Monday, April 23, 2012

5pin Bowling's Continued Quest on the Internet

When this blog was first started, there was not much online in the way of 5pin bowling specific resources. While there have been provincial and national association sites for quite some time, articles on specific information on our sport and tips and techniques were almost non existant. Also, there were no specific sites that promoted it's bowlers, or showcased their abilities and talents.

Luckily for us, in the recent past, stuff has become more available to us their some very dedicated bowlers. I can tell you from personal experience, (as I am sure many others that have contributed material for 5pin bowling) that it takes an enormous amount of time to dedicate for the purpose of helping other bowlers. While I wish everyone appreciated and understood what it took to write content and keep things fresh, the time spent is not to be appreciated, but to help others.

With that being said, there was a new 5pin specific site that has popped up recently with some great new and fresh features. offers something fairly new to our sport, which does an amazing job promoting those who play our great game with player profiles. One major complaint that I've heard from people who play our sport is the lack of showcasing the talent our sport boasts, and this problem has been addressed at 5pinuniverse. Karie Kreutz and his group have got the ball rolling to promote our players, and now it's up to us to fill out a profile, and get a strong database going.

Another great feature on 5pinuniverse is it's tournament feature. Especially in western Canada, there are a lot of tournaments offering a challenge to the greatest of bowlers, and tournament info and results can easily be found on the site. I know that in time, this site will continue to grow and provide valuable information to bowlers of any level.

Here in Ontario, we recently held our provincial Open tournament. A group of bowlers, headed by o5pba's own John Cresswell, featured live video streaming of all the action that took place Easter weekend at Sherwood Centre in Hamilton. A huge thanks goes out to all those who were involved in this worthwhile venture, as o5pba brought Ontario's biggest bowling event across the country for viewers to enjoy. If you are interested in viewing the streaming, they can be found in the left column under results here.

As the 2011-12 season comes to a close, I think these 2 outlets have provided bowlers with a quick glance at what's to come for our sport as we progress forward to get more exposure.

Jeff Young

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Changes in 5-Pin Bowling: Helpful or Not? - Fraser Hambly

The new changes in 5-pin bowling specs, will undoubtedly improve scoring to some degree. There are now ranges approved that allow for smaller bases, taller pins, and heavier balls - are all meant to increase scores. The 17” set-ups are still under review, but these too may be approved sooner than later. It all begs the question: Is this a good thing for our sport? Purists won’t like the changes for the most part, while others feel it will make the sport dramatically better, and will help retain present bowlers and attract new ones.
I’d like to address many of the changes over the years that have changed the sport, and you can decide for yourself which things have been good, and whether more needs to be done.
- In 1909, Tommy Ryan invents 5-pin bowling as an improvement to 10-pin
- In 1912, the rubber band is added but only made flush with the pin at first (this information just came to light from an article written by Bob Hesketh who wrote for the Toronto Telegram in the 50’s and 60’s) > top averages increased from 140 to 200, but a ball could still go between the pins
- A few years later, some proprietors started adding more rubber to the outside of the band > top averages went up to 240+
- The original 4,2,1,3,5 count is changed to 1,4,5,3,2 in Western Canada, and in 1959 the whole country adopts 2,3,5,3,2
- The counter or blow pin is abolished nation-wide in 1971
- The original Blue Band is introduced in the early 60’s and scores go up dramatically
- Personalized balls are allowed in 1990 after being banned in the late 50’s because a Hamilton team brought their house balls to an all-events tourney at Waterloo and won almost everything
The above changes increased scoring whenever they were implemented. Some helped all bowlers, while some helped lower average bowlers more than higher average players (eliminating the counter pin for example). Have all these changes really had an impact on making the sport better? There is no question scoring is better compared to the early days. One could argue that without these changes, the sport might have declined more than it has. But do changes to improve scoring really help save the sport? It may help retain those already involved, but that’s not enough.
The sport needs a major change in the way it’s perceived by the public in general. I was fascinated by a post of Fabbio Lancia’s, who is the owner/operator of Skyview Lanes in Bolton, Ontario. He states that he is frustrated by numerous inquiries that his centre only has “children’s” bowling, meaning 5-pin. While we all know that 5-pin is more difficult, the public’s perception is that it’s a kids’ game before you play the “adult” game of 10-pin. This perception has become much more pronounced in the last 10-20 years. While many proprietors are doing wonderful things to promote the game, and the Provincial Associations are trying to be innovative, it’s my opinion that the public’s perception is the main thing that has to be overcome. A TV or print campaign highlighting that 5-pin was invented to improve on 10-pin, and that it’s not a kids’ game would help. If say, Canadian hockey players or Don Cherry could be featured in a campaign that 5-pin really is an adult sport, that would help change the public’s perception. While all this takes money that may not be readily available, some kind of campaign to change the public’s perception is essential! I’m personally in favour of the changes, both old and new, in 5-pin bowling and hopefully the sport will continue to evolve without becoming bastardized as the years go on. However, perceptions need to change: people have to be convinced to play, before they’ll stay!!!

Let’s do everything we can to help change the public’s perception, so that people will think: “When you go bowling, bowl Canadian, bowl 5-pin!!!

Fraser Hambly

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ontario Open Wrap Up - Steve Barker

