RENO, Nev. - Fun and competition often top the list of reasons why bowlers travel to Reno for the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships, but the unique opportunity to work with a top coach who uses the latest instructional tools is becoming a big draw for many women as well.
USBC Silver coach Mike Jasnau has been helping bowlers improve their games and raise their averages as the teaching professional at the National Bowling Stadium since 1998, and this year, he's once again making an impact during the USBC Women's Championships.
Jasnau uses ball-tracking technology and video analysis to give bowlers of all averages the level of instruction they desire. Ball tracking provides crucial information such as speed, accuracy, launch and entry angles as well as revolution rate, while the video analysis monitors the bowler's approach, allowing him to suggest techniques to become more consistent.
Between his 14 years at the Stadium and 12 years of experience working at both the USBC Open and Women's Championships, Jasnau has had the opportunity to work with countless types of bowling styles. Whether a novice bowler or Professional Bowlers Association champion is taking to Lane 81 in the Stadium's pro shop area, his main goal is to help bowlers understand what makes their games work and build their confidence.
"With a lesson, so many people think I'm going to tell them how bad they are, and that's not the case," Jasnau said. "I point out the good things they're doing. With most people, there's way more good than bad. And it's good that they see and hear that because it gives them more confidence, and that's a big part of giving lessons. Even the best bowlers have to fight the same issues as everybody else. The biggest part of the lesson is to understand your own game and see what causes what. What I try to do is to make your game better, not make everybody the same."
Jasnau, a PBA national champion, admits that some bowlers are nervous and even intimidated to receive coaching. He notes, however, that after a few balls, the nervousness tends to go away as the comfort level on the lane grows. By the time the lesson is complete, a majority of the bowlers are happy they participated, and they are happy with the results they saw on the lanes.
One of his students, Mariann Klosin of Windham, N.H., is pleased with the results she has seen since she started working with Jasnau in 2006. After her third lesson, she took to the lanes at the Stadium this week and put up the best all-events performance of her Women's Championships career. Since her first lesson, her average has improved from the 170s to more than 200.
"He's such a great resource," said Klosin, who made her eighth-consecutive Women's Championships appearance. "I've been improving all along. The last time was when some of the timing and flow issues really clicked. That's when I was able to jump the plateau, finally. I'm leaving here thinking I bowled pretty well."
During the lessons, Klosin enjoyed going through the data to see her improvement from year to year but found the video analysis to be the most vital resource.
"Mike and I had a long conversation about how you can tell anybody anything until you're blue in the face, and they won't believe you," Klosin said. "With the video, he has the capability of analyzing every step, motion and movement, and then showing you what would help your game the most. He's not trying to make a cookie-cutter bowler out of everybody. He's finessing your game to make you better."
Klosin recommended the service to any bowlers looking take their games to the next level.
"He breaks everything down so I understand it and works at a pace that's comfortable to me," Klosin said. "You leave knowing what to work on, how to work on it and what your goal should be. He gives you all the tools. I'm able to solve my problems faster on the lanes, which is crucial in any tournament. It's for everybody and every average. You'll take away something that will help you."
With more than 8,000 video sessions and lessons under his belt, Jasnau believes there is no reason to be hesitant to take the steps to improve your game.
"If you're thinking about getting help, it's because there is something about your game you don't like," Jasnau said. "Even with the professionals, they come in because something is not quite right, and they need help to get back on track. The lessons offered are for all levels of bowlers, whether it's for men, women or kids. It helps everybody. They're not just for the higher-average bowlers. They're for bowlers who want to do better."
To make your reservation, stop by the Lane 81 Pro Shop on the fourth floor of the Stadium, or call Jasnau at 775-335-8841. Lessons are available from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., with the last lesson starting at 5 p.m.
Presenting sponsors for the 2012 USBC Women's Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado Hotel Casino and Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Harrah's Reno Casino, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, Sands Regency Casino Hotel and Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and MyBowlingVacation.com.