SUMMER SCHOOL- THE GOOD
One of the challenges that we as coaches face during the season is how much we can or should adjust or change a YBC bowler’s technique in the midst of the season when there is a plethora of tournament qualifying and competition going on. Even without tournaments, the athlete is always concerned about their average, and we all know that any changes to a bowler’s style, even if it will improve their game long term, generally sees a person’s scores decrease at the beginning before they start to see improvement.
The best time for a bowler to work on his or her game is outside of league play and for major changes, the off-season is ideal. While some bowlers have the opportunity to practice for free or have access to good coaching, this option is not available for everyone.
One option for some YBC members across the country to improve their game is to attend one of the many Bowling Schools that operate during the summer months.
Many parents send their kids to Hockey Schools or Baseball or Soccer camps in hopes that their children can improve their skills and possibly make the “big time”. Without hesitation, they dole out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for these camps or schools, which are often run by or feature a guest appearance of a fourth-line grinder or middle reliever who you may have heard of because they had a “cup of coffee” in the NHL or Major Leagues.
Here’s something to think about; if you were an aspiring golfer, how much would you pay to spend a few days on the course with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy? How would you like to take batting practice with Jose Bautista and the rest of the A.L. All-stars? That would be cool! Say you’re a Vancouver kid who had the chance to practice and play with the Canucks? What if Jarome Iginla or some of the Oilers’ young prospects invited you out for a skate? Minor hockey players in Manitoba or eastern Canada would jump at the chance to work with Jets, Sens or Habs players. Imagine the thrill a Toronto kid could have by meeting a superstar from the hometown Leafs- Okay, bad example there, but you get the picture.
Pro athletes in other sports charge exorbitant amounts of money for personal appearances at events such as fantasy camps or schools.
One of the great things about our sport is the access to our greatest players. Not only do many of our game’s best players, past and present, volunteer each week with their local YBC programs, but many also donate their time and efforts to attend the Bowling Schools across the country. In many cases, our instructors and Pros use their summer vacation time to offer their expertise and experience at these schools.
There are several schools that operate across the country and the costs vary depending on the duration, the amenities offered and the region in which the school presides. (I apologize in advance if I have missed or excluded a school. If this is the case, please feel free to add links or information.)
Bowling Federation of Alberta Summer Youth Bowling Camp
Based in Calgary, this camp will run from August 9th-12th this year. With a 4-1 ratio of students to coaches, the school offers video analysis, guest speakers, mini competitions, group discussions, “ask the pros” sessions and on-lane work. The $275 registration fee includes accommodations, all meals, transportation to and from Camp functions and lineage. Check out www.bowlfedab.ca for more information.
27th Annual Saskatchewan Youth Bowling School
The Saskatchewan school also operates from August 9th-12th, at Eastview Bowl in Saskatoon. The concept of “school” is used, as the focus here is all about learning, both for the student athletes and the instructors. Offering an impressive curriculum delivered by some of the country’s best players and coaches, the registration fee is $415 with accommodation, and $350 without. The school also offers a “day school” for students aged 10-12 for a cost of $125. Contact www.saskbowl.com for information and registration forms.
British Columbia Youth Bowling School
This school based in Surrey, runs from July 13th-15th. Students aged 12-18 may apply to the school, with graduating Seniors also being considered if spots are available. This 3-day event includes video analysis, classroom and on-lane instruction and costs $280 including accommodations, books and meals. An adult school and an instructor school is also run in conjunction with the B.C. Youth School. Information can be found at www.bowlbc.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
O5PBA/YBC Bowling School
The O5 School operates at Sherwood Centre and McMaster University in Hamilton, and runs from July 19th -22nd. The $550 fee includes accommodation, all meals, drinks and snacks, as well as busing from the university to the lanes. Each group of 4 students is teamed with 1 Instructor and 1 Pro. Along with the teaching and comprehensive evaluation and instruction, there are a number of tournaments and skill competitions held within the school, with students having a chance to compete with and against the Pros. With awards for scratch and POA play as well as All-Star team selections based on a number of criteria including sportsmanship, the school caters to YBC bowlers of all averages. Applications and information can be found at www.o5pba.ca.
In addition to the schools mentioned above, Stephan Beauchamp attended the O5 Bowling School last year as an observer on behalf of the folks from Quebec, and plans are in the works to include students and staff from Quebec at this year’s school in Hamilton. Hopefully, Stephan and the people in Quebec are able to bring a school to their province in the near future.
Also, Tom Paterson (who is instrumental in the Saskatchewan and B.C. schools and many other ventures, but was adamant that this feature be about the schools and NOT him- sorry Tom) is working with the fine people of Newfoundland and they hope to get a school of their own off the ground in the very near future.
Again, try to find another sport where over 40 of the game’s elite coaches and players are willing to use up some of their holidays to spend 4 days in a bowling centre to help kids hone their own skills- What a great concept!
Let’s continue to work together to grow this great game!