There’s an old proverb that states “those who can’t do, teach,” but Mike Dias
of Lafayette, Colorado, is proving otherwise this week at the 2018 Super Senior Classic, where he paced the 184-player field through 12 games of qualifying over two days.
The 61-year-old left-hander showed his ability to teach the sport to bowlers of all ages and skill levels when he successfully completed the United States Bowling Congress’ Gold certification program in 2015, and the strike clinic he’s putting on at the Sam’s Town Bowling Center is showing his fellow competitors he’s equally skilled on the lanes.
Dias (featured photo), a Super Senior Classic first-timer, was consistent through two rounds of qualifying Thursday and Friday, posting six-game sets of 1,439 and 1,434, respectively, for a 2,873 total, a 239.42 average. He holds a 66-pin lead over fellow southpaw Skip Pavone of San Jose, California, heading into Saturday’s Cashers’ Round.
In showcasing his command of this week’s 41-foot oil pattern, Dias kept his game plan simple.
“I wanted to stay as straight as I could to keep my moves going across the center as minimal as possible,” said Dias, one of 29 active USBC Gold coaches. “That way, I didn’t have to make big moves, change zones on the lane or deal with much traffic. I just kept everything pretty simple.”
Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Mark Williams (right) of Beaumont, Texas, settled into third place after 12 games with a 2,754 total and was followed by defending Super Senior Classic champion Ron Mohr of North Las Vegas, Nevada, who has rallied through a profitable, but exhausting, few days and is fourth with 2,744.
Mohr (left), also a PBA Hall of Famer, is coming off a win PBA50 Northern California Classic presented by MOTIV, which got him back into the Las Vegas area just a few hours before his first qualifying block at Sam’s Town.
He is seeking his third consecutive appearance in the title match at the Super Senior Classic and is one of 46 competitors still in contention at the 2018 event. This week’s champion will take home a top prize of $8,500 from a total prize fund of more than $75,000. The tournament is open to all USBC members age 60 and older.
Bruce Hall of Westborough, Massachusetts, qualified fifth with 2,732, while Greg McMahan of Dandridge, Tennessee, earned the final spot in the Cashers’ Round with a 205-166 roll-off win against David Chew of Brentwood, California, after the two tied for 46th place at 2,497, an average of 208.08.
McMahan entered the day in the 46th position after shooting 1,247 on Thursday, and he used a 268 final game Friday to stay in the hunt. Chew shot 278 in his final qualifying game to stay close, too. Both bowled on the early squad Friday and had to wait to see if they’d gotten enough pins.
“I missed too many spares today, but I had a string of strikes the last game to give me a chance,” McMahan said. “I thought my number was enough, but it looked like the scores climbed up a little bit. I am just thankful to win the roll-off and looking forward to tomorrow.”
All qualifiers will return to the lanes at Sam’s Town for six additional games, beginning Saturday at noon Eastern, live on BowlTV.
Following the Cashers’ Round, the top 12 bowlers will advance to round-robin match play based on their 18-game pinfall totals. Advancers will be split into two groups for match play – odd qualifiers in one group and evens in the other – and match play will consist of six games, including a position round.
At the end of match play, the top qualifier in each group will earn an automatic spot into Sunday’s stepladder finals, with seeding (No. 1 and No. 2) being determined by total pins.
The second, third and fourth qualifiers in each group will advance to a pair of group stepladders, scheduled for Sunday at noon Eastern. The winner of each group stepladder also will advance to the championship round and meet in the opening match. The stepladder finals of the Super Senior Classic will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern.
For Dias, a two-time PBA50 champion, being successful this week in Las Vegas is proof that his recent hard work is paying off.
Not only is he sharp from a successful first swing on the 2018 PBA50 schedule, he also had a chance to get a physical tuneup while at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, for the World Bowling Coach Conference, an educational conference with an emphasis on team coaching, youth development and player training, that took place May 11-13.
“I got a couple of good practice sessions in at the training center when I was there for the coaching conference,” Dias said. “That helped a lot. I was able to get some really good, dedicated practice with some instant video feedback, and that sharpened up my game.”
In a good place physically, Dias turned his attention in recent days to the mental aspects of his game, and the harmony he found was on display during the first 12 games of his Super Senior Classic career.
“I’m the healthiest I’ve been in four years, and I just had to get my mind to catch up to where my body was and to allow myself to relax and really let it fall into my swing,” Dias said. “I’ve been able to get my mind really quieted down the last three or four days, and it’s really made a big difference. The quieter your mind is, the more you can see on the lane and the easier it is to make the moves.”
The process of becoming a USBC Gold coach, the highest level that can be achieved through USBC Coaching, is similar to obtaining a doctorate in a field of study. Candidates must be knowledgeable of the latest techniques and information and be able to apply them.
The final review process requires a coach to conduct a class, participate in an oral exam and give lessons to bowlers of various skill levels. They must include lesson plans and a ball-motion study. The review board consists of active USBC Gold coaches and USBC staff. The review board also engages Gold candidates in discussions on subjects related to the disciplines.
Having already proven himself to his coaching peers, Dias now is ready to continue schooling his over-60 counterparts at Sam’s Town.
“You’re bowling the best players in your age group, and it’s always a huge accomplishment to win any national tournament,” Dias said. “This would be a big win for me.”
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