How I Learned to Bowl by Ed Cotter

How I Learned to Bowl by Ed Cotter


My apologies for the tardy posting, but some unfortunate events derailed my progress.  I’m slowly regaining the ground I lost.


I started bowling late, compared to the youth I coach now, I’m definitely a non-traditional student.  Most of the youth I coach have been bowling since they were 5 or younger while I started in my 20’s.  A friend gave me my first ball, a Manhattan Rubber.  Which is starkly different from the equipment I use now, Brunswick, Hammer, and Storm.  It’s something to look back over the years I have been bowling and see the changes in the game, lanes, and equipment that have come about.


I was fortunate and found a co-worker willing to be a coach for me.  Being new to bowling, I didn’t know about coaches so I didn’t look for one.  We would spend our lunches at the bowling center.  He would introduce me to a new item to work on as I became proficient on the previous item.  He stressed one piece of advice to me, work on one thing at a time.  I use and follow that advice now.  My coaching training and experience have reinforced that advice.  One thing I learned early was equipment doesn’t make the bowler.  You can buy the latest and greatest and never accomplish your goals.  You have to learn how to use what you have before you can become a proficient bowler.


I followed my co-worker’s advice religiously, after he showed me that he could average 185.  He was accomplishing that over 20 years ago.  I guess I fell into the trap of needing the coach to have something that was above and beyond what others or myself could do.  I know now that is a fallacy.  There are a lot of coaches that may not be able to play the game well, but can understand the game better at an intellectual level. 


My style hasn’t changed much from when I first started.  The biggest change was going from a 3-step to a 4-step approach.  Over the years I have tried to work on my arm swing and approach.  I had a hitch on my second step and tended to muscle the ball quite a bit.  The best arm swing is free and loose and the best approach is heel-toe till the slide step.  It’s proven to be a challenge to teach a dog new trick(s).  I have pretty much worked out my approach hitch, but still want to grip and rip the arm swing.


My suggestion to new bowlers is to have a coach help you learn your style, not someone else’s.  Each bowling style is unique, but they still all contain essential elements for an effective bowling style.  A piece of advice, don’t try to be something you’re not.  Not everyone is going to crank the ball.  Look at Norm Duke and Walter Ray Williams, Jr.  They are very competitive at a down and in type of ball motion.  The best thing to do is to learn how you bowl and perfect it.


As a coach I’m willing to help anyone who has the desire to become a better bowler.  If you have any questions feel free to leave them in a comment below.  Good luck and good bowling!

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