Youth Rule needed By Dick Evans

    04/18/08

    Column

    USBC should do a study to see if two-handed style is dangerous for young junior bowlers

    ColumnistDickEvans.jpg I thought I was a minority of one in believing that the USBC should do a study to investigate the impact of the two-handed delivery on the development of young bowlers until reading Bob Rea's column in the April issue of TenPin Alley and Colorado Bowler News.

    I originally began to think there might be a similarity between the two-handed bowling danger for youngsters and the curve ball ruling in Little League baseball.

    Years ago, somebody in Little League baseball figured out that it was potentially harmful to young pitcher's elbows to allow a youngster to throw curve balls in practice or games.

    Of course, this ruling did not stop the young pitchers from developing a curve ball while playing catch with a father or buddy.

    After I read stories and watched a couple two-handed bowlers, I got the impression it may be hard on the backs of growing junior bowlers – maybe not today or tomorrow but when they are 40 or 50.

    Noted coach John Jowdy endorsed my worry. But he is a buddy so he may only have been being nice.

    Then I read the story by Bob Rea, a fellow member on the new Coaches Hall of Fame Task Force and a man who has taught bowling in 13 foreign countries and was instrumental in upgrading the In-School bowling program for BPAA.

    Bob Rea wrote:

    "I would like to go on record as one who believes that teaching the two-handed bowling style, though effective for some, should not be encouraged nor endorsed by our industry.

    "I first heard the call by some of our industry's more respected coaches that the two-handed delivery is here to stay and coaches should learn how it is done so they can coach kids who gravitate toward the style.

    "This in my opinion is madness.

    "The primary reason for my opposition to the two-handed bowling style is the risk of injury (for juniors). Even if the bowler does not injure the lower back and/or spine after many years of bowling with a two-handed style, the bowler will have such an imbalance in the lower back muscles that surround the spine that problems likely will surface later into adult life.

    "I am not a doctor or medical expert, so I decided to investigate my theory.

    "A chiropractor was certain that there was a high likelihood that bowling with this style of delivery would lead to lower back problems. In the opinion of a rehabilitation therapist, problems would show up in the 40-60 year age groups for those who used this style," Rea added.

    The USBC studies bowling balls, lanes and pins on a routine bases.

    I agree with Bob Rea and suggest the USBC should launch an immediate study to see if others in the medical profession agree that youngsters should not try two handed bowling until age 16 or 18.

    Linda Scott, a member of the USBC Board of Directors and a 200 plus average bowler for years, knew about my interest in curtailing junior two-handed bowler so she sent me the note that follows:

    "I was helping at the Oregon state youth tournament and there was a 5-year-old boy who was throwing a 15-pound ball with both hands. He put his right hand in the ball, then ran to the line holding the ball in front of him, tossed the ball out onto the lane almost to the left gutter and it moved about 20 boards back to the right and occasionally crashed into the pocket. He was surprisingly accurate at what looked like a purely random toss, and he had amazing ball speed.

    'But he seemed to be complaining to his grandmother about his thumb hurting. I doubt they will ever be able to make him happy to roll a ball that hooks instead of backing up and covers only 10 boards, and I'm NOT sure his arms and thumb will hold out past about age seven."

    That is a danger for fast growing junior bowlers possibility could be doing bodily injury as they grow older.

    And another way of protecting youngsters against themselves would be for the USBC/BPAA/PBA and all tournament promoters to get together and agree that no youngster still in high school can bowl in a tournament during the school year until he/she has graduated from high school or his/her class has graduated.

    Bowling is trying to convince educators about the physical values of bowling yet some segments of the bowling industry are allowing 16 year olds to bowl in national tournaments against adults on school days. I don't think that is mentally healthy for a junior bowler no matter how talented he/she is physically to bowl up to 48 games plus practice games in a four day period.

    Kids need a chance to enjoy childhood. They also need to be in the classroom when school is in session.

    I remember that in 1962 I wrote that teenager Judy Audsley (now Judy Soutar) competed in the BPAA U.S. Open for 11 days while missing high school in Kansas City. The next year the BPAA prohibit any high school player from bowling in the U.S. Open and not long later Eddie Elias added the rule to the PBA tour.

    Junior athletes in any sport often have to be protected from themselves and even sometimes from their overbearing parents.

    Little League baseball was a pioneer in that department with its curve ball ruling. I personally hope that bowling will review its junior policies.

    Email address: Evans121@aol.

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