ARLINGTON, Texas - Stephen Padilla of Mansfield, Texas, has logged more than a decade of experience as a certified bowling coach and recently reached the pinnacle of his field by earning Gold-level coaching status from the United States Bowling Congress Coaching Certification and Development department.
Padilla, 36, is a USBC Coaching Specialist at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, and his primary responsibilities are organizing and conducting Silver certification classes, serving as a mentor to many USBC-certified coaches and overseeing USBC's Regional Facilities program.
He also spends time offering his expertise at the International Training and Research Center, the home of the Team USA bowling program, as an assistant coach.
"Bowling was a part of my plan when I entered college, and thanks to persistence, hard work and some good fortune in the industry, working in the bowling center and actually competing, I've gotten this amazing opportunity," Padilla said. "People coach many years to get to this level, and because of other opportunities, such as my first coaching position offered by Gold coach Richard Shockley, and several great jobs I've had along the way, I've been able to accelerate my coaching career. I am very grateful and excited to continue coaching."
The process of becoming a USBC Gold coach, the highest level one can achieve through USBC, is similar to obtaining a doctorate in a field of study. Currently, there are 24 active Gold coaches.
Candidates are required to demonstrate knowledge of the latest techniques and information through practical application and discussion. The final review program requires a coach to conduct a class, participate in an oral exam and give lessons to bowlers of various skill levels, which includes lesson plans and a ball-motion study. The final review board consists of active USBC Gold coaches and USBC staff.
"Stephen has dedicated much of his life and career to helping others improve and excel on the lanes, and he has worked very hard to become our newest USBC Gold coach," said USBC Director of Coaching Certification and Development Carolyn Dorin-Ballard. "We congratulate him on his dedication and proudly welcome him into this elite group."
Padilla graduated from Florida State University in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in nutrition and fitness and immediately found employment in the bowling industry at the Kegel Training Center in Florida. He earned his USBC Bronze certification in 2002 and Silver in 2004. He moved into his current role with USBC in 2008.
His personal bowling career started at age 2 with help from his parents, who were his first coaches on the lanes and allowed him to sit in on his first coaching class about 10 years later. Growing up in a military family, bowling was one of the few constants on every military base.
The highlight of Padilla's bowling career came in 2009 when he and his wife, former Team USA member Brenda Padilla, claimed the Regular Doubles title at the USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas with a record score of 1,566.
"The things I had done in bowling leading up to that day in Las Vegas actually helped me more than I expected," Padilla said. "Coaching helped me see things differently and make better decisions. I didn't have to focus as much on the physical things to be successful.
"That experience, along with becoming a Gold coach, means a great deal to me, but they're different. They both have great emotional value and make me extremely proud, and it's amazing to be able to reach top level as both a coach and a player."
Click here for the updated list of active USBC-certified coaches broken down by certification level.