Bowling is next to impossible to do without a bowling center! If you live in an area where the centers are closed, there are things you can do to help your game while you wait for them to reopen. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Strengthen your mental game.
You're not alone if you put off working on your mental game because throwing the ball is more fun. You don't have that excuse now! Take a few minutes and study the key points on our Mental Game page.
Better yet, read one of the books we suggest on that page. The books are all available for purchase on Amazon.com. Don't want to wait for them to be delivered? Two of our recommended books can `be downloaded in Kindle format. Don't have a Kindle? No need to buy one - just download the free Kindle app to read books on your iPhone, Android phone, Mac, or PC.
2. Stay in shape.
Bowling involves a lot of physical activity. If you are not doing something to stay in shape during the downtime, you have a greater chance of injuring yourself when you start in again once the centers reopen. Don't have access to gym equipment? Various websites can give you creative suggestions as to how to work out without it.
Specific to bowling, there is something you can buy to help you stay fit during the downtime. An Eileen's Bowling Buddy Power Trainer, primarily intended to develop and maintain your arm swing and balance, will be more important now in maintaining your core strength. See videos of the products in use and then buy the one best for you.
3. Finally learn (or learn more) about oil pattern sheets.
If you have already learned a bit about oil patterns from throwing the ball on them, now learn more by understanding the sheets used to program the lane machine to put down the patterns. Start with our How to Read an Oil Pattern Sheet page. Already comfortable with interpreting these sheets? Learn about the subtle nuances in our Advanced Understanding of an Oil Pattern Sheet page.
4. Watch a prior bowling tournament.
You can always learn from watching the pros' techniques and strategies, and this is a great time to do that. Lots and lots of men's and women's tournaments from a few months ago to several years ago can be watched for free on YouTube.
Many of the men's professional tournaments can be accessed from this YouTube page. For women's professional tournaments, search in YouTube for "PWBA" or "LPBT bowling".
5. Learn more about the lives of young bowling pros.
For a couple of years now, Brad Miller and Kyle Sherman have given us a view into their lives, and those of a few of their fellow professionals, as they compete at the various stops on the PBA tour. Their Brad and Kyle YouTube videos are a sort of reality TV for bowling, except that the only drama thankfully involves their strategies for each tournament, how they bowled each day, and which one(s) of them made the cut. Each video is 10-15 minutes long.
6. Play a bowling video game.
PBA Pro Bowling allows you to interactively “bowl” against more than 15 PBA stars, including Jason Belmonte, Jakob Butturff, EJ Tackett, Norm Duke, Liz Johnson, and others, with commentary provided by PBA announcers Rob Stone and Randy Pedersen. The animation of each player is surprisingly lifelike! The game includes more than 100 virtual tournaments and dozens of venues, and allows a choice of video versions of numerous actual bowling balls and authentic PBA oil patterns. You can also compete in single-player mode or in multi-player mode with others at remote locations. See the short promotional video for PBA Pro Bowling and then purchase it for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Steam, or Xbox One.
Another option is Premium Bowling. It has similar features, such as venue, bowling ball, and oil pattern choices, just without the PBA players and announcers, but with multi-player weekly and monthly league competition. It can be purchased for Steam as well as the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. A short promotional video for Premium Bowling shows you its features.
7. Or watch a bowling pro play a bowling video game.
If you don't own or don't want to own a gaming console, you can watch PBA pro Darren Tang play PBA Pro Bowling on his vitamin-dtang Twitch channel. Tang spent his time during the Covid-19 "quarantine" playing the game and fielding comments from his followers.
Alternatively, you can watch Mikey Pinel (also known as Mikey Dread, almost certainly because of his hair) play Premium Bowling on his Bowling Science YouTube channel. If his name sounds familiar, it's because his dad is the legendary, somewhat eccentric bowling ball designer for Radical Bowling. Watch as Mikey does his first league bowling session in one of several videos he streams while playing the game.