Monday, February 27, 2012

The Coke Classic Review - Tom Paterson

The tour events bring together most of the very best in the game.  Those progressing through the event are tested not just by their opponent but also by the passage of time and the number of games played. Thirty games and 9 hours later Jordon Schuss wins the event, defeating Nick Utley (fellow Surrey bowler). Also both may very well be the youngest of the qualifiers. It is fitting that our top qualifier also wins the most matches making it through to the top 4 on the A draw and winning all his matches on the B side. In total Schuss won 8 matches. Close with 6 match wins is Mathew Turanski of Winnipeg. Utley won 5 matches. The cash flow for the final 4 ended like this; Schuss $4965, Utley $2420, Turanski $1965, Karie Kruetz $1595. Kruetz came close to repeating his 2011 win making it to the 2s,  losing to Nick Utley on the A side.
Everyone enjoys producing high scores.  The degree of scoring difficulty bowling centers offer is part of the challenge placed in front of all bowlers. Based on the scoring at this year’s coke classic it is fair to say the golden mile lanes are kinder than all others in the province, and probably challenges Callingwood lanes in Edmonton for the distinction of least difficult in western Canada.  Over the course of the past 6 years the final qualifying average has been above the 260 mark four of six years.  Most notably 2011 and 2012 Q averages were 266 and 268 respectively.
Other quirky facts; the 2012 classic smashed the record for total number of entries (including repeat entries) with 177. Eleven individuals qualified for the first time, this too is a record.  Ninety-one entries averaged 250 or better. Twenty-nine of the entries averaged over 260 and did not qualify! Only eleven entries averaged under 220! There was no survey, no request for information, but of the thirty-two qualifiers over a dozen were thirty years of age or younger. Of the qualifiers 5 were Ontarian’s Mike Herbert (290 Q average), Brandon Rogers (278), Mitch Davies (271), and John Degrasia (268). Davies won 4 matches, and Herbert won 2 matches. Three qualifiers were from B.C., Nick Allen(271), Nick Utley (291), and Jordon Schuss (top Q – 299). Saskatchewan won the sweeps for most bowlers qualifying with thirteen. Alberta placed 7 into the top thirty-two and Manitoba bowlers placed 4 into the top thirty-two. Three of the qualifiers took full advantage of each Q shift, entering all three. Who they are will remain secret J. One of Alberta’s hottest bowlers, Mark Johnstone, made it to the 4s before running into Turanski.
Mike Seavers won the consolation (996) also winning the last Q spot, and stretched his winning to the 8’s of the B side. Regina’s Jordan Rachar fresh from YBC finished second in the consolation just 40 pins shy of winning the thirty-second Q spot (951).
Qualifying shift number one was full of statement making. Kevin Clark continued his success in the tournament with a top shift one qualifying 291 average. Saskatoon’s Adam Martin and his simplistic smooth form provided the support for a solid 285 qualifying average. Brad Moens, averaging 284, recaptured the mental and physical skill set that has set him apart from many. Alberta’s teenage bowling phenom Jenn Baker qualified with a 271 average, and made it to the 4s of the B side before losing to eventual champion Schuss.
During the second round of qualifying Saskatoon bowlers Glenn Tarasoff and Julie Bayne qualified in the top 10. The overall leader after all the qualifying was completed was Jordon Schuss of Surrey, BC averaging 299. Had he not rolled 233 in his last game his average for 8 games would have been 310. Saskatoon bowlers qualifying were; Adam Martin (285), Kevin Rak (275), Glenn Tarasoff (273), Julie Bayne (272). Saskatchewan’s best run involved brothers Doug and Kevin Clark, Brad Moens, and Adam Martin all making it to the 8’s of the A or B draw. Notable non qualifiers for 2012 include Crystal Hiibner and Jenn Clark (top 8 finish in 2011), and Cordell Galbecka (champion in 2010).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roger Davies rolls into bowling hall of fame

Article by

OSHAWA -- As Roger Davies points out, fivepin bowling is a sport someone can play and enjoy from about the age of four to the age of 94.
Mind you, there are only so many years in between where one can play to the level Davies did from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, and he happened to do so well enough to earn induction into the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers' Association hall of fame for 2011.

It's an honour that ranks right up there for the Oshawa native, who is 62 this month.

"Every competitive bowler strives to win Ontario championships and national championships, and other than my national win in 1982 in the men's singles competition, being inducted into the hall of fame in Ontario, you can't get much better than that," says Davies, now living in Courtice with wife, Gloria.

