For video of Scott Salem's visit to the ITRC, click here.
If Scott Salem, an engineer for the Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM satellite radio, learned anything during a two-day training session at the International Training and Research Center (ITRC) earlier this month, it was that competing at the highest level in the sport of bowling takes consistent accuracy.
Salem visited the International Bowling Campus and trained with Team USA assistant head coach Kim Terrell-Kearney and Team USA assistant coach Bryan O'Keefe in preparation for the Professional Bowlers Association World Series of Bowling, which kicks off Oct. 25.
"I can't believe how much I learned, how much I didn't know about bowling," Salem, a USBC member who averaged 218 last season, said after his ITRC experience. "Once I absorb everything I will come away being so much better. It was a great experience."
Salem, 57, received a special invitation from the PBA to participate in the World Series of Bowling at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas. The PBA will provide live online coverage of the World Series of Bowling on Xtra Frame.
Salem's appearance not only has provided talk-show host Howard Stern with material for the radio show, but Salem's experience will be featured on Stern's On Demand television channel, Howard TV.
The biggest change for Salem is moving from "house" lane conditions to bowling on the oil conditions used in professional competition. At the ITRC, he trained on PBA patterns and also the lane conditions used in Team USA Experience leagues. He called the conditions "humbling."
"It's like nothing I have ever bowled on before," Salem said. "The major thing I got out of it was you have to be accurate - if you can't be accurate, you can't bowl. You have to be consistently accurate to have any chance. You have to have pinpoint control every time."
The ITRC is a joint venture between USBC and the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America, and Salem's opportunity to train there is one benefit of being a USBC member. At the ITRC, a United States Olympic Committee-recognized training center, Salem also had access to the state-of-the-art pro shop and the fitness facility where he was evaluated and given exercises to help with his flexibility, strength and balance.
And, of course, Salem worked on the lanes with coaches who used video and computer programs to track his game. Salem said the ITRC coaches were able to point out aspects of his game that needed work. One thing the coaches helped him with was his delivery.
"They got me to change my delivery so I'm more in sync when I get to the line," Salem said.
Terrell-Kearney said they worked with Salem on how to attack the patterns and making the right ball adjustments.
"Scott really worked hard while he was at the ITRC and I think we were able to show him some things to work on to help improve his game," Terrell-Kearney said. "Competing against the pros is an awfully big step for anyone to take, so hopefully he will be able to go there, have fun and enjoy the experience."
Salem had the chance to experience a little competition while at the ITRC. He won a charity match against BPAA Executive Director Steve Johnson, and Johnson presented Salem with a check for the North Shore Animal League America, an animal adoption and rescue organization in Long Island, N.Y.
At the end of his training session, Salem took on Team USA member Emily Maier in a one-game match on PBA conditions. Maier walked away with a 242-173 victory. Salem said he loved the competition, "but I hated to lose to Emily."
Since the trip to the ITRC, Salem has been working to prepare for the PBA World Series of Bowling and is excited about the opportunity to compete.
"I feel really good, I've been practicing about 10-12 games a day," Salem said. "I think I'm ready, but I know those conditions are rough. I'll just go with the flow."