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Teaching The Sport Is The Key To Retention Of Bowlers 9/14/2015

Too bad there's no way to count the number of bowlers who quit each year out of sheer frustration, helped along by indifference and neglect.

They end up almost convinced that this sport of ours only masquerades as fun, recreation and competition, and that in reality, is some form of torture.

Too many are told too often how easy it is to bowl. The emphasis should be on the fact that though bowling is one of the easiest sports to play, it remains one of the most difficult to master, even with the rash of easier conditions and gigantic scores. That makes the newcomers and the lower averagers feel worse.

There are many instructors who should be made aware of the fact that beginning bowlers aren't interested in becoming 200 average bowlers right away. At least not until they learn how to keep the ball out of the channel more often than not.

Most bowling centers do not provide or make available adequate instruction for beginners, or any range of bowlers, free, or at any cost.

Many bowlers would love to take lessons of some sort. Some can't afford much, others are willing to pay almost any price. Neither get too much of anyone's attention. In high school bowling most team coaches have little background in instruction and in knowledge of the sport.

No particular segment of the sport is at fault, and all must share the lack in this area. It would be a boon to bowling centers and to membership organizations if bowlers stopped quitting in such big numbers. And it would a big advantage to the pros and others if the teaching of bowling grew to even a small portion of the instruction offered in tennis and golf.

I don't know of any golf course that does not have a pro. Tennis clubs also rate high in pro help. How many bowling centers have a home pro? Over the years each of the groups in bowling have done some good things in the way of bowling instruction, but the ends are loose. Many centers feel they don't need instructional programs. They must be shown how it can help them, their business, and their sport.

There are many fine teachers across the country, some heralded professional names, others whose names are known only to their students and close friends.

A knowledge of the sport, an interest in all phases, plenty of patience, and the ability to relate and get along with people are among the musts. In golf it's an accepted fact that most teaching pros are just that, teaching pros, instructors first, and playing golfers second.

All bowling teachers, like all bowling books, help some. A good teacher must first gain the attention of the student, then the respect. Faith in a teacher can do wonders. Never discount any instructor because he or she isn't a super star or even a good bowler. Many so so bowlers love the teaching end and spend their effort and energy in helping others, and continuously learning more about every aspect of the sport.

On the other side, don't accept just anyone as an instructor. In some cases that's someone who started bowling the week before you did.

Maybe there will come a day when few bowlers quit the sport. Maybe the day will come when every bowling center will boast a home pro.

Maybe we will live long enough to see both those days.

Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine.

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