Guide #8 - Last updated December 2021

Resources for Serious Bowling

1. Who can help me learn how to bowl seriously?

​The bowling professional at your bowling center's pro shop likely offers coaching. Some limited coaching may be offered to you if you purchase a bowling ball or two from the pro shop. Additional coaching will be available at a modest fee, either through the pro shop or an independent coach recommended by the pro shop.

You can be sure a coach knows his or her stuff if the coach is certified by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), bowling's governing body. USBC certifications are, in order of proficiency, Level 1, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. There are only twenty or so Gold Coaches in the United States, but rest assured that you can make a lot of progress with one of the other coaches, too.

Keep in mind that there is no one single way to bowl. One coach may tell you something different from another. Your task is to find which way works best for you. It will likely be a combination of what you have learned from different sources.

2. What if I am looking for more intensive coaching?

One option is to attend a bowling camp. Certain current and/or former professional bowlers hold these camps at different bowling centers around the United States at various times of the year. Camps can run for a day, a weekend, or a full week, and may offer instruction for bowlers at more than one level of experience. One of the longest-running camp organizers is Dick Ritger Bowling Camps. College and university bowling programs sometimes run summer bowling camps on their campuses, too.

​If you can afford to travel to Arlington, Texas, bowling's International Training and Research Center offers lessons of various lengths by the world-renowned coaches of bowling's Team USA. Lessons include sophisticated video and computer analysis. While there, learn about bowling's rich history at the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame on the same campus as the ITRC. Any non-bowlers traveling with you will enjoy themselves ten minutes away at a Dallas Cowboys football game, a Texas Rangers baseball game, and/or the Six Flags amusement park.

Another travel option is the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Florida, located an hour southwest of Orlando and an hour east of Tampa. Kegel developed Specto, the technology behind the StrikeTrack tool used on Fox TV broadcasts of PBA tournaments. Specto provides real-time data on the track, breakpoint, speed, and rev rate of each bowling ball thrown. Lessons at Kegel include the use Specto and other Kegel tools, all while being coached by some of the best coaches in the business.

3. What if I want to learn on my own?

There are a number of books, websites, DVDs, and YouTube videos that are available. You can find them easily by searching around the Internet, and you can determine which ones are best for you by reading the user reviews. There are too many good options to mention any one in particular, but a comprehensive list of the options can be found by scrolling down the very long right sidebar at The Tenth Board.

We will mention this one option: While you will initially be focused on improving your physical game, you will learn as you go that your mental game is just as important as your physical game. Our guide to Bowling's Mental Game can help.

When it comes time to assess your progress, video analysis can be a great tool. It's so great that many coaches use it. Good apps like OnForm allow you analyze video in slow motion, compare your video side-by-side with other bowlers, and even share your video with other bowlers to get their feedback. But, how do you video yourself while bowling? If a friend or loved one won't help you out here, you can purchase a floor or table tripod that will hold your device, but otherwise you'll just have to get creative with propping up your phone or tablet on a table in the bowling center.​ You won't be the first one to do this.

4. Are there any other apps that can help me with my bowling?

Yes! With PinPal for iOS and My Lane Play for Android, you manually enter your frame-by-frame results and the app caculates strike percentage, spares made and missed by type, and a host of other data. The LaneTalk app provides similar calculations without you having to enter your frame results provided you are bowling at a center connected to their service.

The XBowling app allows you to enter your league scores into a virtual competition with other league bowlers anywhere in the world and win cash prizes if your scores are better than other participants' scores.

If you are looking to improve your targeting, the Track My Roll app will show your launch angle, break point, entry angle, ball position, and speed, all from a video you take with your device and import into the app. See how that works here.

The Tenpin Toolkit app provides a group of tools useful for both coaches and players. Use video from your device to determine your ball's axis tilt, rotation, speed, and RPM. Use the app's Observation Trainer tool to train your eye to see which board your ball crosses at the arrows, breakpoint, pocket, and the back edge of the pindeck. Access the entire Kegel oil pattern library, then bring a specific pattern into the Angles & Targeting tool to plan your strategy for that pattern.

5. Where can I find the pattern sheet for an oil pattern that was used in a tournament?

The Kegel Pattern Library app, as well as the Kegel website, provide free access to the full Kegel oil pattern library. You can also access all of the patterns used in prior USBC and PWBA championships, as well as some of the Kegel and PBA patterns, at the free USBC Oil Pattern Bank website.

6. How can I keep up on what is happening in competitive bowling?

​The monthly magazine ​The Bowler's Journal provides general coverage of the news in competitive bowling and the bowling business, as well as bowling ball reviews. For more advanced serious bowlers, the subscription website Bowling This Month is a great technical resource covering lane play, bowling ball motion and reaction, new bowling equipment, tips to improve technique, and mental and physical conditioning.

​Audio programs on the Internet feature interviews of the top professional bowlers, PBA, PWBA, and USBC leaders, and important figures in the bowling industry. One such program is the Above 180 Podcast. Downloading one of the programs and then listening to it as you drive to your league or tournament is a great way to keep up with bowling and put you in a bowling frame of mind at the same time.

For up-to-the minute coverage of the news in competitive bowling, the best source is probably the blog of newspaper editor and bowling Hall of Famer Jeff Richgels. You won't mind skipping over his posts about bowling in his Madison, Wisconsin area (unless, of course, you bowl there!) to get to everything else.

7. Can I watch professional bowling tournaments in person?

Absolutely! Both PBA and PWBA tournaments actively welcome spectators. The spectator admission fee will be very modest and could even be $0. There may also be a reception with the pros that you can attend for a small fee. And perhaps the most fun - there's usually a "Pro-Am" that gives you the opportunity to bowl with the pros, again for a small fee.

8. Where can I watch professional bowling tournaments that take place outside my area?

Some tournaments are broadcast on live television by Fox, FS1, and CBS Sports Network. The USBC's Bowl TV as well as Bowlstream broadcast some tournaments via live-streaming Internet video with many of their previous live-streams archived for later viewing. YouTube is a great source of archived bowling telecasts going back several years.

For a very reasonable annual fee you can have access to FloBowling, which provides the most extensive live-streaming PBA tournaments not on major network television plus other bowling-related features.