Davies was able to enjoy the induction gala in Hamilton with his wife, mother, sister and many friends in the bowling community, although sadly without former Oshawa neighbour Bert Harding, who taught Davies pretty much everything he knew about the sport, but died some years ago.

Starting out under the guidance of Harding at the lanes in the basement of the Oshawa Centre, Davies quickly moved up the ranks from his beginnings with the Youth Bowling Council.

He won his first YBC Majors tournament in 1977, earning $350 on lanes constructed solely for use at the Canadian National Exhibition.

Over his career, Davies qualified 27 times for provincial championships, including 14 times on the men's team, eight as singles representative, 10 on the mixed team and three as a senior.

At his peak, he bowled in six major leagues a week and also participated in local sweeps at Oshawa's Motor City Bowl.

All that time on the lanes paid off with three provincial titles, including a men's single championship in 1982, which he then parlayed into the national title.

Competing in Calgary, Davies started slowly, but made some adjustments and ultimately defeated Doug Mosdell in a televised final 258-245, making him just the third Ontario bowler to win the Canadian title in the 18 years of the event.

Although he remained active and won several tournaments in masters' bowling for years, with an average score of 251 over 704 games from 1980 to 1991, a heart attack in 1995 curtailed his bowling career and he retired from the sport for four years.

He's back at it now, but not nearly as often as before and no longer competitively.

"My mind and my heart say yes, and my body says, nah, I don't think so," says Davies, who retired as a financial analyst from General Motors in 2008. "As you get older, it gets a little more difficult, but I enjoy playing in some tournaments.

"It's more of a social thing for me," adds Davies, who plays in a Thursday league at North End Bowl in Oshawa. "I get to play with and see people I've known for 30 or 40 years, which is nice."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Steve Barker's 23 Questions with Mark Johnstone

23 Questions with Mark Johnstone

Wow, what a busy and exciting time the last few weeks have been across the country. The schedule has been packed with Youth Challenge Provincials and 4-Steps to Stardom Zone finals for our youth bowlers, and Open Zone/Provincial Qualifiers, cash events and Masters Tournaments across the land for the adults. Thankfully in this age of instant information, results of these events can be found easily through Twitter, Facebook, local and Provincial websites or other great resources such as Jeff’s blog site here, or on Karie Kreutz’s

Great scores and stories were reported from all over the country, but a couple of individuals from the Edmonton Open qualifier really stand out. For the ladies, Annette Campbell threw 2921 for her last 10 (a local record!) to lead the women for the 20 game block.
On the men’s side, Mark Johnstone’s remarkable performance leads us into today’s “23 Questions” feature. Sitting in 6th place after the first 10, Mark turned in an incredible last 3 games of 355, 398 and 405 (that’s 1158!) to finish with 3106 for his final 10 to become top qualifier.

For “Johnny”, throwing monster scores is certainly no fluke. In December of 2006 he rattled off an astounding 5 game score of 1767, which featured one of his two career perfect games, and 23 strikes in a row! For this feat, he was named Global TV’s Elite Athlete of the Week and the feature and interview are available on YouTube (Search “Mark J Bowling Interview”).

In the decade since Mark’s rookie year at the Open Nationals in 2003 in Surrey, where his Alberta team won Men’s team Gold (defeating my Southern Ontario team in the final), “Johnny” has set the National standard for excellence in our game! His list of accomplishments includes winning the 2011 TPC at Callingwood, 2009 TSN Championship and being the 2011 Alberta Masters Singles Champion.

Just 30 years old, and already a veteran of numerous Canadian Championship appearances, Mark has won 5 combined National Men’s team Gold Medals between the Open and Masters!
When Jeff Young and I originally discussed the idea of “23 Questions”, Mark was one of the people on our “short list” of potential interviewees.
Here is my discussion with one of the absolute best players in all the land:
When did your bowling career start?

I believe I started at about 12, so 18-19 years ago.
To gauge an idea of your progress, what was your average in your First year of Senior?

It was probably around 200.
What was your average in your LAST year of Senior?

In my last year of Senior, it was 248.
Was anyone instrumental in your YBC development?

My coach was Robert Gallagher from Wetaskiwin where I grew up until I was 21, as well as Geno Ziebarth.
What do you use for a target?

I look at the pins on my first ball. It’s all about feel for me. I use the arrows for my spares and for cleaning up wood.

As a coach, I sometimes have trouble working with bowlers who bowl by feel like you do. For those who use arrows, a tiny change in target or starting position can be an easy fix, but since you don’t use a specific fixed target, how do YOU adjust if you are punching a lot of Headpins or if you are “just” missing?

