Tips 4 a 1st time coach

Posted by: Tim Gerard

Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/21/06 10:09 AM

I stated in an earlier post that I was asked to coach a high school team. This team would not have had a season if someone did'nt step forward and take this on. So another person and I have done just that, but we are both new to coaching. I have coached little league, but never bowling. Any suggestion will be appreciated. Also how does someone start the process of becoming a certified bowling coach?
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/21/06 10:39 AM

If you go to bowl.com you can then go to the tab coaching. It will start you off in the right direction on getting certified. You need to first go through level 1 class. Then the optional level 2, for those doing mainly youth. Then on the Bronze.

I have not really coached a team but I would imagine its like coaching any other team. You work on teamwork, communication within the team and support for teammates in good or bad.

I know in the Bronze class we were told to always keep everything positive, even critisism. No "that's not the right way" or "that was not very good try again". Rather, "there's a better way to do that" or "you did X very well, lets try to do Y".

Erin
Posted by: Brian Longo

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/21/06 01:30 PM

If you have more than enough to fill a lineup for a particular match/game, then it's also wise to know who matches up well on what condition, who's your clutch bowler, who's your "spark" bowler, etc. Get a feel and understanding for these types of bowlers so you can make the best lineups possible. No different than a baseball manager who has to figure out if you keep a lefty batter in to face the lefty pitcher.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/21/06 02:46 PM

First practice is tonight, anxious to see what we have.
I'll try and keep it fairly simple, and try not to mess them up too bad early on. Just let them bowl , and offer advice later.
Posted by: Brian Longo

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/21/06 03:23 PM

The more you're talking the less you can observe. Let them have fun and keep an eye out for the marginal bowlers.
Posted by: okorimbo

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/22/06 03:16 AM

Getting through the USBC Coaching program as Erin said is the way to go. However, since the schedule of classes might not work out well just now, you might get a copy of Bob Strickland's book "Teaching Bowling."Published by Leisure Press, ISBN number is 0-88011-356-1. Although it was published in 1989, the principles are basic and valid. It would be a good introduction for you as well as making the USBC stuff more meaningful when you take their courses. He gives outlines of class drills,etc., and a way to explain things to students. Just remember Brain's comment that they should have fun. And, remember also that all bowlers are not alike and will have diffrent needs and styles.
Okotte
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/22/06 08:34 AM

I hear ya Okorimbo,
Having fun should be # 1, If its a fun endeavor for the kids,I feel they will be better bowlers. If its a pressure packed environment it can sour their enthusiasm for the sport. Believe me thats the last thing I want to be, is a blow hard forcing my will on them.
Thanks for the info on the book too,its off to Barnes and Noble I go.
Posted by: Brian Longo

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/22/06 09:15 AM

As a coach at the level you're working with these kids, you should be an "information gatherer", in that I mean you should be keeping notes (mental or written) on your bowlers. In essence, on the day of the matches, you are actually a "manager" because you're not exactly teaching them about the game, but rather making sure you have people in the best possible lineup (there might be some minor coaching going on, but really, you have a limited amount of time to make adjustments). In practice time, you need to be a "coach", working with their game and trying to get them to maximize their results.

If you have kids who've grown up through the youth leagues, your main concern with them might be in the range of subtle adjustments like minor timing issues, minor release adjustments or confidence building. Get them to try different lines, work on spare shooting, etc. A great game is "low-ball" where the object is to pick off only the 7 or 10 pins. A gutter ball is worth 10 pins and a strike is worth 10 pins and they have to roll again. Like golf, the lowest score is the best score.

For others who might not be as advanced, you might have to work on them more in regards to timing, footwork, and their armswing. The key for lower average bowlers is to get them to a point where they can repeat their approach and armswing with some semblence of consistency. You cannot worry about results at the pins with these guys as if they can't get to the line the same way, it's just luck after they release the ball.

