BowlingSeriously.com Guide #15 - Last updated October 2020
The mission is simple.
BowlingSeriously.com aims to show the way for free to 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), has decided that he/she likes the game of bowling, and wants to find out how to bowl seriously. BowlingSeriously.com is non-profit in spite of the .com in its name.
How BowlingSeriously.com came to be.
Joanne Herman, BowlingSeriously.com's owner and author, did not start bowling until 2006, many years into her life. She had just lost her first spouse to a long battle with cancer and desperately needed something to distract her from her grieving. She knew what bowling was and thought it sounded like fun. One day she decided to give it a try.
Bowling was then (and still is) the largest recreational activity in the United States, and the industry is increasingly emphasizing bowling as a party activity. Some newer centers were even being completely devoted to party bowling. It was one such center that drew her in.
She had a blast her first time! So much so that she started going once a week. She was hooked. But after a few weeks she 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 her distracting her view, and the dim lights making it hard to see the ball going down the lane.
She was surprised how hard it was to figure out the next steps for her. There wasn't a single informational poster or brochure in the bowling center. When she did find information on the Internet, it was at a level far beyond hers. All she wanted to know were the basics of bowling seriously.
Joanne discovers the fun of league bowling.
It took a lot of asking around, but eventually Joanne learned that she 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 she started to improve. The counter person noticed her dedication and suggested she join the center's summer "ball league" where she would be given her first bowling ball, bag, and shoes at the end of the season. She loved it!
And Joanne wanted the great time to continue. She knew the bowling center had regular, full-season leagues, but each one seemed kind of like a club. Did she need to know someone to get in? Was there a secret handshake? And most importantly, was her bowling good enough? She mustered up her courage, joined her first full-season league, and did her best to learn the ropes from the others. She found that she loved the league atmosphere and soon became a bowling league regular.
In 2011, her fellow league bowlers asked her for the first time to be part of their team in the upcoming Women's National Championships. She was nervous but gave it a try.
Joanne discovers the competition of bowling tournaments.
Joanne found she really liked the competitive challenge and that let to her trying her hand at a singles tournament in 2012, the Massachusetts State Senior Women's Championships. She won! What a feeling!
She started looking into other competitive singles tournaments and quickly learned that she would need to improve her bowling considerably in order to be a serious competitor. Yet whenever she 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 she did not have.
But she persisted and her persistence has paid off. In the 2014 Tourneo La Raza in Costa Rica, Joanne and her doubles partner Karla Alsgood won the Senior Women's Doubles competition. Her very first match pay win was the December 2014 Rhode Island Ladies Classic. She made it to match play at the national level for the first time in the 2015 USBC Senior Queens tournament. She almost won a men's tournament in October 2014 - the Northeast Amateur Tournament - taking the first two matches but losing the final one to finish second. She added another state seniors title by winning the Florida State Senior Women's Championships in 2016.
And, Joanne shot her very first league 300 game in 2019. She proudly wears her 300 game ring everyday.
Joanne creates BowlingSeriously.com.
Along the way, Joanne 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 clearly put her at a disadvantage.
But she asked lots of questions and read and watched everything she could. And once she started achieving success at tournaments, it occurred to her that there had to be others like her who would benefit by having the information she wished she had had when she started out. As her way of thanking those who helped her along the way and hoping to help those coming along behind her, she assembled their answers into BowlingSeriously.com. The website is her hobby and she provides it free of charge as her contribution to the sport that has given her so much.
At BowlingSeriously.com's start in 2014, Joanne included what she had learned in the guides that are now titled Getting Started, Leagues, Team Tournaments, and Singles Tournaments, as well as the background guide Bowling Today. Although she had not bowled as a youth, she felt it was an area with unique opportunities and therefore did the research to create the Youth guide.
Since then, her participation in increasingly competitive tournaments led her to add a four-guide set on how to understand Oil Patterns. Ironically, these latest guides, as well as the Youth and Bowling Today guides, are the ones most accessed today on the Internet. But her original guides still get some views, too :-).
Good luck, and good bowling!