Sometimes when I am punching HP’s, it’s because I’m not getting the ball out on the lane enough or I am getting too low. I know I am not throwing a great ball so there is no sense in changing anything.
There are also those moments when it feels great and I am still punching. I am sure we can all attest to that. Sometimes I move up, back, left or right depending on the lane conditions. I also pay attention to the other bowlers who are getting strikes and try a similar line. Or maybe just a ball change to one that has more or less movement. That’s when understanding the conditions in warm-up pays off. Have a couple different shots in your back pocket for times like these.

Do you aim for a specific pocket or just try to hit the headpin?

When I am throwing well, left or right pocket works. Sometimes if hitting the middle at a high percentage gives me Headpin problems, I will try to hit a specific pocket.
Have you noticed a major difference in lane or pin-fall conditions from west-to-east or from Province-to-Province?

I couldn’t say that one province is better than the next in pin-fall. In my mind, the higher scoring centres do a better job on maintenance and consistency in conditions.
What is your favourite lane condition set-up and what are some of the differences?

I like freefall, even though I’ve only bowled on it a few times. (Note: Interviewer now feeling really old!)
I prefer wood lanes. I find the natural break of the ball is better. Not too oily/wet so the ball can break. I think this makes for better pin action.
Synthetic lanes tend to slide a bit. The good thing about synthetic lanes is that the approaches are consistent and smooth.
I think that the new pin bases are also great for this game, as it seems to me scores are better across the board.
What are some of your favourite bowling centres?

Callingwood Lanes is a place that I bowl very well at. I also enjoy Dakota Lanes in Winnipeg, Heritage Lanes in Red Deer, Scottsdale Lanes in B.C. and Golden Mile in Regina.
How many league games do you play every week?

I play 8 games per week. 5 in a match play league on Wednesday and 3 in a fun league on Thursday.

A fun league?

Yeah, I need a break from the serious parts of the game.
Do you practice regularly?

I don’t practice as much as I used to. I used to practice at least once more per week and I tried to bowl a lot of scratch and handicap tourneys in the area.
I tend to use a lot of the warm-up time before league/tournaments to experiment with things. If I need some extra practice, I will go in and throw some balls.
Do you practice to prepare for major tournaments? (If so, what do you work on?)

If I make Nationals, I will practice at least once a week prior to the tournament, because league is done by that time. You need to stay sharp mentally and physically.
Just recently for the Open, I went in and did some extra practice, mainly because I had been punching a lot in previous weeks. I was experimenting with an outside line to reduce the Headpins. I have a back-up, so I was focusing on getting the ball out to the left and letting it come back and maybe get a few thin strikes.

At what age, did your career really take off?

I would say in 2007 when I was 25 years old. I started having success in Open, Masters, cash tournaments and TSN. It’s taken off a bit more the last couple years.

Who was instrumental in your adult bowling development?

I would have to say that the one person who has helped me get to the next level other than Robert and Geno, would be Lynn Howell. Even though we have had our share of differences,  he has helped me with my bowing especially and with life in general.
I also want to mention the support I’ve gotten from my girlfriend, Jen Baldwin. Over the last 3 years she has been there every step of the way. She keeps me on the straight and narrow, I guess. Also, her Dad Gil Baldwin has been flying all over Canada to cheer us on!
In a hotbed such as Edmonton, was there an “awe factor” competing against, or teaming with, legendary players such as Bruce Morter, Lynn Howell, etc, when you were younger?

I really didn’t know Bruce or Lynn too much until I moved to Edmonton in 2002. Geno used to talk about them quite a bit. It was more a thrill for me watching Mark Jackson and Geno as they bowled in Wetaskiwin where I grew up.
They have so many stories and experiences, that you could listen to them for hours. I feel honoured to have had a chance to bowl and “medal” with so many greats; Geno Ziebarth, Lynn Howell, Bruce Morter, Mark Jackson, Tom Stevenson, etc. There’s just too many to mention!
I have learned a great deal of things by watching and listening to all these guys, on and off the lanes.
As mentioned above in your profile, you have the ability to throw a number of monster games in a row. How do you stay in the moment and remain calm when throwing a number of huge games consecutively?

I think the main thing is to try not to get too worked up emotionally and caught up in the moment. I would take one ball at a time. The only thing that I have to be concerned about is keeping my ROUTINE and throwing a strike. Taking a deep breath before my approach helps keep me calm.
When you are throwing well, you don’t have to think! It just comes naturally. If only it would be like that all the time.
I have noticed at National Tournaments and cash events that people tend to lose energy and become tired due to the high level of intensity. It’s pretty hard to be fired up all the time for 3 or 4 days! You need to pick your spots.
Are you always aware of your own scores (individual game or totals) or do you try not to look at them? 