That's why I say you need to be an "information gatherer". Find out who can do what, who are your more consistent bowlers and who ar the ones that need work. It won't take all that long to figure this out. What might take a while is helping the ones who need the serious help.

In the end, though, just be a "cheerleader". High fives and pats on the back and the occasional consolation will bring up everyone's spirits and will make them want to work hard for you. Again, my bowling coach was no bowler, but because he was always positive and did his best to keep our spirits high, I always worked on my own to get better to not only please myself, but to reward him for all the hard work he put into coaching.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/30/06 09:44 AM

We started working with the kids this week , and for the most part they are very receptive to any suggestions. "Little sponges" so to speak.
I had an idea to load them all up on a bus and take them to see my coach and her partner, who is also a certified gold coach. They would present instruction in 4 hour clinic, including video tape analysis. Of course we have to sell it to the parents, but these two coaches have offered to do this at a very resonable price. I guess I have to "sell" it to the school also, since they would have to transport the students via bus.

We should be able to field a pretty good girls squad, they look good, good form ,follow through etc.,most of them bowled last year, but alot of the boys are first timers and need some work.
I thought it would be a great way to reach them all, with some professional instruction by some former pro bowlers.
What do you think...good idea or a little to ambitious.?
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/30/06 10:36 AM

Eraser,
It sounds like a great opportunity for the kids and for you. Since you stated you are a first time coach, the kids would get instruction from an experienced coach and you can watch how instuction for kids at there level are coached at the same time.

Like you said, you've got to sell the parents and the school, but I say good for you. You're not putting your ego (I'm the coach, the only coach) in front of the kids best interest.

Sounds like a win/win to me.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/30/06 10:48 AM

Sounds like a great idea if you can pull it off. If you cannot get the school to transport, ask the parents if they would assist in transportation. Make sure each kid brings a notebook so they can take notes.

Erin
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 11/30/06 10:51 AM

Thanks Jeff,
I thought that the pro's could lay the ground work, and I could help later on during practices and competition, reminding them of the things they learned during the clinic. Like I said the girls look good ( took state last year ) but they could be even better. The boys need the basics, but they have potential. Just not sure how the parents will feel, shelling out more $$$. We will present it to them and see.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/05/06 01:22 PM

Looks like our little field trip is a go. The kids seem real excited as am I. We just have to tie up a few things, and it will happen right after the holidays.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/05/06 09:31 PM

That's fantastic!!! This is a huge opportunity for these kids. You might also start prepping the idea of private lessons too. Along with some cautions about how making changes sometimes makes you score worse before it gets better. But they need to have an open mind when they go there and have fun.

Erin
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/06/06 10:10 AM

Thanks Erin,
I think so too. Some of these kids are very inexperienced and never bowled in any competition, so this should help immensely.
Being a rookie coach its been tough trying to instill good practice habits, its not just eating french fries and kabitzing with your friends. I don't want to preach to them and lose them altogether, so hearing what I am trying to say, from former pro bowlers and certified gold coaches can only reafirm the message.
Plus they present it in a way that I cannot do, video tape etc. And then I have kids that are experienced, and have pretty good mechanics that are very receptive to suggestions. They will only be better for it.
This coaching thing isn't going to be easy, but I feel it will be rewarding in the long run.
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/06/06 10:51 AM

Eraser,
Good for you getting this set up. As far as coaching not going to be easy - true - but it sounds like you stepped up when nobody else would. I bowled in college and it was a great experience. Our coach always kept things interesting by doing drills and telling stories about his past competitions. He was always on lanes - I mean up on the approach - watching, really watching. We knew he really wanted us to do well. He never preeched, always coached. And we NEVER kept score.

That was 20 + years ago and I still do the same drills he tought us, and I NEVER keep score in practice.

