The most exciting time in the growth of a child is when they reach a new highlight in their life. Whether it be crawling, walking, or any new accomplishment in any sport, seeing the face of a child that has just experienced something new is a precious moment for all of us to witness and enjoy. Kids who bowl can reach these new highs weekly, giving bowling one of the best ways to get your child involved in a competitive sport while allowing them to have fun, grow in confidence, get exercise, earn scholarships and build new friendships.
Let me indulge in my thoughts of why children play sports, why parents enroll their children in sports, and finally why people coach. The most common reasons that children choose to play sports are to have fun, learn new skills, and make new friends. On the contrary, parents often look to sports to challenge their children, engage them in competition, and set winning as the goal. Large discrepancies between a child and parent’s interest in sports can potentially have negative psychological effects on the child, or lead to physical injury.
Coaches can also have a significant impact on the youth bowling experience, whether positive or negative. People who volunteer to coach should enjoy and relate to children, know the sport and teach it well, and keep child-focused goals. This will create a positive experience for the children.
All youth coaches are United States Bowling Congress certified and are trained to teach kids of all abilities. The intangibles of these coaches give them the ability to ensure that all kids have fun while learning the game at his/her own pace.
With over 30 years of coaching bowling, I have found the value of the physical, psychological, and emotional benefits to children in sports are fantastic. However, when the expectations of adults become too high and they over control young bowlers, the pressure to win is overemphasized, and many of the benefits of our sport are negated
Bowling, like many sports, has many health benefits. Bowling burns calories, builds muscle, develops strong bones, strengthens hand eye coordination, and improves balance and flexibility. Three games of bowling on average equates to walking a mile while burning more than 200 calories an hour, depending on how heavy your ball is and how many times you bowl. Bowling also activates and builds 134 muscles in the body while improving your balance and increasing your hand eye coordination.
There are also social benefits of the game such as creating new friends and family bonding, and bowling is a lifetime sport that you can do from preschool to well into your senior years. Bowling also builds emotional health. It can help relieve stress and build confidence.
Bowling is a great way to get some exercise.
I believe that the participation in bowling should be a positive experience for kids. Bowling like all sports can help develop such characteristics as confidence, self-esteem, leadership, respect, independence, assertiveness, and conflict resolution, just to name a few. I feel parents and coaches need to be positive role models who support the efforts of these young athletes and keep the “competition” in perspective.
Bowling is a sport where no-one sits on the bench and where all participants can have fun, make new friends and show steady improvement. Because no-one sits on the bench, all kids have the same opportunity to improve and reach new heights.
The neat thing about bowling is that for one athlete it could be knocking down pins without using the bumpers, for another it could be a strike or spare. As their skills develop, the highlight could be their first 75, 100, 150, 200 game or maybe the pinnacle of bowling, the perfect 300 game. It could be a new high series of 100, 200, 500 or a 600 series. The new highs for every player are different. For some kids, a 75 game may be the highlight of their day, and for others, their first 700 series. Bowling allows all kids to have fun while achieving new heights at their own pace.
Aside from aforementioned benefits, all youth bowlers have the potential to do what is generally limited to only the elite athletes in other sports and that is earn scholarships. Junior bowlers can earn scholarships for their weekly achievements. Bowlers earn scholarships for perfect attendance, stickers of success, pins over average in a game or series to name a few. Just as kids reach new highlights at their own pace, they earn scholarships at their own pace as well based on their ability. Bowlers as young as 2 years old have earned scholarships. Scholarships are placed into their account for their future education.
Most bowling centers have all types of specialized youth programs that can lead into more structured middle school and high school programs that are great for the student athlete. Bowling even has specialized equipment to allow handicap people to bowl, and children at ludicrously low ages.
So why not choose bowling as the sport for your kids looking for something to do? Kids get to learn new skills at their own pace, they have fun, make new friends and earn scholarships. Parents get to challenge their kids and engage them in competition, just don’t make winning the priority at first. All this while the coaches keep child focused goals in mind for all players at all levels while having fun. And while you’re at it, go bowl with them, it’s a great family sport that we all can participate in.
Bowling brings the learning experience to the lanes. Come bowl with us where no-one sits on the bench!