Skip Pavone had a hunch that it was time to try something new in the Cambrian Sport League he runs at Cambrian Bowl in San Jose, Calif.
It was a hunch he followed to Arlington, Texas, last summer, where he visited the International Training and Research Center. By the time he headed home, his hunch had turned into an idea.
“Normally, they get a bowling ball by the end of the league,” Pavone explains of his Cambrian Sport League bowlers. “But everybody’s kind of sick of bowling balls. So I came up with this idea to go out to the training center in Arlington and everything worked out.”
Pavone pitched the idea as “the bowling experience of a lifetime,” and the bowlers agreed agreed to pay $35 per week and have $20 of that weekly fee reserved to fund the trip. By the end of the season they had enough money to fund two half-day training sessions at the ITRC, flights to Arlington, hotel costs, and even a night at The Ballpark in Arlington to watch a Texas Rangers baseball game.
“The training center staff was amazing, not just with their training but also with how they treated us,” Pavone said.
The group of bowlers Pavone brought to Arlington were Sport Bowling High Average Award winners and beginners whose averages hovered around 110. They were competitors looking to tool up their game for the next PBA Regional and casual bowlers just trying to learn how to convert a spare.
But no matter what level of skill they brought to the ITRC, all of them left a better bowler.
“There was one really low-average bowler that came with us, and just from that coaching session she has now raised her average 20 pins because she is throwing it straight in front of her now and her ball’s not going all over the place anymore,” says Jason Ross, a PBA Regional competitor and Cambrian Sport bowler who came along for the trip.
Pavone and the group bowled on 12 different Sport Bowling patterns, received hands-on instruction from Team USA coaches such as Rod Ross, Kim Terrell-Kearney and Bryan O’Keefe, attended class sessions in which they discussed everything from the cores of bowling balls to Abralon pads, and much more.
“I had to change my game recently and as a result I wasn’t getting the same ball speed I used to get,” Pavone explains. “Rod took one look at where my elbow was when I held the ball and he straightened me out in 10 minutes.”
Pavone hopes to bring the league back to Arlington again next year. And if the bowlers he brought to Arlington with him this year have any say in it, that hunch he had a year ago just might become a tradition.
“Whether you are looking for high-tech stuff or just looking for the basics, I think you can get it all there,” says Jason Ross. “I absolutely loved it. I think it’s a state-of-the-art training center. I mean, there is no place I’ve ever been to that’s like that.
“The personal attention we got from the coaches was great, and I love the play-back screens that let you watch your shot after you throw it. I told Skip ‘Whether we come back as a group or not, I am definitely going back, even if it’s just by myself.’”
For more information about the ITRC, visit http://www.bowlingitrc.com/.