Kegel's C.A.T.S. is just what doctor ordered for bowlers, coaches, spectators and writers

    05/10/05

    Column

    By Dick Evans

    ColumnistDickEvans.jpgI have to confess that I never really appreciated the C.A.T.S. scoring device until attending the Kegel World Ranking Tournament this week. Being a Doubting Thomas about things I don't understand is sometimes good because I have a greater appreciation for the device when you see it in operation. The Kegel Training Center here is a computerized marvel compared to all other bowling facilities world wide.

    And C.A.T.S. (Computer Aided Tracking System) is a marvelous device for spectators, bowlers, coaches and even writers. Instantaneously it gives you information that the human eye can not pick up or the human brain can not immediately comprehend.

    C.A.T.S was invented by the American Bowling Congress and Women's International Bowling Congress in Greendale, Wis., but it has found a home here at the Kegel Training Center. John Davis, founder of Kegel, purchased the rights to C.A.T.S. and he and his Kegel staff have improved it to fit their needs.

    For example, a bowler or coach can get a printout of an entire game, which shows:
    1. The ball position at the arrows.
    2. The ball position at the pins.
    3. The initial velocity of the ball when it leaves the bowler's hand.
    4. The launch angle of the ball from the foul line.
    5. The entry angle at the pins (generally speaking, the more extreme the entry angle is, the more often a bowler will strike.
    6. The rotation of the ball as it travels the 60 feet to the pins.
    7. The pins left standing.

    On the particular bowler's chart I picked up after a dressing pattern of long oil on one lane and short oil on the second lane, I discovered:
    1. On the right lane, his ball position at the arrows ranged from 21.10 to 22.74 and on the left lane a low reading of 10.14 to a pair of 11.62.
    2. His rotation of the ball went from a pair of 313 to 427.
    3. In the process of the game he left the nine pin on his first shot and then in rotation of shots left the 1-2-8, the two pin, rolled three consecutive strikes, a three pin, rolled another strike, a 3-6, a10 pin and then he struck on his final ball for a 214 game.
    4. There is even a colored chart showing the path of his ball on each shot from the foul line to the pins.

    And each bowler gets a complete analysis of each game. I watch a lot of tennis on TV and sit in awe as they throw up a chart illustrating where each of his/her serves landed during the course of a match. Little wonder that nations like Malaysia have been talking to Kegel officials about building a training center in its country.

    I am sure that all of the coaches here, and there are many, would love to have a C.A.T.S. machine to use during practice sessions back home. It would be like a football quarterback working with a quarterback coach as they analyze his technique on every pass, starting with the position of his feet, the shoulder/arm position when the ball leaves his hand, the spiral of the ball and the accuracy of the pass.

    Believer me, no sport has any teaching mechanism better than C.A.T.S. I'm happy to report that I'm no longer a Doubting Thomas when it comes to the value of C.A.T.S. Ditto for the value of Jeri Edwards to the United States' coaching program for amateur bowlers.

    Her crowning achievement came Thursday when she helped both of the United States' bowlers - Diandra Asbaty and John Janawicz - rallied during the third eight-game block to lead the way into match-game competition Friday.

    I personally like the way Jeri coaches. She's a cheerleader part of the time and an astute coach part of the time. She seems to know the difference between one bad shot and when the bowler is losing his/her confidence or timing.

    Jeri, a one time national tour champion who helps Fred Borden run his bowling center in Akron, retains a smile and a positive attitude at all times. I would compare her style to a basketball coach who sits calmly and observes and then teaches during timeout to the basketball coaches who walk up and down the court shouting instructions to his players and raising heck with the officials.

    I have always preferred a calm/cool/confident coach to one who rants and raves. Diandra, who penned an '8' on her hand before the third round because her grandmother instructed her to do it for good luck, rolled a 1,994 final-round score compared to Janawicz's 1,919. However, the two-time ABC champion, finished with a higher average - 232.38 compared to 227.42.

    Diandra might have cried about the fact that she got only two hours of sleep after her plane arrived late Monday night, but she didn't. She said this was work and she was up to the task. The pins agreed.