The mission is simple: Show the way for anyone who has gotten introduced to bowling through a party bowling event (birthday party, corporate event, or just friends out for a night of fun), decided that he/she likes the game of bowling, and wants to find out how to bowl seriously.
With the bowling industry's increased emphasis on bowling as a party activity, bowling, already the the largest participatory sport in the United States, is increasing in popularity. Some newer centers are even completely devoted to party bowling. It was one such center that drew me in a few years ago. But when I found I loved bowling and wanted to get better at it, I was surprised how hard it was to figure out the next steps for a beginner like me. There wasn't a single informational poster or brochure in the bowling center. When I did find information on the Internet, it was at a level far beyond mine. All I wanted to know were the basics of bowling seriously!
Now that I am a Level 4 bowler myself, I want to make sure those of you who are new to bowling are not held back by the same lack of information I experienced when I was starting out. This website contains answers to all of the questions I struggled to get answered along the way. To be honest, many of the questions are questions I didn't even know to ask at the time! Other than providing some initial basics, this website will not teach you how bowling technique or guide you as to which bowling balls to purchase - there are many Internet sites, YouTube videos, DVDs, books, etc. easily available that can do that. It will, however, arm you with the basic understanding you need to navigate into the world of bowling seriously.
About Me - Joanne Herman
I did not start bowling until 2006, many years into my life. I had just lost my first spouse to a long battle with cancer and I desperately needed something to distract me from my grieving. I knew what bowling was and thought it sounded like fun. One day I decided to give it a try. I had a blast! So much so that I started going once a week. I was hooked. But after a few weeks I started to wonder how to get better at the game of bowling. It seemed hard to focus on improving, with the loud music blaring, the big screen videos in front of me distracting my view, and the dim lights making it hard to see the ball going down the lane. I had reached what I call Level 1 of bowling seriously.
It took a lot of asking around, but eventually I learned that I had been going to a center dedicated to party bowling, and that there are other, more traditional bowling centers where the party atmosphere was limited to certain days and times of the week. Once bowling in a non-party atmosphere I started to improve. The counter person noticed my dedication and suggested I join the center's summer "ball league" where I would be given my first bowling ball, bag, and shoes at the end of the season. I had a great time! And I wanted it to continue. I knew the bowling center had regular, full-season leagues, but each one seemed kind of like a club. Did I need to know someone to get in? Was there a secret handshake? And most importantly, was my bowling good enough? I had reached Level 2.
I mustered up my courage, joined my first full-season league, and did my best to learn the ropes from the others. I found that I loved the league atmosphere and soon became a bowling league regular. It wasn't long before one of my fellow league bowlers asked me to be part of her team in the upcoming Women's National Championships. I had reached Level 3.
Then in 2012 I won my first competitive singles bowling tournament - the Massachusetts State Senior Women's Championships. What a feeling! I started looking into other competitive singles tournaments and quickly learned that I would need to improve my bowling considerably in order to be a serious competitor. Yet whenever I asked questions to other serious bowlers, their explanations would use so many unfamiliar terms that it was as if they were speaking a foreign language. Instructional websites and videos were of some help but typically assumed a basic understanding of serious bowling that I did not have. I had reached Level 4.
I now bowl in competitive tournaments at least twice a month and have a few more wins to smile about. Most notable was the 2014 Tourneo La Raza in Costa Rica, where my doubles partner Karla Alsgood and I won the Senior Women's Doubles competition and all-events. I also won the December 2014 Rhode Island Ladies Classic, my very first match play win. I then made it to match play at the national level for the first time in the 2015 USBC Senior Queens tournament. I also bowl in men's tournaments to stay tournament-ready and almost won the October 2014 Northeast Amateur Tournament. I took the first two matches but lost the final one to finish second.
Along the way, I have figured out that many serious bowlers started bowling at a very young age, often because their parents were bowlers, too. Some parents had even owned bowling centers where their children had hung out at after school and bowled as often as they wanted. Not having had any of this experience had clearly put me at a disadvantage. But I persisted, asking questions and reading and watching everything I could. Once I was comfortably at Level 4, it occurred to me that there had to be others like me who could benefit by having the answers to the questions I wish I had had when I started out. So, as my way of thanking those who have helped me, I have assembled their answers in this website to help those coming along behind me.
Good luck, and good bowling!