BY DENNIS BERGENDORF
From intensive coaching to day care with a bowling ball, summer camps offer a little bit of everything. Increasingly, camps are developing curricula for teenagers with Junior Gold in their sights — and for those aiming for a college scholarship. But there’s also room for adults who just want to get better.
Some camps are true “resident” experiences, with students staying in college dorms or hotels for a few nights. Others are for “commuters.” In any event, most are taught by coaches who not only know the sport, but know how to teach fundamentals and advanced techniques, including the popular two-handed (or no-thumb) style.
Many centers conduct regular local one or two-hour clinics, and we have not included those, so check with a couple of pro shops to see if classes are scheduled in your area.
Some of the listed camps offer a free ball to participants, but it’s wise to check the web site or Facebook page to make sure.
Kegel Training Center's “Standard” camps cover Elite Physical Game Characteristics (Aug. 3-54) and Championship Mental Game and Lane Play Techniques (Aug 10-13). Physical Game is $700, and Mental Game/Lane Play is $850. Campers receive a Columbia 300 ball. Del Warren’s Intensive Road Show makes several stops, including Pinheads in Fishers, Indiana, June 14-16. Tuition is $595, with a ball for $695. Info at kegeltrainingcenter.com/summer-camps.
The ITRC Super Camp boasts a coach-to-student ratio of 4:1 and a star-studded roster of instructors including 19-time PBA Tour champion Chris Barnes, USBC Hall of Famer Kim Terrell-Kearney, renowned “Camp Bakes” instructor Mark Baker, 18-time PBA Tour champion Tommy Jones, and Team USA coaches Rod Ross and Bryan O’Keefe. Taking place Sept. 12-15, topics will include lane play on sport conditions, adjusting to transition, arsenal assessment, versatility and more. Lunch will be provided each day. Tuition is $1,295. To register or for more info, go to BowlingITRC.com.
Dick Ritger Bowling Camps presents four-day camps that incorporate the Ritger system, with before-and-after videos. Tuition: $495. A team of coaches is led by Kelly Kulick. There are also four-day repeat/returning classes, three-day accelerated programs and two-day refreshers. Info: ritgerbowlingcamp.com.
Your Bowling Coach with Aleta Sill and Michelle Mullen at Country Lanes in Farmington Hills (Detroit) sells out every year. Advanced Summer Camp, for higher-averages, June 17-19. Tuition $375-400.
The three-day Average Builder camp (July 15-17) has actual competition. $375-400. And an eight-session high school training camp begins June 20. $200. Info: yourbowlingcoach.com/lessons/summer-camps-2
Bowling Revolutions presents a three-day Junior Gold prep clinic at Strike & Spare in Murfreesboro, Tenn., June 18-20. Tuition is $149. Several “Learning the Modern Game” and “Physical Game and Lane Play” clinics are also scheduled through the summer, with Bob Learn Jr and Amleto Monacelli. Tuition $75-99. Info: bowlingrevolutions.co/index.php.
Camp Bakes’ spring camp is again sold out, but slots are open for Oct. 8-11 at Sunset Station, Henderson, Nev. Among the coaches are Mark Baker, Doug Kent, Robin Romeo and Dave Husted. Tuition of $1,250 includes three 900 Global balls and two shirts. Info at campbakes.com.
Pro Image Camp is set for June 28-30 at Rockaway Lanes, Rockaway, N.J.
