At one time or another, many bowlers have considered taking lessons to improve their skills and take their game to the next level. If you are going to invest time and money into your training, it is important to understand how you can get the most benefit from your lesson.
In this article, I will discuss how you can choose the type of lesson that is best for you and what to bring to your lesson. We’ll also go over some common concerns like how the right fit and ball can affect your overall game and how quickly you can see the improvement you desire.
As a coach for over 40 years, I have helped a variety of students reach their highest potential. Though each student is different, there are some common things that will help all bowlers interested in taking lessons to improve their game.
What Type of Lesson Is Best for Me?
There are many different options when it comes to bowling lessons, whether it be group lessons, individual lessons, multi-day camps, or even prep events offered to help you train for specific tournaments.
In many cases, the “best” lesson type is the one where you will feel the most comfortable and that suits your learning style.
Some bowlers prefer the privacy and focus of one-on-one coaching whereas other athletes enjoy learning in a group setting which also offers the chance to make new bowling friends. You may also look for bowling camps designed to match the format of competitive events or even ones who will feature guests such as professional bowlers or bowling ball experts who can provide valuable information.
One of the features of the Kegel Training Center that is most appreciated by bowlers is the flexibility to offer lessons in a variety of formats. Bowlers can choose from private or group lessons and they can select half or full day sessions based on their interests, skills and abilities.
In addition, the Kegel Training Center offers special clinics with reduced rates on selected Fridays during the month as well as popular multi-day clinics during the year which often include top professional bowlers such as Pete Weber, Michael Fagan, Kelly Kulick, Jason Belmonte, Wes Malott, Tommy Jones and other PBA stars.
A format that is growing in popularity is the option to take two (2) half day lessons rather than a full day session. A Kegel lesson is an intensive workout that combines on-lane performance and learning activities.
Many bowlers find that the two (2) half day sessions enable them to better digest and comprehend the on-lane skills and educational materials that they receive. Half day sessions may be scheduled from 9:00 a.m. till Noon or from 1:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m.
The half day format also offers the benefit of a less intensive workout along with the option to spend time with family and explore the entertainment options in central Florida such as Disney World, Universal Studios and Legoland which are all within easy driving distance from the Kegel Training Center.
So, no matter what your learning style or lesson preference, the Kegel Training Center is designed to be “bowler friendly” with an option to suit your needs. If, for some reason, your preference was not listed you can contact Brent Sims, Training Center Coordinator, who will be happy to put together a package to meet your individual needs.
What Do I Need to Bring to My Lesson?
While the most important thing to bring to a lesson is yourself, most people do bring their favorite equipment to the lesson. The number of bowling balls they include is usually based on the specific goals they want to achieve.
For example, someone who wants to learn more about lane play may bring several balls that are designed to match a variety of lane conditions. It is important to find out what type of pro shop may be available at the location of your lesson as you will have the opportunity to find new equipment that might be better suited for your bowling style.
At the Kegel Training Center, we have a full service pro shop staffed by some of the best pro shop professionals in the world.
When taking a lesson here, you have the option to leave your equipment at home and work with the KTC team to find new custom balls and gear when you arrive for your lesson. If you are not sure about how many bowling balls to bring, contact Kegel and one of the coaches will be glad to discuss your lesson plans and advise you on what to bring.
Do I Have The Right Fit and the Right Ball?
Another key issue that relates to the success of a lesson is making sure that the bowling athlete has a proper fit. Coaches have learned that giving a quality lesson is not possible until the athlete has a great fit.
Many times, the first part of a Kegel Training Center bowling lesson will involve time in the pro shop making changes to the grip.
Our customers have found that getting the right fit is a huge step in achieving their bowling goals. A fit that matches the unique structure and physiology of your hand is crucial for optimum performance and without a proper fit it will be difficult to achieve the goals you may set in a bowling lesson.
The Kegel Training Center freely shares fit and grip specifications with customers and local pro shops who serve our customers. Customers fit specifications are also kept on file so that we can setup, drill and ship a new ball to a customer anywhere in the world.
The coaches at the Kegel Training Center are also experts at helping players setup an arsenal of equipment and teaching players how to manage their arsenal on different lane conditions.
What Do I Need to Do During My Lesson?
When asked “What are the most important qualities that an athlete should bring to a lesson?” Gold Coach Del Warren, the Vice President of the Kegel Training Center, usually answers by emphasizing the importance of “giving your best during a lesson and being coachable”.
What does Coach Warren mean when he says, “be coachable”?
Essentially, being “coachable” means to be open to learning and willing to try new techniques. Changes that a coach may recommend to improve your game or drills to develop specific skills may not come naturally or feel totally comfortable.
It is important that you are persistent during this learning phase in order the get the most benefit from your lesson. After thousands of lessons, we have seen that the students who are the most open to learning and who make a commitment to trying the new techniques are the ones who show the most growth.
On the other hand, the skills of your coach play a big role in how “coachable” you can be as a student.
It is important to find a coach with whom you can develop a great student/coach relationship and one you can trust. You want to look for a coach who is interested in you as a bowler and who wants to understand your specific skills, challenges, and goals.