Open Review
As some people across the country are trying to catch up on their sleep following a busy Easter Weekend on the lanes, it’s time for the Provincial Champions to make their plans for Gatineau and for the rest of us to figure out what went wrong.
There were great stories from across the country including perfect games by Trevor Cook in Manitoba and Bob MacDonald in Ontario. I’m sure that Jeff would welcome results, stories and links from all Provinces.
Here in Southern Ontario, we witnessed a perfect game, saw two players put on impressive displays in winning their 2nd Singles titles, watched an incredible performance by the Hamilton Men’s team, were amazed by legendary Donny Betts in Seniors play, were captivated by Mike Greenlee’s story following a terrible car accident last July and saw three teams run the ladder and win 4 games to become Champions.
Another neat feature this year was “Live Streaming” of the action from Sherwood Centre. With the help of Shaw Cable and the efforts and expertise of new O5 President John Cresswell as well other volunteers, including Jason Gingrich, Laura Pondhorny, Crystal Pickard, Kathy Howe-Recchia and Terry Farrell, all of whom helped with filming, set-up or supplying equipment, most of the event was captured live on UStream and can now be viewed in its archives. We received lots of comments and hope the coverage is bigger and better next year!
Getting back to the action…
With so many great performances, the story of the week was still Robert MacDonald of Kawartha. Bob finished the first day of Singles action with a disappointing 171, but came out gangbusters on Day 2. After a 250 in game 6, Bob thrilled the crowd and those watching online by throwing a perfect 450 in game 7. For his efforts, he earned $10, 420 in the Perfect Game pool. Bob then shot games of 284, 224 and 363 for a 2877 total, which was enough to pass 1st day leader Shawn Coombs who finished 107 back. In the finals, David Biscardi defeated Rob Himburg 249-230 in match 1. Biscardi then lost to Mike Greenlee 305-229. The fact that Greenlee had even tried to qualify in December was quite remarkable as he had suffered serious injuries including a broken pelvis, in a July car accident. Greenlee then defeated Shawn Coombs 270-260 to go on and play Bob MacDonald in the final. In the Championship match, Greenlee couldn’t get away from the middle and Bob cruised to a 235-175 victory in earning his second Ontario Singles Title.
In Ladies Singles, defending champ Erica Bortolin led the 10-game qualifying with a 2767 score and was followed closely by former champion, Brenda Walters with 2750. In the stepladder, Mandee Anning defeated another former champ in Elizabeth Nicoll by a 280-263 count. Mandee then beat Shannon Wright in a 195-182 knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out affair. The next match was an absolute classic as Mandee lost a heart-breaker, 328-324 to Brenda Walters. In the final, Erica got off to a huge start and cruised to a 285-210 victory to become back-to-back Champion!! Due to work commitments, Erica will be unable to go to Gatineau, so Brenda will represent Ontario at the Nationals.
In Men’s team qualifying, the story was the Hamilton squad who went undefeated through the 13 game round robin to finish with 83 points, 16 ahead of next-place Central. York-Simcoe and Bay of Quinte rounded out the top 4 with 64 and 61 points respectively. In the opening match, York-Simcoe beat Bay of Quinte 6-2 despite the efforts of Nathan Cooper, who came back to defeat impressive Rookie Jason Davidson-Thoms 311-300 in a terrific match. In game 2, David Bunton threw a nice 370 to lead Central to a 7-1 win over York-Simcoe. Geoff Stevens threw a 351 in a losing cause in that match and would later receive a plaque commemorating 30 years of Open Qualifying- Congrats “Sticks”!! That would set up a tremendous final, with the impressive Central team taking on undefeated Hamilton. In an incredibly intense match, Hamilton prevailed 5-3 to stay undefeated to take the title. Kudos to Central’s Doug Brock and Wade Thompson, both of whom averaged over 290 in the last 2 games. Congrats to the Hamilton team of Mitch Davies (who averaged over 278 in round robin play), Marc Goulet, Eric Milne, John Conti, Jeff Young, Francois Talbot and Coach Martin Talbot!
In Ladies action, Tri-County led qualifying with 73.5 points, powered by Karole McDonnell who averaged 280, and Lindsay Laporte who averaged 267. They were followed by Central (66), Huronia (62) and Ottawa Valley (59.5). In match 1, Ottawa swept Huronia 8-0. Ottawa kept rolling in game 2, defeating Central 6-2. That meant that they would have to beat powerhouse and multi-time defending champ Tri-County twice. The next game went down to the wire with Ottawa squeaking out totals by 11 pins to win 5-3. In the Championship game, Brenda Budarick’s 330 willed Ottawa on to victory. Congrats to Kelly Sears, Celine Villeneuve, Brenda Budarick, Chantale Cyr, Colleen Bull, Doris Ellis and Coach Winnie Spires!!
The Mixed division saw the closest round robin standings as Metro Toronto finished first with 72 points, followed by Grand River with 70.5 and Central with 70. Tri-County was 4th with 61.5. In game 1, Central’s Jim Head shot 321 to lead his team to a 7-1 win. Game 2 was a thriller, as Central used a Steve Medhurst 319 and a brilliant Karen Richards fill of 117 for 4 frames to overcome Grand River’s 302 by David Phipps and a 322 by Mitch Pape to take totals 1296-1278. Central would then need to beat Metro twice. Central stayed hot, winning the next game 7-1. In the final match, Metro surprised many by starting veteran anchor Doug Stuart on the bench. Central would stay hot, backed by a Dianne Trask 312 en route to a beautiful 1367 in taking the title!! Congrats to Jim Head, Bill Schwemlein, Steven Medhurst, Dianne Trask, Torry Burrows, Karen Richards and their humble Coach, Bob Beaucage!
The Seniors event is a team round robin with scores also counting towards Singles. Niagara would lead the team standings, setting several scoring records in the process. Hall-of-Famer Don Betts averaged over 283 in team play and had a stretch of 6/7 300 games in becoming top Singles qualifier. Donny’s teammate, Wilma Vanderzwaag averaged 251 in leading the ladies.  
In Seniors team play, Ken Oldridge’s 321 led Western Ontario to a 6-2 Game 1 victory over Hamilton despite a 312 by Ray Schroeder. Western then beat Ottawa Valley 6-2 for the chance to face Niagara. In a tightly-contested first match, Western squeaked out totals by an 1160-1149 count to win 6-2. Wilma Vanderzwaag had 293 and Donny Betts had 311 in the loss. In Match 2, a clutch Gail Matis finish was the difference as Western joined the Central Mixed and Ottawa Women in running through the entire stepladder to become Provincial Champions!! Congrats to Gary Phair, Diane Martin, Gail Matis, Jim Oldridge, Ken Oldridge and Coach Shawn Oldridge!!
In the Men’s portion of the Senior Singles, Rejean Menard bested Ken Oldridge 302-226 in the opening match. Rejean then won another exciting game by beating Wayne Webb 280-263. Rejean would then lose to Kawartha’s Fred Charlie by a 258-216. Don Betts then defeated Fred 250-178 to add Senior Singles Champ to his long list of bowling accolades!!
In the Ladies stepladder, Gail Matis maintained her momentum from the team event as she defeated Denise Clause 285-170, Joanna Twitchin 264-207 and Maureen Poole 182-158 to meet Wilma Vanderzwaag. Wilma would make it a Niagara sweep by defeating Gail 279-222 to take the title!!
Central Ontario won the Aggregate banner!
Rookie of the Year Honours went to Brandon Hoffman of Ontario Durham, and Nicole Spruyt from Middlesex-Elgin. While the criteria regarding the selection of these awards can be debated, it should definitely not take away from the performances of the winners and those of several other bowlers. Congrats to Shayne Riepert, Jason Davidson-Thoms, Justin Prieur and Robert Smith for an excellent first Open. For the Ladies, kudos to Korinn Davies, who averaged 236 playing lead-off in the Mixed and also to Kylie Kruk who finished 7th in Singles and made it to the Ladies team semis. Other Rookies destined to be back include Larry Wendel, Shawn Lough, Cameron Flannigan, Bob Pellow, Mike Kennedy, Matt Leonard, Shelby Robblee, Nicole Mans, Meghan Menard, Jackie Matis, Melissa Groombridge and Stephanie Howard.
There were also upwards of 25 YBC bowlers who showed their YBC card at the door to obtain a free pass to attend the Open. With all of the exciting action we saw, they are sure to be hooked!
Thanks again to all of our sponsors and to the O5 executive, staff and all of the volunteers who made these Championships possible!! Good luck to everyone in Gatineau!!
Thanks also to Harold Stoddart, who is retiring from his post as Tournament Director and also to our past-President Dave Post, who will be concentrating on his duties as C5 President!! You will both be missed and your contribution to our sport is greatly appreciated by everyone!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Easter Time

For a lot of Canada, Easter is the bowling world can only mean one thing, time for some great bowling. While there always seems to be a lot of debate on rules, possible improvements and costs, it's always an opportunity to see some amazing bowling take place.