This is a tough one, as each situation could be different. When it comes to the Open and team totals, I need to know the scores as I usually play “anchor”. I would rather know if I need a 28 count or a strike or spare.
When it comes to cash tournaments/Open trials/Masters, I usually set a goal for myself so I know where I am in my head and where I need to be. Making cuts and throwing a “keeper” score for Masters are my goals, not the place I finish. Don’t get me wrong though, I always want to win!!

In a match or tournament, do you watch your opponents and/or their scores?

In match play, I tend to do better when I am not looking at my scores or my opponent’s score. I know in my head that all I can control is what I can do on the lanes and that is to throw a strike. When it’s getting close, again I need to know what I need.
I believe that a bowler should always be aware of his/her scores. I think it helps the next time you are in the same situation. (What did I do last time? What can I do differently next time?)
Watching other bowlers in situations has always helped my game. I say to myself, “What is that guy doing to be successful? What type of ball is he throwing? What line is working? Does he throw hard or slow? How does he handle himself in certain situations?”
Okay, with perfect games, enormous totals, National Championships and tournament wins to choose from, do any of your accomplishments stand out above the rest?

Well that is a tough question. I would have to say that Masters Nationals Gold in Saskatoon 2009 sticks out in my mind. I had a chance to play with a team from my childhood as all 5 of us (Geno Ziebarth, Gary Baird, Karie Kreutz, Victor Fobert and Coach Lynn Howell) were from the Central Zone in Alberta.
Although it wasn’t televised, Gold at the 2009 TSN was special as it was my first major singles win.
23 strikes in a row, with 1511 for 4 and 1767 for 5 is a stats accomplishment that I am proud of.
All the friends I have made over the years from this sport that I love!
You’ve accomplished more than the majority of players out there would even dream of, but what’s still left on your bowling “bucket list”?

Open and Masters National Singles titles! I was 2nd in Open singles in 2010 and would like some redemption!
I just won my first cash tourney and would like to win a few more of those. I always tell myself anyone can win one, but not everyone can win two or more.
And finally, what piece of advice would you give to an aspiring bowler who wants to improve their game?

Don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!! You get to a point in your career where the help no longer comes to you! You have to seek it out.
Be open to new things and be open to feedback.
The #1 thing that can help you is to establish your muscle memory. In order to do that you need to Practice, Practice, and Practice!! The more games the better. I used to practice corner pins, then chop- offs, then hitting the middle, hundreds of balls over and over. Bowling is about repetition!
Just simply BOWL!

Thanks Mark! We appreciate your time and good luck to you and everyone competing at the upcoming Coca Cola Classic in Regina!

Thanks, and can I add one more thing?
I just wanted to say thanks to those out there who are trying to better the game. The “Jeff Young Blog”, 5PinUniverse, Club Tour in Ontario, Western Canadian Cash tour, we as bowlers are the only ones who can build this game and I believe we are taking steps in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coke Classic Ready to Go – by Tom Paterson