He had a huge impact on the bowler I am today - and I am glad he stepped up to help - just like you. Have fun!
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/12/06 08:54 AM

What are some good drills I can have the kids do at practice. Like I said in an earlier post , we have a few kids that are treating practice as a social event. I need something to get these kids interested. Most of the other bowlers on the team are "veterans" that bowled on last years team and understand the importance of practice. We also have a few that are using old balls from their dad, uncles etc. that don't fit them. I have told them,(in a nice way)that they would bowl much better with a ball that was'nt plastic, and one that was fitted just for them.I even suggested a used inexpensive ball.. They don't seem interested in changing. I know you can't force them but...
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/12/06 10:52 AM


When kids go out for track, football and other sports it is expected that they have the proper equipment, like shoes and clothing. Even if you take geometry, you are expected to have the right equipment like a protractor, compass, pencil. A bowling ball of the correct weight drilled for you would be considered the correct equipment IMO, for this class.

Now since this program is so new, you probably cannot be too critical. However, I think it will come to requiring practise that is constructive and equipment that fits you or you don't get on the team or asked back next year. If this is now a class, you can select from this group the most promising kids for the team.

You might things change after Christmas. Perhaps some will get bowling balls for the holidays.

Erin
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/12/06 11:08 AM

Eraser - How long are your practices? You know how kids loose focus very fast.

When I bowled in college - our coach, as I stated earlier was pretty hands off - but that was college. You have younger kids so I would consider running it like practice for any other sport - break it up.

Warm up - Everyone bowls regular - Everyone stops and watches one bowler and talks about technique - Play a game of Low Ball - let them watch you bowl and crituque you - print pictures and diagrams off the internet and show form, balance, delivery - have goal setting sessions to find out what each kid really wants to get out of this - lots of other ideas but I'm getting long winded.

Of course I'm not suggesting doing everything every time - just pick a couple.

I think it's important to bowl as a group just so much of the time and pull kids aside for one on one time.

Oh yeah - & have fun

Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/12/06 11:31 AM

Erin ,
I hope some will get bowling equipment for X-Mas. I know one kid is getting a new Black Widow, but he is a pretty good bowler already. Its just difficult showing a proper release etc. when the ball falls of their hand. They look at me like...see that don't work.. they don't realize a better fit is 100% better than what they have. Parents are not present either so you can't mention it to them.

Jeff,
Our practices are about an hour and a half long. I think today we will do a bakers type match or two, towards the end of the session, boys vs. girls. A little freindly competition.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/12/06 03:26 PM

You can also do low ball where you get a 0 if you strike.

You can also do a 10 pin or 7 pin competition. See who picks up the most. Make them bowl an entire game of 10 or 7 pins (for lefties). Its good practise.

You can do a doubles competition where the highest bowler is paired with the lowest bowler.

As for the kids that need balls and their folks don't show up....write a note and send it home with the kid or mail it to them. That way you can explain to the parents why its so important to have the right ball for the bowler. Its terribly frustrating to try to learn something with inferior equipment.

Erin
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/12/06 04:11 PM

Great point, also maybe try to get your pro shop person to help out. Maybe some sort of discount pre arranged for your kids if their parent get them set up with proper equipment.

Maybe also you could do some sort of fund raiser if the money is just not available from the parents.

Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/13/06 08:46 AM

Thanks Erin and Jeff,
There is a pro shop in the center and a discount has been arranged and in place. Most of the bowlers told me they were getting a ball for X-mas, so thats great.
We had a productive practice yesterday, as we get closer to the season the kids are starting to get their "game face" on so to speak. We are doing fundraisers to aleviate some of the cost for the clinic, and to pay lane fees for the practice. I am learning something new everyday, its a work in progress.
Thanks for the help.!!
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/13/06 02:45 PM

Eraser,
Last night my coach from college drove down to watch my league. There a 6 of us in this leage that he coached at different times at the same college. I had not seen him in 15 years and it was great - talking about old times.

