PBA CEO: Bowling Still A 'People' Business


    Bowl Expo

    International coaching/pro shop summit concludes another successful run

    Steve_Miller_2548.jpg Coaches and pro shop employees must inspire their customers and remember that bowling is a "people" business, said Professional Bowlers Association President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Miller in his address today to coaching and pro shop professionals.

    Miller was the main speaker for today's conclusion to the 15th annual International Bowling Pro Shop and Instructors Association International Educational Conference and third annual Bowling Coaches Summit at the Wyndham Orlando Resort. Nearly 300 coaches and pro shop personnel from around the world attended the three-day event.

    "Inspiration and aspiration are two critical elements in coaching and business," said Miller, 61, a five-time National Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year. "That athlete must be inspired by something. As far as coaching is concerned, you must understand the technical aspects (of bowling). You're coaching people. You're not coaching technique."

    The former Nike executive related the idea of inspiration and aspiration to the ups and downs of the PBA Tour, which is battling to regain its once mighty popularity with the general public. The PBA as a "club" that primarily served its members was not generating excitement with the public * especially on television * like other professional sports, he said.

    "Having a membership club is neither an inspiration nor an aspiration," he said. "We're getting closer to pro sports, but it's a struggle." However, the PBA is making headway as evidenced by several statistics he displayed, including a 62 percent increase in TV household audience in the 2004-05 season versus the 2000-01 season.

    Like the PBA, coaches and pro shop employees must deal with a changing world, Miller said. "If you're doing the same dance you did five years ago, you better learn some new steps," he said. "If you live in the past, you'll miss the future."

    Miller also addressed the absence of a women's professional bowling tour. "The fact that there's not a women's tour is a travesty," he said. "Where's the inspiration and aspiration for young girls?"

    Ultimately, whether it's the business of coaching, pro shops, professional bowling, athletic shoes or any other product, it's the people in the business that matter most, Miller said. "There are no great businesses, no great jobs," he said. "There are only great people. People have an incredible capacity to got things done."

    The people in the bowling business * professional bowlers, league bowlers, coaches, pro shop personnel, proprietors and others - all have a chance to accomplish great things together, he said. "What's good for the PBA is ultimately good for bowling," he said. "We are substantively better than other sports. I think we have the opportunity to be something special."

    Miller was the last in a lineup of heavy hitters from the sport of bowling, a schedule that also included United States Bowling Congress CEO Roger Dalkin and PBA Hall of Famer Carmen Salvino.

    Other highlights from the conference's final day included:

    * USBC Sport Bowling: Director of USBC Sport Bowling and former PBA touring pro Steve Wunderlich gave an overview of the program and offered coaches and pro shop employees numerous strategies for using Sport Bowling to increase their business.

    * Tools for Coaching: USBC Coaching Gold coach Susie Minshew displayed a multitude of tools and tactics that coaches can use to help their students learn.

    Sponsored by United States Bowling Congress Coaching, IBPSIA, USBC Collegiate and USBC High School, the event included a host of informative and exciting seminars and workshops conducted by the sport's experts. The summit was held in conjunction with International Bowl Expo 2005 June 26-July 1 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

    The 16th annual IBPSIA International Educational Conference and fourth annual Bowling Coaches Summit is scheduled for Las Vegas in 2006.