Every fourth weekend in February one of the best run bowling centers in the country welcomes Canada’s elite players for what looks to the outsider to be very much like a Vegas extravaganza. The establishment sets the bar high regarding its service and attention to detail and for this particular weekend the show includes talented bowlers, glitz, glamour, money, and copious amounts of fire water.
In a short 5 year span The Coke Classic held in Regina holds the distinct pleasure of gaining the largest draw of participants.  In a tournament where an individual may re-enter the qualifying round as many as 3 times entry totals quickly add up. Here is the deceptive part. Over the past 5 years 774 individual attempts have been taken in attempting to reach the top thirty –two championship spots. Of those 750 plus a scant eighty-six bowlers have advanced to match play. True to Vegas style those odds seem to favour the house, with Regina bowlers tapping into the bigger payday of the final, four of the past five years. Saskatchewan bowlers outside of Regina have also done alright for themselves, capturing with Regina on average just over half of the annual thirty-two qualifying spots.
Who has the stickiest fingers for the high stakes money bowling? Kevin Clark of Regina holds the distinction of being top qualifier two consecutive years with 2009 leading to a qualifying record average of 308. Clark has finished as high as second in 2008. Older brother Doug finished second in 2007 and currently carries Regina’s high average at 282. Geno Ziebarth is one of only 2 individuals to qualify each and every year. The other individual is Mark Johnstone.  Both are from Alberta.  Ziebarth has qualified in the top ten 3 times, and has become the eventual champion twice (2008, 2009). Adam Weber is a constant threat in virtually all tournaments he participates in. Weber has been a national singles champion, team champion and multiple champion on the Western Canadian tour. Manitoba’s lead representative has got to be Cordell Galbecka. Galbecka has qualified four of five times and been in the top eight twice, winning the main event in 2010. Other big fish include Regina’s Brad Moens. Moens is the current Master Bowler’s National Singles champion and has made the cut eighty percent of the time finishing in the top eight in 2010. Lonny Akers from Prince Albert has led qualifiers and finished top eight.  Probably the oldest competitor in the group has been Saskatoon’s Don Rak. Rak has represented the old guard very well. He qualified three times and made the top 8 in 2010.
A cluster of eight women have made the top thirty-two over the past five years.  The 2011 Championship featured the first 2 women to make the top 8. Crystal Orenchuk, the second seed in 2011 and Jennifer Clark. As a bonus both reside in Regina. In 2011 Karrie Kreutz stole most of the thunder coming up both A and B sides of the draw before dropping one spot at the eights. A scant nine games later Kreutz would move in for the kill shot defeating Regina’s Jeff Hiibner.  
The 2012 edition will again dominate with a full slate of competitors.  Qualifying begins Friday Feb. 24. Entries have always surpassed their expected payout which always leads to greater cash pay outs to its qualifying participants. In 2011 just over $44,000 was distributed during the event.  Entry fee is $180. Shift times include Friday Feb. 24 at 1pm and Saturday Feb. 25 at 8:30am and 1:30pm.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Five Keys to Success For Athlete, Coach, Proprietor, & YBC Program - Tom Paterson

Athletes and Performance

1. Stay in the Present
2. Feed Your Determination
3. Ignore the Opposition
4. Ignore the Score
5. Expect the Best, Prepare for the Rest

The Coach Role Pre-tournament

1. Listen
2. Communicate with Genuine Interest
3. Nurture Athlete Strengths
4. Develop Reflective Independent Thinkers
5. Encourage Athlete Growth in the Tough Areas

The Coach Role During the Tournament

1. Recognize and acknowledge everyone sets out to be successful
2. Be Consistent
3. Be Diligent
4. Accountability Counts

Coach Role Post Tournament

1. Organize a time and place to unwind
2. Genuine Acknowledgment of individual and team contributions
3. Invite Reflection On Self Improvement
4. Give thanks for your selection as coach
5. Remain upbeat and positive

Proprietor Service

1. Welcome Your Guests – the Bowlers – to Your Centre
2. Brainstorm How Many Ways You Can Provide Prompt Service
3. Educate Your Staff – So That They Can Provide Optimal Service
4. Keep the Pin & Scoring Systems Operating at Peak Performance
5. Keep Your Center Spotless

Y.B.C. Programs

1. Actively Seek Volunteers
2. Treasure Volunteers
3. Reward Volunteers
4. Invest in the Learning Opportunities of Your Instructors/Coaches
5. Make Instruction Available and Accessible at Times That Work for the Y.B.C. Bowler

Friday, February 3, 2012

Special Olympian scores perfect five-pin bowling game Jan. 17

Story courtesy Nathaniel Flynn - The Guardian PEI

Only a few people on Prince Edward Island have ever scored a perfect bowling game.

Well, add Jamie Trowsdale to the list.

Trowsdale, 36, scored 450 in five-pin bowling at Murphy’s Community Centre earlier this month. The closest he had before was 439.

Trowsdale, one of P.E.I.’s top Special Olympians, has won a national gold medal in softball, and was in track-and-field and swimming before taking up bowling.

“It’s something to do, pass the time and all that,” Trowsdale said in an interview.

He was a member of the Canada East team which won a medal in the world Special Olympics softball championships in Athens, Greece last June but was unable to go because his mother was seriously ill.

On his big bowling day this month, Trowsdale was rolling a game on his own, and started with a strike. He kept getting strikes one after another.

Coach Ricky Burns arrived after Trowsdale’s game while Burns’s daughter verified the score. Burns shook Trowsdale’s hand.

The regular bowling team on Thursdays rarely reaches scores of 400, Burns said in an interview this week.

“To roll a 450, that’s something else.”

In his 50 years of bowling, Burns said he has only seen six or seven perfect games.

Charity Sheehan, director of Special Olympics P.E.I., said she saw Trowsdale get close before.
Trowsdale’s score showcases the ability of their athletes, Sheehan said.

“We’re pretty excited that it was one of our athletes that scored the perfect game.”

Trowsdale will be playing in a qualifier in 2013 for a chance to be in the nationals in 2014.