I'd like to take this time to wish every competitor good luck and good bowling this coming week, and to congratulate those who have already qualified for the National event held in Gatineau Quebec.

I would also like to point out some new features that the O5PBA has done this year for the Ontario Open. One big and exciting feature will be the addition of live streaming happening during the tournament, which will be found on the O5 site. This will be a great new feature for the Ontario Open and will allow a much bigger audience to watch some great bowlers play their way to Provincial champions.

A second great new feature deals with our youths. A big step has been taken in showing our youth bowlers out there exactly what level of bowling awaits to test their abilities in the future. The O5PBA is now allowing YBC bowlers free admission to the Open when they show their YBC card at the doors. For the YBC bowlers out there that have the time and opportunity to check out this event, I highly recommend that you do. I was lucky enough to grow up a couple of blocks from Sherwood, allowing me to watch, work and witness somme amazing bowling. There's no doubt that watching every Easter fueled a fire inside me, wanting me to make myself good enough to compete at the highest level.

In closing, I would like to once again wish all those competing luck, and may some great stories take place across the county. I would also like to stop and step back and say that while so many bowlers return year after year to compete, we should all be grateful in being able to bowl in this prestigious event. So many great athletes never get the chance to compete at a provincial showcase in their sport and I think that the accomplishment of doing so sometimes gets lost in the mix. Life takes us on some paths that might sometime limit the opportunities to do so, and we don't generally stop to think about what we're accomplishing until our time in the spotlight has ended. Good luck everyone.

Jeff Young

Friday, March 30, 2012

The "Good" Type of Summer School - Steve barker

One of the challenges that we as coaches face during the season is how much we can or should adjust or change a YBC bowler’s technique in the midst of the season when there is a plethora of tournament qualifying and competition going on. Even without tournaments, the athlete is always concerned about their average, and we all know that any changes to a bowler’s style, even if it will improve their game long term, generally sees a person’s scores decrease at the beginning before they start to see improvement.
The best time for a bowler to work on his or her game is outside of league play and for major changes, the off-season is ideal. While some bowlers have the opportunity to practice for free or have access to good coaching, this option is not available for everyone.
One option for some YBC members across the country to improve their game is to attend one of the many Bowling Schools that operate during the summer months.
Many parents send their kids to Hockey Schools or Baseball or Soccer camps in hopes that their children can improve their skills and possibly make the “big time”. Without hesitation, they dole out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for these camps or schools, which are often run by or feature a guest appearance of a fourth-line grinder or middle reliever who you may have heard of because they had a “cup of coffee” in the NHL or Major Leagues.
Here’s something to think about; if you were an aspiring golfer, how much would you pay to spend a few days on the course with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy? How would you like to take batting practice with Jose Bautista and the rest of the A.L. All-stars? That would be cool! Say you’re a Vancouver kid who had the chance to practice and play with the Canucks? What if Jarome Iginla or some of the Oilers’ young prospects invited you out for a skate? Minor hockey players in Manitoba or eastern Canada would jump at the chance to work with Jets, Sens or Habs players. Imagine the thrill a Toronto kid could have by meeting a superstar from the hometown Leafs- Okay, bad example there, but you get the picture.
Pro athletes in other sports charge exorbitant amounts of money for personal appearances at events such as fantasy camps or schools.
One of the great things about our sport is the access to our greatest players. Not only do many of our game’s best players, past and present, volunteer each week with their local YBC programs, but many also donate their time and efforts to attend the Bowling Schools across the country. In many cases, our instructors and Pros use their summer vacation time to offer their expertise and experience at these schools.
There are several schools that operate across the country and the costs vary depending on the duration, the amenities offered and the region in which the school presides. (I apologize in advance if I have missed or excluded a school. If this is the case, please feel free to add links or information.)
Bowling Federation of Alberta Summer Youth Bowling Camp
Based in Calgary, this camp will run from August 9th-12th this year. With a 4-1 ratio of students to coaches, the school offers video analysis, guest speakers, mini competitions, group discussions, “ask the pros” sessions and on-lane work. The $275 registration fee includes accommodations, all meals, transportation to and from Camp functions and lineage. Check out for more information.
27th Annual Saskatchewan Youth Bowling School
The Saskatchewan school also operates from August 9th-12th, at Eastview Bowl in Saskatoon. The concept of “school” is used, as the focus here is all about learning, both for the student athletes and the instructors. Offering an impressive curriculum delivered by some of the country’s best players and coaches, the registration fee is $415 with accommodation, and $350 without. The school also offers a “day school” for students aged 10-12 for a cost of $125. Contact for information and registration forms.
British Columbia Youth Bowling School
This school based in Surrey, runs from July 13th-15th. Students aged 12-18 may apply to the school, with graduating Seniors also being considered if spots are available. This 3-day event includes video analysis, classroom and on-lane instruction and costs $280 including accommodations, books and meals. An adult school and an instructor school is also run in conjunction with the B.C. Youth School. Information can be found at or by emailing
O5PBA/YBC Bowling School
The O5 School operates at Sherwood Centre and McMaster University in Hamilton, and runs from July 19th -22nd. The $550 fee includes accommodation, all meals, drinks and snacks, as well as busing from the university to the lanes. Each group of 4 students is teamed with 1 Instructor and 1 Pro. Along with the teaching and comprehensive evaluation and instruction, there are a number of tournaments and skill competitions held within the school, with students having a chance to compete with and against the Pros. With awards for scratch and POA play as well as All-Star team selections based on a number of criteria including sportsmanship, the school caters to YBC bowlers of all averages. Applications and information can be found at
In addition to the schools mentioned above, Stephan Beauchamp attended the O5 Bowling School last year as an observer on behalf of the folks from Quebec, and plans are in the works to include students and staff from Quebec at this year’s school in Hamilton. Hopefully, Stephan and the people in Quebec are able to bring a school to their province in the near future.
Also, Tom Paterson (who is instrumental in the Saskatchewan and B.C. schools and many other ventures, but was adamant that this feature be about the schools and NOT him- sorry Tom) is working with the fine people of Newfoundland and they hope to get a school of their own off the ground in the very near future.
Again, try to find another sport where over 40 of the game’s elite coaches and players are willing to use up some of their holidays to spend 4 days in a bowling centre to help kids hone their own skills- What a great concept!
Let’s continue to work together to grow this great game!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Coaching Course - Gerry Farrell

In an effort to try to help the existing level 1 coaches upgrade to the new community coach, they need to get the ethics portion of the new Community Coach Course. I would like to put a few dates out there for the existing coaches in our zone to pick from and then hold as many sessions on that date as is needed. The dates I have available are April 15th, 22nd and May 20. All of the current level 1 coaches will no longer keep their level without the upgrade. They will expire on Dec. 31, 2013. I can also hold full courses but we need to get at least 10 people for either of the courses. All responses should be directed to my email address or to Terry at As soon as I have a concensus on the day that will be chosen I will send everyone a response with session times.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Coke Classic Review - Tom Paterson

The tour events bring together most of the very best in the game.  Those progressing through the event are tested not just by their opponent but also by the passage of time and the number of games played. Thirty games and 9 hours later Jordon Schuss wins the event, defeating Nick Utley (fellow Surrey bowler). Also both may very well be the youngest of the qualifiers. It is fitting that our top qualifier also wins the most matches making it through to the top 4 on the A draw and winning all his matches on the B side. In total Schuss won 8 matches. Close with 6 match wins is Mathew Turanski of Winnipeg. Utley won 5 matches. The cash flow for the final 4 ended like this; Schuss $4965, Utley $2420, Turanski $1965, Karie Kruetz $1595. Kruetz came close to repeating his 2011 win making it to the 2s,  losing to Nick Utley on the A side.
Everyone enjoys producing high scores.  The degree of scoring difficulty bowling centers offer is part of the challenge placed in front of all bowlers. Based on the scoring at this year’s coke classic it is fair to say the golden mile lanes are kinder than all others in the province, and probably challenges Callingwood lanes in Edmonton for the distinction of least difficult in western Canada.  Over the course of the past 6 years the final qualifying average has been above the 260 mark four of six years.  Most notably 2011 and 2012 Q averages were 266 and 268 respectively.
Other quirky facts; the 2012 classic smashed the record for total number of entries (including repeat entries) with 177. Eleven individuals qualified for the first time, this too is a record.  Ninety-one entries averaged 250 or better. Twenty-nine of the entries averaged over 260 and did not qualify! Only eleven entries averaged under 220! There was no survey, no request for information, but of the thirty-two qualifiers over a dozen were thirty years of age or younger. Of the qualifiers 5 were Ontarian’s Mike Herbert (290 Q average), Brandon Rogers (278), Mitch Davies (271), and John Degrasia (268). Davies won 4 matches, and Herbert won 2 matches. Three qualifiers were from B.C., Nick Allen(271), Nick Utley (291), and Jordon Schuss (top Q – 299). Saskatchewan won the sweeps for most bowlers qualifying with thirteen. Alberta placed 7 into the top thirty-two and Manitoba bowlers placed 4 into the top thirty-two. Three of the qualifiers took full advantage of each Q shift, entering all three. Who they are will remain secret J. One of Alberta’s hottest bowlers, Mark Johnstone, made it to the 4s before running into Turanski.
Mike Seavers won the consolation (996) also winning the last Q spot, and stretched his winning to the 8’s of the B side. Regina’s Jordan Rachar fresh from YBC finished second in the consolation just 40 pins shy of winning the thirty-second Q spot (951).
Qualifying shift number one was full of statement making. Kevin Clark continued his success in the tournament with a top shift one qualifying 291 average. Saskatoon’s Adam Martin and his simplistic smooth form provided the support for a solid 285 qualifying average. Brad Moens, averaging 284, recaptured the mental and physical skill set that has set him apart from many. Alberta’s teenage bowling phenom Jenn Baker qualified with a 271 average, and made it to the 4s of the B side before losing to eventual champion Schuss.
During the second round of qualifying Saskatoon bowlers Glenn Tarasoff and Julie Bayne qualified in the top 10. The overall leader after all the qualifying was completed was Jordon Schuss of Surrey, BC averaging 299. Had he not rolled 233 in his last game his average for 8 games would have been 310. Saskatoon bowlers qualifying were; Adam Martin (285), Kevin Rak (275), Glenn Tarasoff (273), Julie Bayne (272). Saskatchewan’s best run involved brothers Doug and Kevin Clark, Brad Moens, and Adam Martin all making it to the 8’s of the A or B draw. Notable non qualifiers for 2012 include Crystal Hiibner and Jenn Clark (top 8 finish in 2011), and Cordell Galbecka (champion in 2010).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roger Davies rolls into bowling hall of fame

Article by

OSHAWA -- As Roger Davies points out, fivepin bowling is a sport someone can play and enjoy from about the age of four to the age of 94.
Mind you, there are only so many years in between where one can play to the level Davies did from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, and he happened to do so well enough to earn induction into the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers' Association hall of fame for 2011.

It's an honour that ranks right up there for the Oshawa native, who is 62 this month.

"Every competitive bowler strives to win Ontario championships and national championships, and other than my national win in 1982 in the men's singles competition, being inducted into the hall of fame in Ontario, you can't get much better than that," says Davies, now living in Courtice with wife, Gloria.

Davies was able to enjoy the induction gala in Hamilton with his wife, mother, sister and many friends in the bowling community, although sadly without former Oshawa neighbour Bert Harding, who taught Davies pretty much everything he knew about the sport, but died some years ago.

Starting out under the guidance of Harding at the lanes in the basement of the Oshawa Centre, Davies quickly moved up the ranks from his beginnings with the Youth Bowling Council.

He won his first YBC Majors tournament in 1977, earning $350 on lanes constructed solely for use at the Canadian National Exhibition.

Over his career, Davies qualified 27 times for provincial championships, including 14 times on the men's team, eight as singles representative, 10 on the mixed team and three as a senior.

At his peak, he bowled in six major leagues a week and also participated in local sweeps at Oshawa's Motor City Bowl.

All that time on the lanes paid off with three provincial titles, including a men's single championship in 1982, which he then parlayed into the national title.

Competing in Calgary, Davies started slowly, but made some adjustments and ultimately defeated Doug Mosdell in a televised final 258-245, making him just the third Ontario bowler to win the Canadian title in the 18 years of the event.

Although he remained active and won several tournaments in masters' bowling for years, with an average score of 251 over 704 games from 1980 to 1991, a heart attack in 1995 curtailed his bowling career and he retired from the sport for four years.

He's back at it now, but not nearly as often as before and no longer competitively.

"My mind and my heart say yes, and my body says, nah, I don't think so," says Davies, who retired as a financial analyst from General Motors in 2008. "As you get older, it gets a little more difficult, but I enjoy playing in some tournaments.

"It's more of a social thing for me," adds Davies, who plays in a Thursday league at North End Bowl in Oshawa. "I get to play with and see people I've known for 30 or 40 years, which is nice."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Steve Barker's 23 Questions with Mark Johnstone

23 Questions with Mark Johnstone

Wow, what a busy and exciting time the last few weeks have been across the country. The schedule has been packed with Youth Challenge Provincials and 4-Steps to Stardom Zone finals for our youth bowlers, and Open Zone/Provincial Qualifiers, cash events and Masters Tournaments across the land for the adults. Thankfully in this age of instant information, results of these events can be found easily through Twitter, Facebook, local and Provincial websites or other great resources such as Jeff’s blog site here, or on Karie Kreutz’s

Great scores and stories were reported from all over the country, but a couple of individuals from the Edmonton Open qualifier really stand out. For the ladies, Annette Campbell threw 2921 for her last 10 (a local record!) to lead the women for the 20 game block.
On the men’s side, Mark Johnstone’s remarkable performance leads us into today’s “23 Questions” feature. Sitting in 6th place after the first 10, Mark turned in an incredible last 3 games of 355, 398 and 405 (that’s 1158!) to finish with 3106 for his final 10 to become top qualifier.

For “Johnny”, throwing monster scores is certainly no fluke. In December of 2006 he rattled off an astounding 5 game score of 1767, which featured one of his two career perfect games, and 23 strikes in a row! For this feat, he was named Global TV’s Elite Athlete of the Week and the feature and interview are available on YouTube (Search “Mark J Bowling Interview”).

In the decade since Mark’s rookie year at the Open Nationals in 2003 in Surrey, where his Alberta team won Men’s team Gold (defeating my Southern Ontario team in the final), “Johnny” has set the National standard for excellence in our game! His list of accomplishments includes winning the 2011 TPC at Callingwood, 2009 TSN Championship and being the 2011 Alberta Masters Singles Champion.

Just 30 years old, and already a veteran of numerous Canadian Championship appearances, Mark has won 5 combined National Men’s team Gold Medals between the Open and Masters!
When Jeff Young and I originally discussed the idea of “23 Questions”, Mark was one of the people on our “short list” of potential interviewees.
Here is my discussion with one of the absolute best players in all the land:
When did your bowling career start?

I believe I started at about 12, so 18-19 years ago.
To gauge an idea of your progress, what was your average in your First year of Senior?

It was probably around 200.
What was your average in your LAST year of Senior?

In my last year of Senior, it was 248.
Was anyone instrumental in your YBC development?

My coach was Robert Gallagher from Wetaskiwin where I grew up until I was 21, as well as Geno Ziebarth.
What do you use for a target?

I look at the pins on my first ball. It’s all about feel for me. I use the arrows for my spares and for cleaning up wood.

As a coach, I sometimes have trouble working with bowlers who bowl by feel like you do. For those who use arrows, a tiny change in target or starting position can be an easy fix, but since you don’t use a specific fixed target, how do YOU adjust if you are punching a lot of Headpins or if you are “just” missing?

Sometimes when I am punching HP’s, it’s because I’m not getting the ball out on the lane enough or I am getting too low. I know I am not throwing a great ball so there is no sense in changing anything.
There are also those moments when it feels great and I am still punching. I am sure we can all attest to that. Sometimes I move up, back, left or right depending on the lane conditions. I also pay attention to the other bowlers who are getting strikes and try a similar line. Or maybe just a ball change to one that has more or less movement. That’s when understanding the conditions in warm-up pays off. Have a couple different shots in your back pocket for times like these.

Do you aim for a specific pocket or just try to hit the headpin?

When I am throwing well, left or right pocket works. Sometimes if hitting the middle at a high percentage gives me Headpin problems, I will try to hit a specific pocket.
Have you noticed a major difference in lane or pin-fall conditions from west-to-east or from Province-to-Province?

I couldn’t say that one province is better than the next in pin-fall. In my mind, the higher scoring centres do a better job on maintenance and consistency in conditions.
What is your favourite lane condition set-up and what are some of the differences?

I like freefall, even though I’ve only bowled on it a few times. (Note: Interviewer now feeling really old!)
I prefer wood lanes. I find the natural break of the ball is better. Not too oily/wet so the ball can break. I think this makes for better pin action.
Synthetic lanes tend to slide a bit. The good thing about synthetic lanes is that the approaches are consistent and smooth.
I think that the new pin bases are also great for this game, as it seems to me scores are better across the board.
What are some of your favourite bowling centres?

Callingwood Lanes is a place that I bowl very well at. I also enjoy Dakota Lanes in Winnipeg, Heritage Lanes in Red Deer, Scottsdale Lanes in B.C. and Golden Mile in Regina.
How many league games do you play every week?

I play 8 games per week. 5 in a match play league on Wednesday and 3 in a fun league on Thursday.

A fun league?

Yeah, I need a break from the serious parts of the game.
Do you practice regularly?

I don’t practice as much as I used to. I used to practice at least once more per week and I tried to bowl a lot of scratch and handicap tourneys in the area.
I tend to use a lot of the warm-up time before league/tournaments to experiment with things. If I need some extra practice, I will go in and throw some balls.
Do you practice to prepare for major tournaments? (If so, what do you work on?)

If I make Nationals, I will practice at least once a week prior to the tournament, because league is done by that time. You need to stay sharp mentally and physically.
Just recently for the Open, I went in and did some extra practice, mainly because I had been punching a lot in previous weeks. I was experimenting with an outside line to reduce the Headpins. I have a back-up, so I was focusing on getting the ball out to the left and letting it come back and maybe get a few thin strikes.

At what age, did your career really take off?

I would say in 2007 when I was 25 years old. I started having success in Open, Masters, cash tournaments and TSN. It’s taken off a bit more the last couple years.

Who was instrumental in your adult bowling development?

I would have to say that the one person who has helped me get to the next level other than Robert and Geno, would be Lynn Howell. Even though we have had our share of differences,  he has helped me with my bowing especially and with life in general.
I also want to mention the support I’ve gotten from my girlfriend, Jen Baldwin. Over the last 3 years she has been there every step of the way. She keeps me on the straight and narrow, I guess. Also, her Dad Gil Baldwin has been flying all over Canada to cheer us on!
In a hotbed such as Edmonton, was there an “awe factor” competing against, or teaming with, legendary players such as Bruce Morter, Lynn Howell, etc, when you were younger?

I really didn’t know Bruce or Lynn too much until I moved to Edmonton in 2002. Geno used to talk about them quite a bit. It was more a thrill for me watching Mark Jackson and Geno as they bowled in Wetaskiwin where I grew up.
They have so many stories and experiences, that you could listen to them for hours. I feel honoured to have had a chance to bowl and “medal” with so many greats; Geno Ziebarth, Lynn Howell, Bruce Morter, Mark Jackson, Tom Stevenson, etc. There’s just too many to mention!
I have learned a great deal of things by watching and listening to all these guys, on and off the lanes.
As mentioned above in your profile, you have the ability to throw a number of monster games in a row. How do you stay in the moment and remain calm when throwing a number of huge games consecutively?

I think the main thing is to try not to get too worked up emotionally and caught up in the moment. I would take one ball at a time. The only thing that I have to be concerned about is keeping my ROUTINE and throwing a strike. Taking a deep breath before my approach helps keep me calm.
When you are throwing well, you don’t have to think! It just comes naturally. If only it would be like that all the time.
I have noticed at National Tournaments and cash events that people tend to lose energy and become tired due to the high level of intensity. It’s pretty hard to be fired up all the time for 3 or 4 days! You need to pick your spots.
Are you always aware of your own scores (individual game or totals) or do you try not to look at them? 

This is a tough one, as each situation could be different. When it comes to the Open and team totals, I need to know the scores as I usually play “anchor”. I would rather know if I need a 28 count or a strike or spare.
When it comes to cash tournaments/Open trials/Masters, I usually set a goal for myself so I know where I am in my head and where I need to be. Making cuts and throwing a “keeper” score for Masters are my goals, not the place I finish. Don’t get me wrong though, I always want to win!!

In a match or tournament, do you watch your opponents and/or their scores?

In match play, I tend to do better when I am not looking at my scores or my opponent’s score. I know in my head that all I can control is what I can do on the lanes and that is to throw a strike. When it’s getting close, again I need to know what I need.
I believe that a bowler should always be aware of his/her scores. I think it helps the next time you are in the same situation. (What did I do last time? What can I do differently next time?)
Watching other bowlers in situations has always helped my game. I say to myself, “What is that guy doing to be successful? What type of ball is he throwing? What line is working? Does he throw hard or slow? How does he handle himself in certain situations?”
Okay, with perfect games, enormous totals, National Championships and tournament wins to choose from, do any of your accomplishments stand out above the rest?

Well that is a tough question. I would have to say that Masters Nationals Gold in Saskatoon 2009 sticks out in my mind. I had a chance to play with a team from my childhood as all 5 of us (Geno Ziebarth, Gary Baird, Karie Kreutz, Victor Fobert and Coach Lynn Howell) were from the Central Zone in Alberta.
Although it wasn’t televised, Gold at the 2009 TSN was special as it was my first major singles win.
23 strikes in a row, with 1511 for 4 and 1767 for 5 is a stats accomplishment that I am proud of.
All the friends I have made over the years from this sport that I love!
You’ve accomplished more than the majority of players out there would even dream of, but what’s still left on your bowling “bucket list”?

Open and Masters National Singles titles! I was 2nd in Open singles in 2010 and would like some redemption!
I just won my first cash tourney and would like to win a few more of those. I always tell myself anyone can win one, but not everyone can win two or more.
And finally, what piece of advice would you give to an aspiring bowler who wants to improve their game?

Don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!! You get to a point in your career where the help no longer comes to you! You have to seek it out.
Be open to new things and be open to feedback.
The #1 thing that can help you is to establish your muscle memory. In order to do that you need to Practice, Practice, and Practice!! The more games the better. I used to practice corner pins, then chop- offs, then hitting the middle, hundreds of balls over and over. Bowling is about repetition!
Just simply BOWL!

Thanks Mark! We appreciate your time and good luck to you and everyone competing at the upcoming Coca Cola Classic in Regina!

Thanks, and can I add one more thing?
I just wanted to say thanks to those out there who are trying to better the game. The “Jeff Young Blog”, 5PinUniverse, Club Tour in Ontario, Western Canadian Cash tour, we as bowlers are the only ones who can build this game and I believe we are taking steps in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coke Classic Ready to Go – by Tom Paterson

Every fourth weekend in February one of the best run bowling centers in the country welcomes Canada’s elite players for what looks to the outsider to be very much like a Vegas extravaganza. The establishment sets the bar high regarding its service and attention to detail and for this particular weekend the show includes talented bowlers, glitz, glamour, money, and copious amounts of fire water.
In a short 5 year span The Coke Classic held in Regina holds the distinct pleasure of gaining the largest draw of participants.  In a tournament where an individual may re-enter the qualifying round as many as 3 times entry totals quickly add up. Here is the deceptive part. Over the past 5 years 774 individual attempts have been taken in attempting to reach the top thirty –two championship spots. Of those 750 plus a scant eighty-six bowlers have advanced to match play. True to Vegas style those odds seem to favour the house, with Regina bowlers tapping into the bigger payday of the final, four of the past five years. Saskatchewan bowlers outside of Regina have also done alright for themselves, capturing with Regina on average just over half of the annual thirty-two qualifying spots.
Who has the stickiest fingers for the high stakes money bowling? Kevin Clark of Regina holds the distinction of being top qualifier two consecutive years with 2009 leading to a qualifying record average of 308. Clark has finished as high as second in 2008. Older brother Doug finished second in 2007 and currently carries Regina’s high average at 282. Geno Ziebarth is one of only 2 individuals to qualify each and every year. The other individual is Mark Johnstone.  Both are from Alberta.  Ziebarth has qualified in the top ten 3 times, and has become the eventual champion twice (2008, 2009). Adam Weber is a constant threat in virtually all tournaments he participates in. Weber has been a national singles champion, team champion and multiple champion on the Western Canadian tour. Manitoba’s lead representative has got to be Cordell Galbecka. Galbecka has qualified four of five times and been in the top eight twice, winning the main event in 2010. Other big fish include Regina’s Brad Moens. Moens is the current Master Bowler’s National Singles champion and has made the cut eighty percent of the time finishing in the top eight in 2010. Lonny Akers from Prince Albert has led qualifiers and finished top eight.  Probably the oldest competitor in the group has been Saskatoon’s Don Rak. Rak has represented the old guard very well. He qualified three times and made the top 8 in 2010.
A cluster of eight women have made the top thirty-two over the past five years.  The 2011 Championship featured the first 2 women to make the top 8. Crystal Orenchuk, the second seed in 2011 and Jennifer Clark. As a bonus both reside in Regina. In 2011 Karrie Kreutz stole most of the thunder coming up both A and B sides of the draw before dropping one spot at the eights. A scant nine games later Kreutz would move in for the kill shot defeating Regina’s Jeff Hiibner.  
The 2012 edition will again dominate with a full slate of competitors.  Qualifying begins Friday Feb. 24. Entries have always surpassed their expected payout which always leads to greater cash pay outs to its qualifying participants. In 2011 just over $44,000 was distributed during the event.  Entry fee is $180. Shift times include Friday Feb. 24 at 1pm and Saturday Feb. 25 at 8:30am and 1:30pm.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Five Keys to Success For Athlete, Coach, Proprietor, & YBC Program - Tom Paterson

Athletes and Performance

1. Stay in the Present
2. Feed Your Determination
3. Ignore the Opposition
4. Ignore the Score
5. Expect the Best, Prepare for the Rest

The Coach Role Pre-tournament

1. Listen
2. Communicate with Genuine Interest
3. Nurture Athlete Strengths
4. Develop Reflective Independent Thinkers
5. Encourage Athlete Growth in the Tough Areas

The Coach Role During the Tournament

1. Recognize and acknowledge everyone sets out to be successful
2. Be Consistent
3. Be Diligent
4. Accountability Counts

Coach Role Post Tournament

1. Organize a time and place to unwind
2. Genuine Acknowledgment of individual and team contributions
3. Invite Reflection On Self Improvement
4. Give thanks for your selection as coach
5. Remain upbeat and positive

Proprietor Service

1. Welcome Your Guests – the Bowlers – to Your Centre
2. Brainstorm How Many Ways You Can Provide Prompt Service
3. Educate Your Staff – So That They Can Provide Optimal Service
4. Keep the Pin & Scoring Systems Operating at Peak Performance
5. Keep Your Center Spotless

Y.B.C. Programs

1. Actively Seek Volunteers
2. Treasure Volunteers
3. Reward Volunteers
4. Invest in the Learning Opportunities of Your Instructors/Coaches
5. Make Instruction Available and Accessible at Times That Work for the Y.B.C. Bowler

Friday, February 3, 2012

Special Olympian scores perfect five-pin bowling game Jan. 17

Story courtesy Nathaniel Flynn - The Guardian PEI

Only a few people on Prince Edward Island have ever scored a perfect bowling game.

Well, add Jamie Trowsdale to the list.

Trowsdale, 36, scored 450 in five-pin bowling at Murphy’s Community Centre earlier this month. The closest he had before was 439.

Trowsdale, one of P.E.I.’s top Special Olympians, has won a national gold medal in softball, and was in track-and-field and swimming before taking up bowling.

“It’s something to do, pass the time and all that,” Trowsdale said in an interview.

He was a member of the Canada East team which won a medal in the world Special Olympics softball championships in Athens, Greece last June but was unable to go because his mother was seriously ill.

On his big bowling day this month, Trowsdale was rolling a game on his own, and started with a strike. He kept getting strikes one after another.

Coach Ricky Burns arrived after Trowsdale’s game while Burns’s daughter verified the score. Burns shook Trowsdale’s hand.

The regular bowling team on Thursdays rarely reaches scores of 400, Burns said in an interview this week.

“To roll a 450, that’s something else.”

In his 50 years of bowling, Burns said he has only seen six or seven perfect games.

Charity Sheehan, director of Special Olympics P.E.I., said she saw Trowsdale get close before.
Trowsdale’s score showcases the ability of their athletes, Sheehan said.

“We’re pretty excited that it was one of our athletes that scored the perfect game.”

Trowsdale will be playing in a qualifier in 2013 for a chance to be in the nationals in 2014.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Club Tour Results

This past weekend, the second and final Club Tour event was bowled at NEBs Funworld in Oshawa Ontario. With 95 entries in this event, it could be considered a great success for competitive bowling in Ontario, showing that many are willing to pony up the entry fee for a chance at the guaranteed $4000 top prize.

With the increased participation at this stop, we saw at total of 24 bowlers advancing to the playoff round, bowled Sunday afternoon. The 24th position carried a score of 2050 for the 8 games, rounding out to an average of just over 256. Some great games were bowled during the qualifying including a 418 by Marc Goneau and a 399 game bowled by Maryland resident Bernie Hipkins. (We assume it's the highest single by an American bowler)

When all the dust settled, we were left with Marc Goulet of Hamilton crowned champion and winner of the $4000, defeating the experienced Paul Asselin. Congrats go to all the winners and participants in this event. I think it's safe to say that with this years Club Tour success, there will be more events in the future, with the possibility of more tour stops next year on top of the 2 that exist now.

Thanks goes out to Tom and Jeff England and Gord McLeod for hosting the two stops and for their hard work in making this Tour a success, as well as the volunteers that helped in various aspects.

I am planning to also list some of the qualifications for The Open from various provinces that were played this past weekend as well. As I get the members of each team, I will put them up in a blog hopefully before the end of the week.

Jeff Young

Monday, January 23, 2012

Knowing Your Enemy - Steve Barker

Knowing your Enemy
If you were to ask anyone who has been around this game for a long time what the most rewarding gift they’ve gotten out of 5 Pin is, one of the first two answers you will almost always receive back is the people they’ve met and the friends they’ve made.
For those who play competitively, great friends can actually start out as rivals.
This particular time of the bowling season often introduces our YBC bowlers to a strange (to them) situation, where they are teammates of other bowlers one week and rivals the next.  Here in Southern Ontario, the schedule has the Youth Challenge Provincials one week and the 4 Steps to Stardom Zone finals occurring the following week. This means that the same people that they are cheering with and for one week will soon be the competition.
Many of us coach Youth Challenge teams consisting of bowlers from competing YBC houses. For bowlers who are successful at the Youth Challenge Provincials, they could be teammates one week, competitors the next, and then Winter Games teammates again after that! The same goes for coaches. The kids we are coaching one week are often the competition the next.
Anyone who has played the game for any length of time at all has had to compete against a friend.
This is a concept that the adults learn to deal with relatively quickly. The majority of people can handle it. I’ve always tried to remember that my competitor wants to win as badly as I do, and that it is not personal. It has been my experience that men have fewer issues in this regard than women. Even if issues do arise, guys usually have their say, or battle over it briefly, then discuss it amicably over a beer. (Some) Women tend to let issues linger.
Sometimes, it even means playing against one of your best friends at the Open Provincials. When I was a member of the winning Ontario Durham Men’s team, one of the teams in the finals was 1000 Lakes (now Kawartha). This meant playing against Iain MacLean, who I’d been close friends with since meeting in YBC. Their team also consisted of three other guys who travelled from Lindsay each week to play in our league in Oshawa. In addition to that, five or six of us from those two teams combined to play in most of the team tournaments that were commonplace back then. In cases like this, everyone involved has to go all-out to win and you can’t worry about feeling guilty if you come out on top.
There are instances where outside influences can make a friendly rivalry turn ugly.
In my YBC days, there was a sometimes nasty rivalry between my centre (Motor City) and the other house (Oshawa Lanes) in town. And both places were owned by the same family!! (The Englands, who later closed both and opened North End Bowl/Neb’s Fun World). This was around the period where YBC allowed Seniors to bowl in more than one program, so many of us bowled both Fridays at Motor City and Saturdays at Oshawa Lanes. We represented our own centre for the 4 Steps to Stardom, but combined to play some open team tournaments. Many people within our YBC programs didn’t like this and got very vocal in supporting their own. They failed to realize that we were friends outside of bowling, and it was more social than manipulative. When we competed against each other in tournaments, we understood that both sides were trying to win.
Another situation that can arise is playing against a sibling. In my “23 Questions” article with Jeff Young, he talks about competing for Open positions with his brother, John.
Jeff also experienced a bitter rivalry between bowling centres, and in the interview talks of the hostility between Mountain Lanes and Sherwood Centre in Hamilton. Most issues like these usually involve coaches who want to put their stamp on their bowler, and these people need to get over themselves!
Okay, getting back to present day…
How can you bowl with someone one week and against them the next, you ask?
For starters, ask yourself,” what is the goal at hand and what is my best way to achieve it”? If you are on the same team, then you have to work together in order to be successful. It’s the same as if you are on the same squad as someone that you may not be particularly fond of. (Many of us have been there). You just have to suck it up! And when you are competing against each other, the same thing, just remember that each of you wants to win! In the long run you will make each other better.
It’s important that you always play hard, but be a good sport and don’t go out of your way to make enemies because you never know when you’ll be on the same team!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Club Tour Jan 28/29 at NEBs in Oshawa Ontario

After a very successful first Club Tour tournament at Stellar Lanes in Newmarket in November, it's back again! This time, the event is being held at the Tour's home centre, NEB's Funworld in Oshawa Ontario January 28-29.