My point, he touched alot of lives and you are doing the same - keep up the great work!
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 12/15/06 10:59 AM

Thanks Jeff,
This is alot more work than I anticipated, I can only hope that I have the same positive effect on these kids that your coach has obviously had on you.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/03/07 11:36 AM

Friday is our first test. Match play for our team begins this week , Friday, with the clinic on Saturday. The kids seem excited about the upcoming season and the clinic. There are a few who I question their commitment. Oh well, we shall see. (Deep breath)... Here we go.....
Posted by: Brian Longo

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/03/07 11:59 AM

Good luck, Eraser. I would stress fun and sportsmanship over winning at that level. If you have both of those, the ones who are seemingly less committed may come around. Once some of those kids find out that bowling can also be a "social sport", they might enjoy it more and want to come back even better prepared mentally the next time.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/03/07 02:22 PM

Thanks Brian,
Thats the plan. Just do your best, have fun and whatever happens , happens.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/09/07 09:44 AM

Well the season has started with so so results. We had one meet where we just got pounded pretty good, but the one last night was much better. This was the first meet we had after we went on our little 4 hour clinic "field trip". The kids really enjoyed the clinic and were very receptive to what was being taught to them. Its so much easier to instruct them after they have seen themselves on video tape. You have no idea what you look like,or what flaws you need to work at untill you see them for yourself. The kids got kick out of seeing themselves and their teammates on the "big screen". Practice again today to try and reinforce what they learned. This is kinda fun..I'm glad I got involved. I still need to find a ball for one young lady. She uses a house ball and she struggles with it. Mom don't want to spend the money to get her a new ball, so I'm looking into a old ball to have drilled for her. So far the ones I have found are to heavy for her. Its a shame because this girl tries so,so hard..and when she makes a spare or an occasional strike she gets so excited. I wish Mom knew how much of handicap it is for her daughter to overcome.
Posted by: Brandon510

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/09/07 10:22 AM

Eraser,
I have old Pearl Red Hammer Lite, i believe it urthane ball 12 lbs that my mom use to use until i got her a new ball for Christmas laying around. I give it for free.

It probally needs to be refinished or polished though.



Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/09/07 10:51 AM

Dounds like things are progressing. I sympathize with you and the equipment issues. I run into this same thing with kids and band. Hopefully Brandon's offer will work out. We, unfortunately, do not have any used light weight equipment. Maybe if you put an add in a Penny Saver type neighborhood paper you would get some responses. Or ask the proprietor of your center if you can put some signs up soliciting light weight balls for the Jr program.

Erin
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/09/07 10:52 AM

Sounds like things are progressing. I sympathize with you and the equipment issues. I run into this same thing with kids and band. Hopefully Brandon's offer will work out. We, unfortunately, do not have any used light weight equipment. Maybe if you put an add in a Penny Saver type neighborhood paper you would get some responses. Or ask the proprietor of your center if you can put some signs up soliciting light weight balls for the Jr program.

Erin
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/09/07 10:54 AM

I appreciate the offer Brandon,
I just got off the phone and I think I tracked down an old Columbia Scout for her. Since she just started bowling this year , this should be a good fit for her.
Thanks again though.

Posted by: Brandon510

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/09/07 12:13 PM

Eraser,
Your Welcome. Your doing a great job with those kids. I wish i had bowling program in my high school i would of loved it. But was very active in youth league and helped keep me out of trouble. Keep it up!
Posted by: Reader

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/21/07 05:31 AM

Did you sell the clinic to the school and the parents?