At the beginning of a lesson at the KTC, a coach will spend time in getting to know you, gathering information about your bowling history and goals, and finding out what methods of learning work best for you.
Research has shown that people learn best in a variety of ways, so at Kegel a lesson will include a combination of learning techniques such as seeing, listening, doing and feeling to help you achieve the correct technique or skill.
How Soon Will I See Improvement?
At the KTC, we aim to have our students experience improvement in their bowling during their lesson. Athletes often experience a feeling that their bowling seem “easier” with “less effort” as a result of the lessons they receive.
Every lane at the Kegel Training Center has what is called CATS (Computer Aided Tracking System) that essentially records everything that your bowling ball does at it rolls down the lane.
CATS will give you a report that shows your accuracy, consistency, ball speed, rev rate, entry angle and many other factors that will clearly show your areas of strength and area for improvement.
Your coach will review your CATS report with you, explaining every data factor in detail. In addition, your coach will capture your improvement on video and compare your technique and performance from the beginning of the lesson to you performance at the end of the session so that you can clearly see your progress.
The full benefit of a lesson usually is realized when an athlete has devoted approximately 1000 to 1500 deliveries using the new techniques learned in training.
These numbers come from sports science research which tells us that 1000 to 1500 repetitions of a new skill are required for the skill to become ingrained and for the skill to effectively replace the way the bowler was playing prior to the lesson.
Nonetheless, improvement begins during your lesson and it will gain in what we call “automaticity” as the number of repetitions increases toward the numbers listed above.
What If I Forget What My Coach Told Me?
During a lesson, you will likely receive a lot of information and tips to improve your game. To remember everything, you can take notes, involve a family member or friend who can help you remember (if allowed), or discuss with your coach what type of plan you have with them for follow-up after your lesson.
At the KTC, we welcome every student to take notes during their lesson, however, we have also developed a learning system that we believe is better than traditional note taking.
At Kegel, learning modules and videos are narrated by your coach with specific instructions on what to do so that you are clear on all the important points of your lesson. These video instructions and learning modules are then transferred onto a DVD so that each student has a take home reference of everything that was covered during the lesson.
At the KTC, you are welcome to bring family members or significant others with you to your lesson. They may simply observe your lesson, or the coach may invite them to participate in certain segments so that everyone is clear on what recommendations should be followed when you get back to your local bowling center.
In addition, the Kegel coaches will be happy to consult with your local coach to explain their recommendations and to work together to help improve your game.
If you become unclear on some part of your lesson after you leave the Kegel Training Center all you have to do is simply put your DVD into a computer or DVD player and you can review your lesson as your coach analyzes your videos and points out key aspects of your lesson including a practice plan for what you are to do after you return home.
What Is the Next Step After My Lesson?
Improving your game requires commitment. As we’ve pointed out, it takes between 1000 and 1500 repetitions to develop a new skill and create a new comfort level in performance. Thus, after your lesson is over and your return to your home bowling center, we recommend that you plan some additional practice sessions to work on the instructions given to you by your coach – the same instructions that you can refer to and see on your lesson DVD.
Many bowlers try to improve their bowling by going to their favorite bowling center and bowling a few games for score. A good practice session is defined by how well they scored. Of course, knocking down pins and scoring is the ultimate goal in bowling, however, practice should be looked upon as a special time to work on specific bowling issues to improve performance.
For example, if you coach gave you a drill to help create a straight armswing, then during your practice sessions at home you should allocate time to perform that drill. We have found that working on a single issue for five or ten minutes or five or ten shots is the most effective way to learn new skills.
Once you have done your drill, then make a note about your performance and any issues that you challenging in performing the drill. You can discuss these issues with your Kegel coach by email or by calling our toll free phone number. Your coach will also be happy to analyze a video from your smartphone or camera at no charge.
A practice session should consist of only one to three issues of focus. For example, you might work on an armswing drill, a new release hand position and a new targeting system. Each of these three areas would be addressed separately.
Once you have spent practice time working on the issues identified by your coach, then you can reward yourself by bowling a few games for score and evaluating how well you were able to perform the new techniques in a more results oriented mindset. In practice, we recommend that you focus on process and specific skill development.
Most of our Kegel Training Center customers report success and satisfaction after a lesson and make plans to return for additional training and encourage their friends to visit the Kegel Training Center.
Kegel is constantly revising our training modules and conducting research on the sport of bowling to stay on the cutting edge of the sport. The sport of bowling is never mastered in total – it is a life-long learning process even for the top players.
Kegel founder John Davis was a visionary in the bowling industry. His ideas and inventions have touched almost every bowler in the world. One of Mr. Davis’ passions was to create a premier training center where bowlers could come to improve their performance and learn the latest information about the sport of bowling.
His dream came true in 1997 when the Kegel Training Center was established and we are committed to maintaining that dream and our reputation for being “The World Leader in Bowling Education”.
Let us help you arrange your training session by contacting us at Kegeltrainingcenter.com or by calling 800-280-2695. You may also check out our upcoming events such as our popular “summer camps” by visiting our website.
By Rick Wiltse