O'Keefe, Janawicz hope training pays off at championship of the champions


    El Salvador

    2008ShannonOKeefeStorm.jpg For Team USA's Shannon O'Keefe and John Janawicz, spending time in the gym is almost as important as getting in practice time on the lanes.

    O'Keefe (left) of Brookfield, Wis., and Janawicz of Winter Haven, Fla., spend hours working out each week to increase stamina and doing what they hope will keep them competitive on the lanes for a long time to come.

    Both players will put their training to the test at the inaugural Pan American Bowling Confederation Championship of the Champions from June 1-6 in San Salvador, El Salvador, as they hope to earn spots for Team USA in the 2009 World Games.

    "I believe my physical fitness is what has allowed me to accomplish what I have thus far," said O'Keefe, who along with Janawicz was selected by Team USA coaches to compete in the Championship of the Champions. "Because I have great stamina and I'm strong, I don't get tired. It allows me to repeat shots one after another."

    Over the years, Janawicz has ramped up his workout schedule and he said the results are starting to pay off.

    2007MAZCJohnJanawicz.jpg "Working out helps me in that I don't really get tired bowling a large number of games in a day," said Janawicz (right), who won three gold medals and one silver at the 2007 Men's American Zone Championships. "I actually get less tired bowling now than I did 10 years ago when I was just starting to workout. I feel the physical training also helps me stay focused better as the tournament wears on. There's a lot to the saying that a healthy body creates a healthy mind."

    O'Keefe's workout schedule includes Pilates, Yoga and hitting the gym for an hour and a half three days a week. Janawicz spends up to 80 minutes a day, five days a week in the gym but tries to take it easy leading up to a tournament.

    "I just make sure I don't train too hard with heavy weights right before an event," Janawicz said. "I try to back the weight down and do more reps as I get closer to competition to help avoid injury. A few years ago, I did a heavy leg workout on a Friday and went to practice the next day. My legs were so sore that when I went to slide on my first shot, I nearly fell down. My quadriceps just gave out. I remembered to never do that the day before a tournament."

    In the Championship of the Champions, both players will be tested by the best players in the American Zone. The tournament begins with 16 games over two days in the singles event and then turns to eight games of mixed doubles action. The top eight in singles and top eight mixed doubles teams will then compete in Masters competition.

    After each player has completed the 16 games in singles and eight games in mixed doubles, the combined total of 48 games is used to rank the countries to determine the top eight from the American Zone which will advance to the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei.