How can childsplay lead to future bowling success?


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I remember as a young boy, growing up in the Oxford Heights neighborhood of Elizabeth City, I used to bowl in the hallway leading down to my bedroom. The multicolor set of plastic pins and nearly duckpin size bowling ball left their marks on my bedroom door and my mom’s freshly painted walls, but to me, I was visioning winning a PBA title at the Showboat Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Looking back to my childhood during the early 70’s, without even realizing it, I was establishing the foundation of my future work in bowling and preparing myself for a little success on the lanes as well.

According to Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, play is the most valuable way for children to learn. Pair that with the more recent studies of using visualization on the lanes, and we may have unearthed another strategy to improving our bowling scores.

Earl Anthony was by far my favorite pro bowler growing up. Being left-handed, I could almost emulate his delivery with mirror-like accuracy. I never became the bowler my childhood hero was, but I had a blueprint of something to try to copy.

Recent research on how we learn suggests that there was something actually going on in my brain when I watched each Hall of Famer bowl as well as when I attempted to replicate their motions inside Albemarle Lanes. Specifically, this brain research suggests some very powerful truths about the relationship of viewing in human minds and the complex movement of our bodies.

There are three points in all of this. First, for young bowlers, playing with those little plastic pins and ball really can help you develop a foundation to a successful delivery, at least maybe helping you learn to slide on the foot opposite your bowling hand, and if nothing else, fostering an enjoyment of the game.

Second, for early teens and adult bowlers, watch video of some of the more successful pros, and see what parts of their game you can copy or borrow to create your own successful delivery and lane play. Finally, for the more established bowler, employ the use of visualization during your pre-shot routine to help you picture what a successful shot should look like. After you have created that successful shot in your mind, go make it a reality.

One guy who apparently had some positive visualization going on last week was Steve Spoonire, who found the pocket early and often as part of his 263-697 series during Monday Night Mixed league. Rondell Christian and Boris Beatty followed with sets of 215-607 and 236-602 respectively along with a 233 game from Korey Gregory.

Monday Night’s ladies were topped by Stephanie Winslow’s 203-529, Debbie Winslow’s 192-518, and Susie Thomas’s 176-482.

Mark Tarkington’s 279-715 was tops among a total of nine bowlers from Fellowship League to break the 600 mark last week. John Bradley nearly reached the 700 plateau with his 244-692, along with Steve Spoonire’s 279-671 and David Ange’s 245-671.

Other top performances from the men from Fellowship belonged to Chris Farrell (248-648), Jack Atland (227-638), Lee Owen (231-611), and Paul Lacher (238-601).

Kaytee Simpson led the Fellowship ladies with a nice 244-600, to go along with Debbie Winslow’s 191-542, Stephanie Winslow’s 183-485, and Taylor Lane’s 203 game.

After their opening week was washed away by the treat of the impending hurricane the week before, the Martin Luther King league got rolling last week led by the 244-667 effort of Chris Farrell, the 211-592 from Donald Spencer, the 195-449 from Derrick Spruill, and the 214 game from Lake Krehel.

The ladies’ side of the MLK top scores revealed a 242-617 from Brittney Krehel, to go along with Brenda Cowand’s 159-411 and Mary Beasley’s 158-396.

Charlene Fetters paced the Thursday morning All-American Ladies loop with a 186-456, just ahead of Stella Miller’s 180-455 and Ocie Manos’s 171 game.

In No-Tap League action, Raymond Casteel led the way with his 226-583, followed by Larry Montgomery’s 198-518.

The Saturday morning kids were back in action this past Saturday with Tristan Hardison’s 116 bumper game on the low end of the house, while Ben Hawkins’ toppling of the pins for a 211-521 led the high end of the lanes.

Bryce Hawkins’ 181-476, Christopher Vinson’s 171-463, and Jacob Davenport’s 181 game rounded out the top guy’s youth league leaders, while Violet Olds’ 174-463, Elizabeth Scaff’s 141-378, and Lindsay Porter’s 133-373 were the tops for the young ladies.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling.