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 laura@nebsfunworld.com 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 saskbowl.com.
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