Once again, there will be $4000 put up guaranteed for first prize, and with already 60 entries, this promises to be another marquee tournament for the competitive bowler. Much like the Stellar format, there will be an 8 game qualifier to be bowled either Saturday January 28 11:30am registration Noon start or Sunday January 29 8:30am registration 9:00am start. Entry fee is once again $150.00 for the first try. If you play the first qualifier and choose to try again to better your chances the Sunday shift, then it will cost you $75 to play the second time. Playoffs will stay single elimination, as they were at the first stop.

For those who haven't had the opportunity to check out NEB's then this is the perfect opportunity. A virtual amusement park inside a bowling alley, our scores will be shown on 55" screens, and features everything state of the art and if last week's scores from the Year End Classic Masters tournament are any indication, the scoring will match NEBs' superior technology.

Anyone looking to register, call (905)723-2631 and ask for Club Tour registration, or email to get your prefered shift.

Jeff Young

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Help! By Steve Barker

Many of our current competitive players grew up in an era of YBC where there was no shortage of quality coaches to guide us. It was especially true in the days before automatic scoring, and particularly in the younger divisions where we also had parents and volunteers who were helping by keeping score.
Today, kids can still get fine instruction in the YBC and have other options such as the Bowling Schools that are run around the country. I’ll delve deeper into those in the near future, but today wanted to look at the options that adults have in getting help with their game.
If you watch other individual Pro sports, you’ll notice that tennis players have a coach sitting in the box with their family and friends, and golfers usually have a swing coach with them on the range before a round. These two sports also offer all sorts of lessons for the amateur player.  
For the social league bowler, the thought of having a coach or getting instruction is likely foreign to them unless they qualify for the “Holiday Classic” or some other tournament. For the average bowler who may possibly be looking for help to improve their game, they may not know where to look and may not know how easy it could be to get that help.
If you happen to fall under this category, I would suggest that you speak to your proprietor about soliciting some assistance, or you could simply contact any one of the people on here who may be in your area. There is also some material online that could offer some good suggestions. For instance, Tom Paterson, from Saskatchewan has written books on the subject and also has lots of tips available at
If you are a lifetime bowler who is looking for help with your game, one of the drawbacks will be that you have many years of muscle memory built into your arm swing and approach, so physical changes could be difficult.
A couple simple things that could help your form would simply be making sure your approach is controlled and balanced and that you are relaxed and “square” in your initial setup.  If you are unbalanced and twisted before you start, there is no chance of being straight and balanced through your shot. Also, as in any sport, make sure you FOLLOW THROUGH. And if you look at the pins when you throw, try using the arrows to line up your shot as it is much easier to hit a target 15 feet from the foul line rather than 60 feet. Simply picture in your mind where you want your ball to go down the lane and line yourself up accordingly. The final “physical” thing you can do to improve your game is to use video. Nowadays it’s very simple to record yourself, even using a cell phone, and once you’ve seen how you actually deliver the ball, flaws are easier to feel and fix.
Physical changes aside, there is still one very simple way to improve your game. Just understand that 5 Pin is a challenging game and you do not need to rely on strikes to score well. Limit the pins you leave on the deck and make your spares and your average will improve.
For the competitive player, you are only assigned a coach for events as the Masters Nationals and the Open. It’s always interesting to see how other tournament players practice and what resources we use in individual competition.
Many players have one or two people that they can rely on when they are struggling. Oftentimes it is a spectator on fellow competitor who may know the bowler’s game very well.  This seemed to be common at the recent Masters Tournament in Oshawa, Ontario. I also noticed that many bowlers also had parents on hand to lend technical and moral support.
It can be beneficial to have someone to talk to when things are going badly. A major reason that I was able to hang onto a spot at last month’s Open Zone finals was because of some advice and reassurance I received from John Honeyford. In the 19th game, I was “all over the place” and had 70 in the fifth frame. Since it didn’t seem like I’d get my timing and mechanical issues sorted out, I was considering an extreme move (about 17 boards to the right) on the approach to throw a line that might work with my newfound (yet unwanted) technique. I pitched my idea to John to get his opinion and he gave it the thumbs up with some encouraging words to boot! I threw 4 strikes in a row and finished with a 253 and went on to have a decent final game as well. Having that extra person to lean on for advice or a vote of confidence can make a huge difference.
One of the things that will help all bowlers is to learn your own game and your tendencies so that you are not reliant on just one or two people to help. Instead of being “lost” up there, you will be able to self- diagnose issues more quickly. Plus, it’s easier to ask someone to watch for something specific in your delivery rather than simply saying, “What am I doing wrong”?
As I’ve always said, the cool thing about this game is that while there are some standards out there that will help, there are many ways to hit those 5 white objects with that little round projectile.
I hope that some of the tips offered were helpful and I encourage others to debate or add some of their own. But the most important piece of advice I can offer to bowlers out there looking for help is “Don’t be afraid to ask”! And unlike the “PROs” at your local Golf or Tennis club, our lessons are FREE!
* I would also like to congratulate Oshawa’s Mike Herbert for his incredible performance at the recent MBAO event held at Neb’s Fun World. In the 12 game qualifying, Mike finished with a remarkable 3822 total. His 6 games during the first day were 396, 333, 400 (an 1129 Triple), 310 (1439), 350 (1789 for 5!!) and 253 for 2042 total. Congrats to Mike and also to the eventual winning Triples team of Brad Rowland, Les Ham and Brenda Walters! For Brenda, her win was an astounding and record-setting 17th Tournament Victory!! Congrats!

Steve Barker

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New 5pin App available!

Recently, there was a new addition to the world of Apps, a steady growing world that seems to help us survive the world. A helpful 5pin App, created by Darcy Schultz of Calgary Alberta was released to us bowling tech geeks. The app gives you the ability to track your scores in practice, league and tournament play.

Schultz was kind enough to take some time out to talk about his invention, and to let everyone know that there are more features in the works. "My original intention was to spend some spare time to provide something for my son and learn a thing or two about iPhone development. I have rapidly discovered that it seems to be something that other people seemed to have wanted too. That's fantastic. The community has been pretty open and welcoming. That's been a very good thing." he explains, adding that there has been a flood of requests from it's current users already. "I've received some enthusiastic response from some of the early adopters. In the next version of the application I would like to add the ability to provide game and frame statistics to the bowler in order to support their desire to improve their game."

Feature requests that may become available in the future include,
Hit Percentage
Pins Left On The Deck
Specific Spare Percentage

If you are interested in downloading this App, you can do so simply from here:

And the support page link:

The App is set up for IOS 5.0 so you may require some upgrading, but for someone looking for a great tool to improve their knowledge of their game and their strengths and weaknesses, this will be well worth it. Be sure to look for updates in the future and if you happen to see Darcy around the Calgary area, don't be afraid to thank him for his great work. It's ideas like this that will continue to make us better, and more educated on what happens in our game. Thanks Darcy!

Jeff Young