Three USBC Gold certified coaches (Jeri Edwards, Gordon Vadakin, and Ken Yokobosky). Study includes understanding equipment, the mental game, grip analysis, physical mechanics, and adjusting to changing lane conditions. Students get computer analysis on video with voice commentary. $675. Lodging available. Info: proimagebowling.com/pro-image-bowling-camp
Marianne DiRupo Bowling Camps offers a two-day event focusing on timing, footwork, arm swing, spares, use of tape, release, lane play, and adjusting ball speed. (June 22-23 at Holiday Bowl in Oakland, N.J). More camps are in the works. Tuition: $275. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Western NY State Junior Bowling Camp, Tonawanda Bowl, July 6-7. Stresses physical and mental game and lane-play and adjusting. Skill competitions, take-home materials. E.J. Tackett and Doug Kent headline a strong group of coaches. Tuition: $169. Info: wnyjuniorbowlingcamp.com
Other Extended Coaching
Henson’s Bowling Academy. Full academic year of classroom instruction, with individualized drills, private lessons, practice time, research, essays, tests, physical fitness, and nutrition. Info: hensonbowlingacademy.com/wordpress
College and High School
Wichita State University presents several Shocker Bowling Camps. Boys’ weekend camp is June 14-17, and co-ed camps are June 21-24 and July 5-8. Award-winning coaches Gordon Vadakin and Mark Lewis give kids an idea what goes into the powerhouse WSU program. Tuition is $650 (includes lodging). A youth Day Camp (July 11) focuses on fundamentals, including spare shooting. $100. Info: www.wichita.edu/thisis/home/?u=bowlingcamp
Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Warhawk Bowling College Prep Camp (June 28-30) is geared to the serious bowler who wants to compete at the collegiate level. The Warhawk Bowling Camp (July 26-28). Focused instruction for young bowlers who already have a good grasp of bowling. Tuition for each: $360-410. Camps are open to players entering grades 7-12. UWWW campus, Whitewater, WI. Info: uww.edu/ce/camps/athletic/bowling.
Mustang Camp at Mount Mercy University is again back-to-back two-day sessions — June 8-9 covering the physical game, and 10-11 for the mental game, at May City Bowl in Cedar Rapids. Team USA assistant coach Andy Diercks leads award-winning instructors. Each session is $200 ($495 for both, and includes a Storm ball). Info: totalcamps.com/mustangbowling.
Two high schools in Louisville continue their summer camps. Trinity’s “regular” camp is June 3-7; and the advanced camp June 10-13 at Ten Pin Strike & Spare. Cost is $115-125. Info: trinityrocks.com/rock-the-summer/trinity-bowling-camp. St. Xavier’s Camp X is June 3-7 for 7th to 11th graders, at Executive Strike & Spare. $165. Info: www.saintx.com/admissions/campx.
Single-Day Camps and Clinics
Tennessee Road to the Gold. Junior Gold prep (kids 8-20) featuring equipment preparation, mental game strategies, fundamentals of reading lanes, and a thorough evaluation of the physical game. Silver-level coaches Mike Ransom and David McGowan. Tenn Pin Alley in Columbia, June 1 and Savannah Bowling Center, June 15. Tuition $75. Info at: tnbowling.com/TRTTG/Road-To-The-Gold
Mike Shady’s Peak Performance Bowling hosts half-day sessions (two sessions each day) at Nesbit Lanes in Pittsburgh June 1, and Ten Pin Alley in Fitchburg, Wis., June 15. Guest coaches are Jason Belmonte, Bill Spigner and Andy Diercks. Tuition: $125. Info at ppbowling.com.
Lourdes University (Sylvania, Ohio) hosts three days of camps June 14-16. Fundamentals and Basics is for kids 7-12 and costs $40. Prospective high school bowlers have a one-day camp on advanced concepts, for $75. A Lourdes College Experience seminar will explain the NAIA program, and there’ll be a six-game scholarship sweeper on sport patterns. Info: lourdesathletics.com/news/2019/3/7/mens-bowling-lourdes-to-hold-three-summer-bowling-camps.aspx
For the Less-Serious Bowler
Colorado Academy hosts one-week camps (two hours a day) for young children, July 22-26 and July 29-Aug 2. Cost is $210, with transportation included. Info at: www.coloradoacademysummer.org/2017-camp-descriptions/bowling-2019
Hofstra University presents two-week camps for girls and boys entering grades 2-10, July 15-26 at its campus in Hempstead, N.Y. Bowling plus other activities. Base tuition: $1775. Info: www.hofstra.edu/academics/ce/summer-camp/specialty_bowling.html
St. Croix Lutheran School in St. Paul hosts a one-week camp for grades 4-9, July 22-26. Tuition $75. Info: stcroixlutheran.org/academics/scl-academic-and-sports-camps#Bowling.
