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 Post subject: Light Weight Bowling Balls for Young Children
 Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:47 pm Post Number: #1 Post
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I stopped by one of the bowling centers over the weekend that hosts some youth bowling leagues. I was curious to see how well attended, the age ranges, how they were developing, and who/how many were "coaching" this group. One thing I noticed was that the very young appeared to be somewhat struggling to deal with their bowling equipment. When I checked, I found that the lightest bowling balls supplied by the center, and available from the Pro Shop were 6 pound balls. When I asked at the desk why they didn't offer 4- or 5-pound balls, I got a blank look and the response that bowling balls only come in weights of 6 to 16 pounds.
I am certain that KR Strikeforce carries Lind's Easy Fit House Balls in 4 and 5 pound balls. I'd like to introduce these house balls to the youth bowling community, BUT they are only available for purchase by Bowling Centers and Pro Shops - I am not one.
Since the local establishment chooses to ignore this equipment, do any of you know where I can purchase one or two as a trial balloon, and how much they may cost?

Thanks, Glenn


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 Post subject: Re: Light Weight Bowling Balls for Young Children
 Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:17 am Post Number: #2 Post
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Hi Glenn,
A little background, I was a Saturday Youth Coordinator for over 25 years....for what that's worth.

I recommend never using less than 8 pounds, regardless of age.

Those 5/6 pounders more than often constantly get stuck at the ball lift in the back, just to light for the lift. And due to the slow ball speed often stop before they reach the back.

They also hit the pins like a ping pong ball.

What I typically did was take the house 8 pound balls to the pro shop and have them plugged & drilled for shorter spans, pitched accordingly with smaller hole sizes.

Most of the 8-year-old's could easily use these balls to learn the game.

We would store them away just for the youth each Saturday.

If they are too small to use a properly fitted 8 pounder then they should be using a ball ramp until they are older or capable.

Also, with a properly fitted 8-pounder they will learn what it feels like to have the ball swing the arm, rather than the arm trying to swing the ball.

I think you'll find that the house 8-pounders hole sizes are either too small or too large for that age youth, not to mention pitches are horrible.

Our pro shop didn't charge for this as he knew why I was doing this.

Even if you have to pay it will cheaper than buying new balls.

my 2 cents

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 Post subject: Re: Light Weight Bowling Balls for Young Children
 Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:56 am Post Number: #3 Post
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Jim, thanks very much for your input. Obviously, I was heading in the wrong direction - I always learn something new/different. I need to go back and do some additional observations.

The youth coordinator has been in this business since 1995, and is the only one I saw on the floor giving the leagues any guidance. This youth program utilizes all 36 lanes going from youngest to older across the lanes.

These kids that caught my eye are in the the 5-6 year old category (and maybe younger - I am not that good at guessing ages) who are being tutored by their parents (I guess). This youngest group has the bumpers up, but attempts to bowl one-handed. I don't believe I saw any of them bowling 2-handed between-the-legs, and no ball ramps were in sight (the center does have them). I need to pay closer attention to see if these kids are all using the 6-pound house balls, or if any have their own equipment (I doubt it). They really seem to struggle with these balls (act like they are carrying a pail of water to the foul line), and kinda just dump it on the lane. My reaction was that there has to be a better way to introduce the very youngest to bowling while having some fun.

I know of a very well organized youth program about one+ hour from me. Maybe I should go there and see how they work - might learn some more things.

Glenn


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 Post subject: Re: Light Weight Bowling Balls for Young Children
 Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:10 pm Post Number: #4 Post
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Glenn wrote:
Jim, thanks very much for your input.

The youth coordinator has been in this business since 1995, and is the only one I saw on the floor giving the leagues any guidance. A BIG CONGRATS TO HIM!

These kids that caught my eye are in the 5-6-year-old category (and maybe younger - I am not that good at guessing ages) who are being tutored by their parents (I guess). This can be good and bad :roll:

They really seem to struggle with these balls (act like they are carrying a pail of water to the foul line), and kinda just dump it on the lane. Remember the age group, you are referring to has only been walking upright on two feet for 4/5 years, and now we are adding a weighted object to one side of the body.

My reaction was that there has to be a better way to introduce the very youngest to bowling while having some fun. See below
Glenn


I also traveled around a 150-mile radius of my home certifying Level 1 & 2 coaches for USBC for a time.

Typically, in those age groups, bumpers are mandatory, but we started them out learning the game by standing at the foul line and delivering the ball from a stationary position by just swinging the ball back and release.

Here is an excellent example:


With the kids for starters, get them at the line with slide foot forward and trail foot back and to the left (right-handed bowler).

Hold the ball down at the side, swing back and release.

Don't get too caught up in all the technical position of the body with this age group.

It's important that they maintain balance, only allow them to swing the arm back and through at a pace that doesn't throw them off balance.

With this drill, the influence should be on straight back and through.

Often, I would get down on my knees (important to be at their level) and lightly hold their throwing arm at the wrist and guide them back and through. Both with and without the ball.

Even better yet, is to explain this drill to the parents so that they can help their own kids.

Of course, you can also find a house ball and demonstrate this drill.

Kids are great at imitation!

For any of this to happen...the center must be on board with you helping the kids.

Then have the center make an announcement who you are and why you're there.

If you p.m me your address, I will send you a USBC Level 1 manual.

All the best,
Jim

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 Post subject: Re: Light Weight Bowling Balls for Young Children
 Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:39 pm Post Number: #5 Post
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Jim,

I intend to keep this dialog with you in a folder for future reference; very helpful.

Thanks for your offer on the Level 1 material - I have at least two copies of it as I will occasionally revisit the seminar for a refresher. I currently am Bronze Level and eyeing the Silver Level but don't want to lose sight of what's going on with the junior bowlers and the Level 1 coaches.

Glenn


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 Post subject: Re: Light Weight Bowling Balls for Young Children
 Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:48 am Post Number: #6 Post
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Hi guys, I was reading this thread and what keeps coming to my mind is that if an object is too heavy for one hand then why not use two. I know it can be a bit controversial for some but hey Jim, you were at Jr Gold in Cleveland and you and I saw first hand the success two handed bowlers are having in today's bowling environment. I am thinking that two handed bowling may be learned very naturally if thought from an early age, start with no step/no thumb, then one step, then three and so on.

Off topic, Kegel will be offering the Silver Level Coach course in January and I just decided I am going.

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 Post subject: Re: Light Weight Bowling Balls for Young Children
 Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:14 pm Post Number: #7 Post
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Tony, you mean two hands and between the legs? (Just kidding)

The same thought crossed my mind, too. I have read that youngsters are naturals at two-handed bowling. Also, that would help address the issue of finding a house ball with the proper span since the thumb would not be involved. I did see one or two kids in different age groups attempting to do two-handed bowling, but they were just slinging the ball down the lane (a two-handed side-ways release). I didn't really see anyone trying to tutor them in properly developing the two-handed technique.

A couple of the older kids (teens) were doing two-handed, but I thought they lost consistency and accuracy by trying to generate (force) too many revs and too much speed. Of course, maybe they were just having fun generating the hook monster.

My personal experience with the two-handed release has been comical. I felt that I should understand it better when dealing with people exploring the release. If I stand at the foul line and release from the left gutter, I can release it across the lane to the right side near the right gutter, and have it snap back to the pocket. But when I try to add steps to the release, I fall apart (rolls over the thumb, doesn't generate any revs - LOL!)

Glenn


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