to improve a bowler’s fit is a constant progression to aid bowlers in their ability to swing the bowling ball more easily and to improve their release fluidity.  The ultimate goal is to achieve a fit which helps maximize energy transfer to the bowling ball.

Consistent with this process, I present TOPS 3 (Tiered Oval Process by Slowinski Version 3).   As many readers know, my  TOPS journey begin in 2010 and was first published in 2011.  In preparation for the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, I trained the Bermuda National team.  And, with their visit, the Tiered Oval Process was born when I had to find a fitting solution for one of the Bermuda National Team members.  During the fitting evaluation, he presented with a very long thumb and a segment length below the knuckle which was both very long and significantly different in regard to front-to-back size at the tip of the thumb.  This combination caused excessive bending of the thumb, impacting the swing and prohibiting a good release. The team went on to win a Bronze medal in Singles at the Central American and Caribbean Games, which was only their second medal in their history.  They also finished fourth in singles.

The experience of helping this player started my journey of creating a tiered oval thumb hole.  Clearly, a good standard fit is not adequate to prevent thumb bending due to ...

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Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is a freelance bowling coach who works with bowlers around the globe. He is currently on assignment with the Philippines. Slowinski is the former Director of Bowling at Lincoln Memorial University, where he served as Program Administrator and Head USBC Collegiate Men’s and NCAA Women’s Coach. The Portland, Maine native has served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is also the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. He has coached international teams at the World Championships, Pan American Games, South American Games, and European Championships, helping Belgium win a Gold medal at the 2022 EBF Championship of Champions and coaching Brazil to Gold medals at the 2015 Pam American Games and the 2014 South American Games. He was the 2018 NTCA DII/III Coach of the Year and the 2010 NCBCA Men’s College Coach of the Year.