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Learning to bowl like a pro

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June 30, 2010 - Bowlers in Oxford and surrounding communities got a rare treat as two professional bowlers spent the afternoon at Collier Lanes in Oxford last Wednesday instructing bowlers of all ages.

Professional bowlers Jason Belmonte and Diandra Asbaty were the guests speakers at the "Bowl with the Pros" clinic, held on Wednesday, June 16.

The event was put on by the combined efforts of the Oxford and Holly High School bowling teams and Collier Lanes.

Asbaty and Belmonte spent nearly six hours offering tips and instructions to 51 enthusiastic bowlers ranging from elementary school kids all the way up to starting members of the varsity bowling teams.

"Primarily we worked on different facets of the game," said Oxford Coach JR Lafnear.

He said that the pros worked with the kids on proper approach techniques and ways to have a better arm swing for more consistent scores.

The pros mixed in practice techniques throughout the day and showcased some games that could make practice more enjoyable.

Asbaty, a 12-year professional bowler and member of Team USA, said that she loves doing these types of clinics because of her passion for coaching, which she contributed to the level of coaching she received growing up.

"Because I had such great coaches, I have the ability to be able to coach now and I want to spread the knowledge that I've learned," she said.

"For us to be able to organize and put on clinics like this means a great deal to us because this is our passion," Asbaty said.

Belmonte, who is from Australia, agreed.

"Whenever I come over here, I try to spend as much time teaching kids things that I was taught by professionals and giving back to the kids of America," he said.

Belmonte joined the Professional Bowlers Association tour two years ago and is quickly becoming a rising star. He won the rookie of the year in the 2008-09 season.

He uses a two-handed approach when he bowls, which he states helps him generate more revolutions on the ball than the typical one hand approach.

He added that the two handed approach is starting to catch on from when he first came to America six years ago.

"I have had a lot of success on the pro tour and it has opened the eyes of a lot of people. Now every clinic I go to, there are four, five or six kids using it," he said.

Holly Bowling Coach Fred Walz said that this was a great opportunity for the kids at the event to learn new bowling techniques and ideas that could possibly translate into other areas of their life.

Lafnear added that he and Coach Walz were extremely happy with how well the clinic turned out.

"The kids had a lot of fun and they picked up valuable practice tips on how to make their game stronger throughout the summer and in the off-season," Lafnear said.

Even Lafnear walked away with some valuable information.

"What I learned and what I am going to use are ways to make practice more enjoyable so it doesn't feel like practice. They can compete in practice in fun games and drills that don't make it feel like a chore," he said.

Lafnear would like to see the event continue next year, with the possibility of it being two days instead of one. "It is something we would definitely like to do again."

"We love bowling and we love winning, but to make bowlers of all ages better is more rewarding than any tournament you can win," Asbaty said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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