French coach Eric Courault visits International Training and Research Center


    USBC Coaching

    201004ITRCVisitEricCourault2.jpgBowling's global push to someday attain the Olympic spotlight has found an ally in French national bowling team head coach Eric Courault.

    L-R USBC High Performance Director David Garber, French bowling head coach Eric Courault, and Bill Hoffman, USBC Director of International Relations.

    In a whirlwind travel schedule that demonstrated Courault's tireless commitment to strengthening the Tenpin Bowling Association of France, Courault recently visited the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, just days after attending the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Paris – and then promptly left town en route to the European Youth Championships.

    "I am so impressed with his overall dedication to the sport and developing it further," says USBC Director of International Relations Bill Hoffman.

    If it seems to those who have worked with Courault that the man never rests, there is a reason for that.

    "For me the most enjoyable thing about coaching is that the job is never finished," Courault said during his stay in Arlington. "There are many goals to work toward."

    Courault's trip to the European Youth Championships in Paris reflects the one goal that he works most passionately to fulfill.

    "I want to develop youth players, that is a big goal for me," Courault said. "That is the future of the sport in France, and youth bowlers are especially important to the sport's Olympic goals."

    Courault's visit to the ITRC in Arlington was the follow-up to an invitation that the Tenpin Bowling Association of France extended to USBC coaches last year.

    The invitation reflected both Courault's interest in helping his athletes develop more quickly as well as the visible support those athletes enjoy from the French Sports Federation.

    201004ITRCVisitEricCourault1.jpg"We invited USBC to come evaluate the situation in France," Courault explains, "and now the important thing for me is to work with coaches myself, because coaches improve players. We're looking for USBC to help improve bowling education in France. I attended the Silver-level certification course in England and I came to Arlington to learn the philosophies behind USBC coaching and training programs.

    "The training center is beautiful," Courault said about the ITRC. "It is a very professional complex, with many tools such as C.A.T.S., grip pressure, motion capture and other coaching technologies."

    It is already apparent that Courault's effort is paying off. French bowler Francois Sacco qualified third for the Singles final at the 2008 Men's World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, and it took all-time PBA titlist and eventual gold medalist Walter Ray Williams Jr. to end Sacco's run in the semifinals. In the team portion of that same event, the French team shot a sensational 1,245 in game six, with scores of 248, 242, 234, 265 (Sacco) and 256.

    More recently, the girls' team gave a glimpse of the potential of youth talent in France at last week's European Youth Championships, finishing sixth in the Team event and only 35 pins out of a medal.

    Also, three of the girls Laurène Bouillier, Lauriane Celie and Anna-Belle Jean, finished in the top 25 for the all-events standings. One athlete in particular, Bouillier, showed the perseverance of a champion by rebounding from an opening game of 124 to come within seven pins of a medal in Singles.

    Those feats offered a nice glimpse of the French team's potential, but a mere glimpse is hardly enough to satisfy the coach who readily admits that his job "is never finished."

    "We're getting better," Courault said, "but we have not reached our potential."