INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION: BELMO TALKS YOUTH & BOWLING
World Bowling talk to Aussie bowler Jason Belmonte on youth activation and the values bowling gave him.
Photos courtesy of The PBA
Hi Jason – Congrats on your recent successes! You created history becoming the first bowler to win three consecutive USBC Masters Titles during the recent World Bowling Tour event and we hear you also had great triumphs in other PBA Tour competitions. How are you feeling after your whirlwind tour?
Thank you very much. It’s been a crazy period in my life. The few moments that I have had to myself, I think about what I have achieved and do wonder if I am in the movie ‘Inception’ – that this is just a dream inside another dream. I do feel extremely proud and excited and I’m living a life well beyond what I ever thought imaginable. If this is all a dream, I certainly hope I don’t wake up for a really long time.
Today we want to talk to you about youth activation, a hot topic for World Bowling right now. As an athlete who has grown up around the sport and has two young kids it’s exciting for us to hear your thoughts.
I truly believe, no matter what sport you are talking about, the most important generation is the one coming next. I want to help this coming generation in understanding how amazing bowling is. I love talking to the youth bowlers around the world and sharing with them the experiences bowling has given me. I explain that I have competed in over 40 countries, and seen some of the wonders the world has to offer. I also share with them stories about friends I’ve met from all parts of the globe, friends who I will call friends until the day I die. I have bowling to thank for all these experiences. I’m really excited about the future of bowling, not just the past. World Bowling is working hard on many avenues to make bowling relevant to the media and world committees, so that the next superstars of our game will have more exposure than ever before. I support World Bowling’s youth initiative and hope that what I am doing through my own means is helping grow the sport in the right direction.
You certainly are! So you have grown up with bowling, your parents owned a bowling alley and this is where your passion began, not to mention your #2HANDS technique! Tell us a little bit about your experiences growing up in this environment?
I was practically born into bowling (I was only a few weeks old when my parents opened the Orange Bowl), it’s as much as a part of me as my DNA is. I experienced so much growing up at ‘The Bowl’. I have met friends for life from The Bowl, I had a few childhood ‘crushes’ from The Bowl and I have more memories connected to The Bowl than anywhere else. It was an amazing place to grow up in. I wouldn’t want to change it for anything.
A little fun fact that many don’t know, when Mum and Dad installed the new synthetic lanes 15 years ago, my friends and I were all allowed to write a special personal story on the wood lanes underneath. So if you pull up the new lanes and see the old, you’ll be able to read stories us kids all wrote years and years ago.
What role did bowling play in helping you to shape your character? Do you think that being actively involved in the sport gave you confidence and helped to foster a healthy upbringing?
It was a huge reason that I have an out going personality. Interacting with people from all walks of life taught me quickly to never judge a book by its cover. Bowling gave me an understanding about winning and losing and taught me how to handle both. It taught me to never give up, to acknowledge poor performances as motivation to improve, to be open to suggestions and advice, to be supportive of others and most importantly to not let anyone decide your fate for you. If you want something bad enough, then the only person preventing you from reaching your goal is the person you see standing in front of a mirror.
What advice would you give to a parent whose child wishes to participate in bowling?
As a parent there is nothing more proud than watching your child perform. There are a few things you can do to help their growth in bowling.
- Support them. They need to practice so spend time with them on the lanes, take them to tournaments and be there for them during the tough times.
- Educate yourself about bowling. You will be watching your children bowl more than anyone else and will have the opportunity to develop an eye for their errors. Learn more about the game to help pass that information on to you kids. Read articles online, do coaching courses, learn how to drill and resurface bowling balls – until they become stars, you’re going to be the closest thing they have to a ‘ball rep’.
What events are next on the cards for Jason Belmonte?
I have a lot of traveling coming up. I am flying to the Middle East to compete on the World Bowling Tour, then back to the USA for the PBA League and the PBA Tour in Maine and in Oklahoma for the Summer Swing, I have a coaching clinic in Alabama, then I am traveling to Moscow to continue the development of my state of the art bowling video game, I have a few media appearances both at home and abroad and then finally a TV commercial. All that is before the end of May. I also will be spending as much time with my family and practicing on the lanes. So it’s a busy coming couple months for me 🙂
Thank you for your time and for giving us an excellent insight into the values that bowling gave you growing up. We wish you the best of success for the busy months ahead and we look forward to seeing you continue to inspire our younger generations!