Bowling making its mark in Spain thanks to USBC Coaching

    08/30/08

    Spain

    200808CostasMitsingasClinicSpain.jpg USBC Coaching is helping grow the sport of bowling in Spain. USBC Gold coach, instructor and ambassador Costas Mitsingas is seeing to that and has held a successful USBC Bronze coaching certification course recently in Madrid.

    A total of seven coaches, who were USBC Level I and Dick Ritger Level 2, earned their Bronze certification during the conference, which was held Aug. 1-3 at Bowling Chamartin. The USBC coaches from various parts of Spain expanded their expertise to coach intermediate-level bowlers.

    The course developed coaching skills in the four essential areas of bowling: the physical game, lane play, equipment and the mental game. Videotaping, video analysis and instruction on giving lessons were covered. The first two days were focused on classroom learning while coaches spent the final day on the lanes showing what they learned while working with students.

    200808CostasMitsingasClinicSpain2.jpg "The seminar went extremely well," said Mitsingas. "All of them showed solid skills. I was amazed at their determination and professionalism, like they had been doing this for a long time. Each of them realized from the very beginning the responsibility of becoming a coach. They were so focused on everything, even the smallest details. All of them had some coaching experience and they are extremely good bowlers. I would not be surprised to see any of those guys becoming champions and as coaches producing champions."

    One challenge Mitsingas faced in holding the conference was making sure that nothing was lost in translation.

    "I wanted the number of participants to be low for this first time in a country where not too many speak the English language, so as to have time to make the necessary translation," Mitsingas said.

    One of the students, Pablo Rodriguez, was impressed with the patience, dedication and thoroughness that Mitsingas, a resident of Cyprus, showed in traveling to teach the seminar.

    "The course was absolutely great," Rodriquez said. "It's pretty hard to explain all the knowledge required in order to pass the examination in just three days. We were both in classroom and on the lanes as much as was necessary. It was even harder because not all of use could speak as much English as necessary, so we had to make live translation."

    For Rodriguez and others, the hope is that this first USBC Bronze conference in their country translates to a growing number of bowling coaches to help the sport gain a foothold and grow in Spain.

    "We do need more coaches in Spain," Rodriguez said. "As far as we know, before this seminar we had just one USBC coach in Spain, Mr. Tony Escabias. We have around 2,000 lanes in our country but just 2,000 bowlers. Our federation has no programs for children and no coaches, trainers or officials, so we are taking the first steps. It was our first step, but it won't be the last one."

    In fact, Rodriguez said the coaches already are looking forward to taking the USBC Silver certification seminar.

    "We are taking the necessary steps to improve our skills in order to pass the USBC Silver certification as soon as possible," he said.

    Course attendee and class organizer Jesus Ballesteros praised Mitsingas and his efforts.

    "We appreciate all the efforts...to transmit to us not only the knowledge but the passion you feel about what you are doing," Ballesteros said. "This has been one of the greatest experiences that we have had in bowling (in Spain)."

    Despite Mitsingas' age - he is just 37 - he is one of the world's top bowling coaches. The former soccer and track star and lifelong bowler is one of only 31 USBC Gold coaches in the world. He is proficient using Ebonite BowlersMAPT and DigiTraxT, high-tech computer and video analysis software used by top USBC coaches.


    Future international coaching seminars planned
    Mitsingas said he is planning to teach USBC Coaching seminars in Greece, Italy, Cyprus and the United Kingdom.

    The Madrid seminar was part of USBC's international coaching effort to train and certify more bowling coaches around the world, with the ultimate goal to grow bowling worldwide and secure a spot for the sport in the Olympics.

    "The Madrid seminar was fantastic and gave us strength to fight to make our sport an Olympic sport, where it deserves to be," Mitsingas said.

    Mitsingas is on a mission for bowling and is confident he can help the sport reach its Olympic goal through coaching.

    "If I create coaches and bowlers even better than me sharing the same vision, then we will do it," he said.