Tenpin Bowling Australia’s (TBA) Bowl Patrol program has achieved record participation through Sport Australia’s Sporting Schools initiative in 2021.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic over the past two years, tenpin bowling as a sport of choice for Sporting Schools funded programs bounced back last year with over 9,300 students learning tenpin bowling across 109 programs – the most programs that have ever been delivered.
That is up from 4,700 students who participated in the program during its inaugural year in 2018.
A key strategic objective of the National Sporting Organisation is Playful Connections. The strategic focus aims to have more people play the sport and connect through tenpin bowling. The positive results in 2021 help show that the sport is on a roll and gaining momentum.
Sporting Schools is an Australian Government initiative provided free to students and teachers to help increase participation in sport and connect them with community sport opportunities.
TBA Development and Programs Manager Emily Rennes paid appreciation to the Participation team, and everyone involved in the Bowl Patrol program through Sporting Schools.
“The Participation team at TBA have worked hard, in the face of adversity, to ensure any school wanting to engage in tenpin are fitted with the program that best suits their needs,” she said.
“We always aim to ensure the right equipment, coach, centre visit and resource combination connects schools to their local tenpin community. When it’s possible, we strongly encourage schools visit their local centre, getting a taste for the game. More importantly, we want students to know there’s opportunities to continue bowling after their school or party experience. Our centres offer a range of learn to bowl and junior league programs to provide that participation pathway.
“We have some incredible coaches and centres who get on board, plus TBAQ’s Roll n Strike equipment, it’s a great combination. Schools love it and we know students have a ball bowling, so the large growth was likely a side effect of all that.”
A program of choice for Sporting Schools tenpin bowling programs; Bowl Patrol enables teachers to register and complete online Lane Ranger training to help support the teaching of the program. Whether that’s while attending a local centre, on their own school grounds, or with or without a TBA coach depending on restrictions.
This also allowed TBA to grow its network of coaches across Australia with an additional 131 new Bowl Patrol Lane Rangers in 2021 alone.
While lockdowns often prevented students either leaving the schools ground or having a coach come in to visit, the support of the Tenpin Bowling Association of Queensland’s (TBAQ) Roll n Strike portable equipment to take bowling to the school and its students was a great alternative solution to still being able to provide a fun and interactive session.
TBA is continuing to support TBAQ to develop a second set of videos to support the Roll n Strike initiative, which is due for release later this year.
As well in 2021, TBA became one of a handful of sports to be the first to try Sport Australia’s Club Connect program, which allows students to connect with local centres to continue their development in the sport. It also opens a pathway for them to more easily join a Bowl Patrol, junior league or other local centre bowling opportunities.
So far there has been six programs and a little over 100 students completed Bowl Patrol programs through Club Connect.
With students’ part of the future generation of tenpin bowling in Australia, whether that is as a coach or maybe the next international champion, TBA is committed to continuing to grow their Sporting Schools programs.
“We are big fans of Sport Australia Sporting Schools program, it’s a brilliant opportunity for students to bowl for free, teachers to upskill themselves and the tenpin community to be a presence in school sport,” Rennes said.
“With our attitude and commitment, we want to continue to grow our reach, we know there are still students, schools and tenpin centres that’s haven’t got on the Sporting Schools bus yet.
“We hope to continue to provide all the support our state and territory colleagues need to continue to grow tenpin bowling.”
Tenpin Bowling brings people together. Regardless of how you want to play and the motivation to play, TBA is committed to ensuring there is the right opportunity available to enjoy the inclusive nature of the sport.
If you want to know more about Sport Australia’s Sporting Schools or Club Connect and how to get your centre to participate, email [email protected] to find out more.