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Want a bowling coach? Here’s some advice.

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This is the time that bowlers often think seriously about improving their game as they seek a coach to help them with their bad habits.

One of the most prominent bowling coaches was Barry Gurney of West Hills, who died in July at 71 after a battle with cancer.

Gurney was perhaps the top bowler ever to come out of the San Fernando Valley area, racking up four national senior tour titles. Gurney, always outspoken, also was committed to giving back to the sport he loved and in doing so, he gave lessons to more than 1,000 bowlers.

During busy weeks, Gurney gave lessons to as many as 20 bowlers a week. He was comprehensive in his tutorial sessions and students typically were highly complimentary.

Here is some of his coaching advice that he imparted during an interview with two years ago.

– On the value of coaching, Gurney said a lesson “can be a tremendous boost to anyone. Even if you’re a world-class bowler like Chris Barnes or Pete Weber, all bowlers need help from time to time. We just need to have a second pair of eyes behind us and see if there is a bad habit that we were not aware of. It can be something subtle, like a timing mechanism that a bowler can’t figure out. It doesn’t matter how good a bowler is, we can all use help. Even if [Albert] Pujols might go in a slump, the Angels have a batting coach who can help him.”

– On how many lessons are needed, Gurney said he believed that if a coach “gives a bowler enough valid information for an hour or an hour and a half, that should be sufficient for three months.”

– On how much improvement a bowler can expect from coaching, Gurney said players “can improve tremendously, especially a novice bowler. If a bowler is averaging 210 and wants to bowl 220, they obviously won’t improve as much as a bowler averaging 160 who wants to improve to 200.”

Gurney did as he lectured. He enlisted top professional Eric Forkel to be his personal coach when he fell out of rhythm.

“We all need help,” he said. “No matter who you are, we all need help.”



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