How is the season progressing?
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/22/07 08:46 AM

Reader,
Yes , the kids went to the clinic and got a great deal out of it.
Its funny how after seeing yourself on video, you are more receptive to whats being instructed. They were able to see for themselves flaws in their technique. We were able to raise most of the money through 50/50 drawings and other fundraisers, so the out of pocket was minimal. The school even bussed all of us so it was great. It was a real good experience, we hope to do it again next year.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/30/07 09:43 AM

I just completed the USBC Level 1 coaches training class over the weekend. From what I understand I don't have to go through Level 2 to take the Bronze class, although I should. Has anyone gone through the Level 2 class? Is it beneficial? I see the Bronze class will require me to travel, there are none scheduled in Michigan. I wonder why that is. Thats most likely something I will check into in the future. I was just curious about the Level 2 class and how much more info I would get. But I guess you can never know too much.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/30/07 11:06 AM

I didn't take the Level ll, but from my understanding of the curriculum it is geared for continued coaching of Jr bowlers. So in your case where all you are working with are Jrs it might be a good idea. Especially since there's no Bronze level near you. The Bronze courses are hard to find. In 5 years there's only been two that have been within a 3 hour drive of me.

But the Bronze course has a lot of information in it and when you are given an oppotunity to go to one I would. I think there is a link on the coaching area of bowl.com that lets you request a class. Or follow the email links and write them.

Erin
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/30/07 11:32 AM

Thanks Erin,
I went to the USBC site the other day and it looks like the closest bronze class to me is in Kentucky. I'm not sure I'm ready for that just yet. There is a Level 2 class practically in my back yard this weekend, but prior commitments prevent me from attending. Thats why I was questioning how important it would be for me to pursue that level as well. I guess I will have to keep checking the USBC site from time to time, maybe I'll get lucky and one will be scheduled closer to me.
Thanks Again.
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/30/07 12:23 PM

Eraser -
Glad to hear you took the course - I was supposed to take Level I this past weekend also but my wife fell victum to the flu and had to take care her (she's worth it)

As far as the Bronze class, I was having trouble just finding a Level I in my area and I went to the coaches section and I emailed all the instructors in my area asking if they had plans for classes in the near future, a couple were in the works, just not on the website yet so maybe something is in the works for your area. Also, one instructor told me that I could see if there was interest in my area and if I could get a few people together then a class could be scheduled.

Just a thought.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/30/07 01:23 PM

Thanks SoCal,
I will give that a try. I asked the Level 1 instructor after the class on Saturday about the availability of Bronze classes in the area, and he basically said " GOOD LUCK". I believe he said he had to travel to Ohio, Which would'nt be too bad for me. None are scheduled as of yet though.
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/30/07 01:54 PM

Eraser,

How did you find the course? I know Level I is supposed to be pretty basic stuff - was there anything that you learned that you can apply to you bowling team?
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 01/30/07 02:59 PM

I went on the USBC site, www.bowl.com, and clicked on the coaching tab. Type in your zip, and they will show any classes in your area within how many miles you are willing to drive. Yes its pretty basic stuff, but there is some things I picked up and can apply to my situation. It gave me a little clearer way to present the message I was trying to get accross to the kids. In other words, same message, a little different presentation. Its worth the $60.00, and its a pre requisite to any other levels you would want to take. It also gives you a little credibility.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 02/21/07 07:31 AM

Well the season is winding down, with only a regional tourney and singles tourny left to go. It was quite an experience indeed. Although we did not do too well, I think the kids improved quite a bit, and had some fun along the way. Most of these kids never bowled before, so the challenge to make it enjoyable and also get better at the same time was a bit difficult at times. They would get frustrated when things did'nt go well, but the joy on their faces when they would finally see some success after working so hard was just great. I had a couple of parents come to me after practice yesterday and thank me for coaching their kids....that just made my day. I never expected to get this much out it, although difficult at times, it was also very rewarding too. I have not heard from the schools Athletic Director as far as doing this again next year, but if I am asked back I'm more than willing.
Posted by: SoCal Jeff

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 02/21/07 11:09 AM

Good job keeping it fun for the the kids Eraser and thanks for keeping us posted.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Tips 4 a 1st time coach - 02/21/07 06:37 PM

Good job Eraser. I remember your apprehension at first. It's great to have a rewarding experience like that. Parents appreciate your time and effort.