Tampa’s Pin Chasers centers again hold one-week activity camps for kids 5-15, starting June 10. Young bowlers get a ball, T-shirt and lunch each day for $199 per week. Info: http://pinchasers.net/summer-camp
Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes in Citrus Heights, Calif., is home to the bowling portion of the Sunrise Rec & Parks’ bowl and swim camp. Four weekly sessions begin June 24. $145 fee. Info: sunriseparks.com/bowl-swim-camp.
Pinz Bowling Center in South Lyon, Mich. presents a one-week camp for 6-12 year-olds, Aug. 6-9. Fee: $100. Info: pinzsouthlyon.com/summer-camps
Turbo Tech’s Collegiate Expo is the unofficial kick-off to Junior Gold, with advanced training plus collegiate evaluation at Imperial Lanes in Clinton Township, July 7-10. The Expo boasts 28 top coaches and presenters, guiding students in areas such as equipment, improvements in physical game, spare accuracy, fitness and the competitive mental game. A key is the “Get Recruited” element. Last year, 35 colleges were at the audition tournament and open house for students and parents. Limited to 210 students, it will sell out. Base tuition $399. Info: turbogrips.com/coaching/collegiate-expo.
ITRC Bowling Combine College Prospects 2019 (Aug 6-10) at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas. College coaches get to see and meet student-athletes in an intensive evaluation. Bowlers are tested in several areas, given a score for their proficiency, and then ranked against the other athletes. It’s an objective view of their overall abilities that can be compared against all other present and future Combine participants.
Some 30 coaches will be available to talk to both students and parents. Enrollment is capped at 100, and the event has always sold out. $200 fee. Deadline for the formal application is May 31. Info: bowlingitrc.com/bowling-combine
Regional Collegiate Expo Xperience (presented by Turbo), Aug 2-3 at Bowlero in North Brunswick, N.J. Billed as an opportunity for high schoolers to learn from some of top professionals, coaches and industry experts. Limited to 100 bowlers, with average restrictions. Tuition $179. Info: turbogrips.com/collegiate-expo/collegiate-experience
Powerstrike 300 is instruction and combine at Lakewood Bowl in Richton Park, Ill., June 10-13. College players will teach some 40 students, and nearly a dozen college coaches will evaluate young bowlers and talk to parents. Tuition: $200. Info: powerstrike300.com/Bowling-Camps.html
ROAD TO GOLD
With 13 events and an average of over 100 entries, Tennessee’s Road to the Gold Tour has become a model for Junior Gold qualifying, last year sending 247 kids to Dallas.
“It’s been overwhelming,” says Mike Ransom, Tennessee State USBC Association president.
Road to the Gold was born when proprietor David Channell’s daughter was one of only six kids at Junior Gold from the Volunteer State. He decided to do something about it and got the Tennessee BPA to put up $2,500 (matched by the state USBC). Ransom, involved with the Southern Scratch Junior Bowlers Association, was appointed director for what would be called “Road to the Gold.”
“We decided to hold one-day events, six of them the first year.”
That soon expanded to a dozen tournaments, with fields growing from about 60 to over 100 (131 kids bowled at Columbia this past March). One key to success was not restricting entries to Tennessee residency. Now they get competitors from as far away as Michigan, Indiana and the Carolinas.
Ransom receives inquiries from other states, some of whom have borrowed the format. He’s happy with that. But he sometimes wishes they’d have trademarked the name “Road to the Gold.”
Our annual rundown of summer bowling camps and clinics appears in the pages of Bowlers Journal International each spring. To subscribe now for much more of the industry's best coverage of bowling news and incisive instructional tips and analysis, go here: https://www.bowlersjournal.com/bowlers-journal-subscriptions/