The Bowling Triangle
By Richard Shockly
Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to give presentations about many different topics in our sport. There is one in particular that I have always considered to be one of my favorites, I call it the Bowling Triangle.
As we all know a triangle has three sides. I identify one side to be the bowling center proprietor, the other side is the pro shop professional, and the last side will be the coach. When all three of these parties will work as a unit and help promote and support each other it can only help to grow our sport.
Let’s start with the proprietor. From quite some time now it has been a challenge to continue the growth of league bowling. So many times I have had discussions with a proprietor who’s center I coach in say that they have lost anywhere from 15 to 20 teams for the upcoming season. This has been very difficult for me to hear. There are many reasons that league bowlers are quit. It can be that they are busier at work, their kids are taking up much more of their time, they have chosen other sports, financial reasons, and others as well. The one that bothers me the most is when I hear that they are not improving and just plain give up. Like myself, if I am not having fun at whatever I do I will find something else that is fun. A very large percentage of my students who decide to come to me for a lesson tell me that their average has continually been dropping and it’s no longer any fun. More times than not they actually have a very nice game, but they have developed a few bad habits that I can correct. In many cases their older equipment needs to be upgraded. I talk to them about the league they are going to quit because it has become too embarrassing to see their average take a downswing. If their average is dropping and their teammates try to give some tips to no avail its out the door for them, goodbye bowling. After our hour lesson and when they can see and feel the issues causing the problems combined with my positive encouragement, I can convince them to keep bowling and give it another shot. Not always of course but I have saved many of them over the years. Because I am so passionate for the growth of our sport, I recognize my role within the Bowling Triangle. Simply by allowing me to advertise my flyers in the center and having their staff promote me it is a win-win situation.
As I was saying earlier when I have a student who needs an equipment upgrade, a resurface or maybe a simple grip change I obviously head to the pro shop with them. I promote the heck out of a pro shop professional who cares as much as I do. Many shop operators do give lessons when they can find the time. I understand how busy many of them are and getting out on the lanes is very difficult. For those who can go out and just give a few pointers and help them understand that new piece of equipment and will give them a gigantic high five magical things can happen. As soon as the pins appear to have no chance now it’s game on. When does league start? They can whack’em now! Pretty simple stuff which obviously helps their business and mine.
The final section of the triangle is when the pro shop professional and proprietor work together also. Programs can be developed between them like ball raffles and other creative programs that can benefit them both. I have seen the Bowling Triangle work. Let’s keep bowling and have fun.