It’s fairly well understood that bowling isn’t a physically demanding sport when compared to, say, football. That blanket statement is a little misleading. In reality, the demands placed on our bodies are lower overall, but they are quite different as well. As a coach who is involved with youth programs, it’s important to understand which athletic abilities bowlers use most and when is the time to develop them. Bowlers in general need to have a better understanding of the skills they need and the demands placed on their bodies in order to improve.
The athletic abilities
First, we’ll take a look at the different athletic abilities, then rank their order of importance to the sport of bowling and their implications on bowlers of all ages. Finally, we’ll look at tactics and decision-making.
Let’s start by going through the athletic abilities and their relative importance in our sport. First, here are some definitions (1).
- Aerobic stamina: The ability to sustain a dynamic effort over an extended period of time (efforts lasting several minutes or even hours)
- Flexibility: The ability to perform movements about a joint without sustaining injury
- Speed: The ability to rapidly move the body or a part of the body, or to execute a series of movements, in an all-out effort of very short duration (8 seconds or less)
- Speed-Endurance: The ability to sustain efforts at or near-maximum speed for as long as possible (very intense efforts lasting between 8 and 60 seconds)
- Speed-Strength (Power): The ability to perform muscle contraction or overcome a resistance as fast as possible (normally, very brief efforts of one or two seconds)
- Strength-Endurance: The ability to perform repeated muscle contractions at intensities below maximum strength
- Maximum Strength: the highest level of tension generated by a muscle or muscle group during a maximum contraction, regardless of the duration
- Agility: The ability to execute movements or change body position and direction quickly and effectively
- Balance: The ability to achieve and maintain stability
- Coordination: The ability to perform movements in the correct order and with the right timing.
It’s easy to see that some of these abilities are very much related to bowling and others less so. For example, maximum strength is a non-factor. It doesn’t matter how ...
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