Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Fitness Tests for Bowling

While tenpin bowling may be a recreational activity for many people, there are many who take it very seriously. There are national championships in many countries, and also international competitions. In 1998, Tenpin became a Commonwealth Games sport. Despite its popularity and successes, the application of elite training and exercise physiology to tenpin bowling is relatively new, and therefore standardized testing protocols have not been developed.

While the physical demands of tenpin bowling are not as great as some other sports, it does require some unique abilities and a certain degree of competence in many aspects of fitness. In this article, we will discuss the important physiological and physical attributes of a successful bowler and suggest fitness tests for each component.

Fitness Tests for Bowling

Fitness only plays a small but important part in the success of a bowler. There are several components of fitness that are important for success. Flexibility and power are important, though a good level of health as indicated by adequate aerobic fitness levels would also be advantageous.

Anthropometry – height, weight and skinfolds

It is important to monitor your growth and body fat levels. When you are still in the process of growing, it is important to be careful of the physical demands placed on the body. Any training program should be supervised by a suitably qualified fitness expert. Also, a comparison of height and weight will give an indication of your body fat levels. These are more accurately measured using the skinfold method. The measurements at seven sites around the body are summed and compared to expected norms. You should aim to keep excess fat levels to a minimum as this fat can be considered dead weight which results in accelerated fatigue and poor health levels. Lowering of body fat levels can be achieved by following good dietary practices and performing exercises to burn energy, such as endurance training.

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Suggested Tests: As well as height and weight, skinfold measures should be measured to determine body fat levels.

Strength – handgrip and abdominal strength

Body strength is important for being able to maintain posture and produce correct technique over and over again. A good level of handgrip strength is required to carry and maintain control of the ball. Maximum grip strength of each hand can be measured using a handgrip dynamometer. Abdominal strength is also important for maintaining the stability of the torso throughout the bowling delivery. Abdominal strength can be determined using a 7-stage strength test. This test requires you to perform one sit-up in the prescribed manner for each stage. Each stage (level) is progressively more difficult, with seven as the maximum score. Other strength tests, such as for the chest, back, and leg muscles, would also be appropriate for bowling. Strength can best be improved by following a supervised resistance training program.

Suggested Tests: Maximal strength tests for specific exercises should be conducted. A handgrip strength test is also suitable. Abdominal strength using the 7-stage strength test.

Muscular Endurance – abdominal and chest muscles

Due to the repetitive nature of the sport, a good level of muscular endurance is necessary. Muscular endurance tests measure your ability to perform repeated movements without fatigue. A ‘beep’ type test can be used to measure muscular endurance of the abdominal muscles (sit-up test) and the chest muscles (push-up test). The maximum number of sit-ups or push-ups that could be performed at the required rate is recorded. Muscular endurance-based exercises can be incorporated into your fitness training/gym program.

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Suggested Tests: Abdominal or Core body strength can be measured using the Sit Up Test, and the upper body can be assessed using the Push-up Test.

Flexibility – hamstrings and lower back

Flexibility is important for the proper execution of the bowling delivery. Poor flexibility may result in inappropriate or shortened movements and an increased chance of developing injuries. Flexibility is dependent on the joint being tested. The sit and reach test can be performed to measure flexibility of the hamstrings and lower back region, an area important for tenpin. Your score indicates how far past your toes you could reach (positive number) or how far short of your toes (negative number). Other areas such as the shoulder, hip, and ankle would be appropriate for further flexibility tests. Flexibility can be easily improved by putting in the time to perform regular stretching exercises before and after training, at home, and at the gym.

Suggested Tests: The sit and reach test can be performed to assess lower back and hamstring flexibility. Other flexibility tests could also be done.

Balance and Coordination

Balance and coordination are important for controlled movements in tenpin.

Suggested Tests: There are many general tests of balance.

Aerobic Fitness – the beep test

A good level of aerobic or endurance fitness will aid recovery and reduce fatigue in bowlers, especially when bowling in tournaments for extended periods. Aerobic fitness can be determined by the 20m beep test. This test requires you to run continuously between markers 20m apart, in time to recorded beeps. The pace gets progressively faster, and your score is the maximum number of levels reached before you could not maintain the required pace. You can improve your endurance fitness by performing continuous activities that involve large muscle groups for 30-60 minutes, several times per week.

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Suggested Tests: For players with good starting fitness, you can do the maximal 20m beep test. Due to the starting fitness level of most bowlers, a submaximal test of aerobic fitness may be suitable, such as a cycle test or the Cooper 12-minute run.

FAQs

Q: What are the important physiological and physical attributes of a successful bowler?
A: The important attributes include exceptional hand/eye coordination and balance, good flexibility, strength, aerobic fitness, and low body fat.

Q: How can I measure my body fat levels?
A: Skinfold measures can be used to determine body fat levels.

Q: What exercises can I do to improve muscular endurance?
A: Muscular endurance-based exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups can be incorporated into your fitness training/gym program.

Q: How can I improve my flexibility?
A: Regular stretching exercises before and after training, at home, and at the gym can improve flexibility.

Q: How can I improve my aerobic fitness?
A: Performing continuous activities that involve large muscle groups for 30-60 minutes, several times per week can improve aerobic fitness.

Conclusion

While fitness is just one aspect of success in tenpin bowling, it plays an important role in overall performance. By focusing on attributes like strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness, bowlers can enhance their skills and reduce the risk of injuries. Implementing specific fitness tests can help bowlers track their progress and tailor their training programs accordingly. Remember to consult with a qualified fitness expert for personalized guidance and supervision. To learn more about tenpin bowling and its fitness components, visit Auralpressure.

References:

  • Flexibility Tests for Tenpin Bowling
  • Bowling fitness components Ratings Page
  • Fitness training for tenpin bowling
  • Poll about the fitness components for tenpin
  • Fitness testing in sports