Eight youth bowlers and seven coaches from The National Bowling Association were at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, on Friday to receive coaching and also had the opportunity to meet several members of Team USA.
For the second consecutive year, the USBC/TNBA Training Initiative brought in TNBA youth bowlers who had to the opportunity to go through training sessions much like those used by the ITRC staff during Team USA training camps.
The participants were: Brandon Burwell, 16, Union, N.J.; Whitney Harris, 19, Converse, Texas; Darien Howard, 17, Riverview, Fla.; Jadee Scott-Jones, 16, Riverside, R.I.; Jalen Scott-Jones, 18, Riverside, R.I.; Trent Mitchell, 17, Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Brandon Ward, 16, Baltimore, Md.; and Rashia Yero, 19, Memphis, Tenn.
Burwell, who is entering his junior year of high school, has been bowling for about eight years. He said he already had learned a few things about his game, such as his footwork needs to be fine-tuned and that in his backswing, "when I am going to release the ball, I kind of jerked. I didn't know I did that but I fixed it."
"This is a great opportunity, one in a million," Burwell added. "Not a lot of people get to do this."
Eric Kearney, USBC Officer of Diversity and Education, said the program is another symbol of the strong partnership between TNBA, which was founded in 1939, and USBC.
"It's important that the partnership between the TNBA and USBC prosper," Kearney said. "For the second year we have eight kids and seven coaches, which is an improvement over last year. We're happy these kids can have the Team USA training experience."
Leroy Mines Jr., a coach from Philadelphia, Pa., said he welcomed the opportunity to get up to date on coaching techniques.
"I'm already learning more than I expected," Mines said. "There are a lot of things people don't know about, as far as the technology. We don't have a lot of this so to get caught up on the technology is a great thing."
The other coaches attending were: Donald Armstead, Philadelphia, Pa.; Karen Harris, Converse, Texas; Joseph Haynes, Denton, Texas; Maria Ward, Baltimore, Md.; Terry Taylor, Union, N.J.; and Joyce Howard, Riverview, Fla.
Team USA members Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Shannon O'Keefe, Tennelle Milligan and Stefanie Nation were on hand to talk to the bowlers on Friday.
Yero, a sophomore who bowls for Jackson State University where she is studying biology with a concentration in physical therapy, was excited for the chance to talk to Team USA members. She has been active with TNBA, serving on the TNBA Junior Council, a two-year program that works with TNBA on youth initiatives.
"This is so awesome," Yero said. "You see these ladies bowl on TV, and you say I want to be like them. Now to have the opportunity to actually work with them, that makes me feel like I can be like them."
The program was open to youth bowlers between the ages of 16 and 19 who have current TNBA/USBC certification and have competed in TNBA certified leagues/regional tournaments during the past two bowling seasons. Participants had to fill out an application and provide letters of recommendation and a school transcript to be considered.
Contact TNBA Junior Program Director Barbara Armstead at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amanda Vermilyea at the IBC at email@example.com for information about the TNBA program.