My philosophy about coaching youth (in bowling or any other sport), as I have written previously, focuses on a two-fold agenda:

  • Using the sport to teach lessons about life.
  • Giving the youth bowler the tools to become the best bowler they can be as they mature as an athlete and a person.

This is a position on coaching advocated by the Positive Coaching Alliance. You can find them at Glenn “Doc” Rivers, Phil Jackson, Julie Fouty, and many other influential athletes and coaches are involved in this organization. Their belief system works. The following discussion was written with this philosophy in mind.

Stay behind the ball. Well, not really.

One of my favorite subjects is things I learn from my students as I work with them. I’ve written on many occasions about such things and as anyone who has the desire to improve, or to keep their mind active knows, it always is a fun to learn something new every day.

My job as a coach and writer about the game is an exacting work. One sentence or phrase, misunderstood or not clearly communicated, can cause a train wreck for the student. This train wreck can lead to a total breakdown in trust between the student and teacher or, it can be another teaching moment to advance the athlete/coach relationship as well as provide an important life lesson for young folks. As I say so often, words matter.

For a number of years now a statement we often use as coaches has me worried and I’ve been quietly warning other coaches about it. While working with a long time student of mine (and a previous BTM Super School student), this fear came to fruition.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with this young lady for a number of years now as part of my youth program, as a high school bowler and on occasion having her practice with the collegiate team I formerly coached. Her game had progressed steadily and as ...

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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.