Before finding unprecedented success at major international events this summer, several teams spent quality time training at the International Training and Research Center.
Teams from the Dominican Republic and Singapore found success in major events after training at the ITRC, located at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington. The ITRC is the home training center for Team USA, and both the Team USA men and Junior Team USA squads trained at the ITRC before successful campaigns at world championship events.
"The staff at the International Bowling Campus would like to congratulate all the teams that visited the ITRC on their great success," United States Bowling Congress Managing Director of National Governing Body Neil Stremmel said. "We hope that more teams will visit the ITRC to take advantage of the unmatched technology and training opportunities."
The Dominican Republic had its best performance ever at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, taking three gold medals and one bronze medal.
Upon returning home from the event, Dominican Republic head coach Craig Woodhouse said the team was greeted at the airport by two television stations and 100-plus people waving Dominican flags.
"The experience at the ITRC was absolutely a part of our success," Woodhouse said. "Team bonding and information gathering was the focus of our week at the ITRC. I have never seen our players work together as well as they did in Puerto Rico. Truly when a medal was won, the entire group felt they were all a part of it. An attitude change was very noticeable and our trip to Texas did that."
Team USA's training at the ITRC helped its men's team to a record-setting performance at the 2010 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Men's Championships in Munich, Germany, as the squad brought home five gold medals in six events, the most by any country in the history of the event.
Junior Team USA, meanwhile, earned two gold medals and three silver medals at the 2010 WTBA World Youth Championships in Helsinki, Finland, marking the best performance for the U.S. youth team in the event since 2004.
"Having access to the training center enabled our players to be better prepared to compete in these events," ITRC and Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. "The technology we have allowed us to achieve results in a shorter timeframe and give immediate feedback to the players while they were training."
More than two months after training at the ITRC, Woodhouse said his Dominican Republic team is still reaping the benefits of the trip and utilizing information the team gathered.
"All the technical equipment at the ITRC provided me with tons of information, and that's what I'm working with now," Woodhouse said. "So the ITRC is still having an effect on our team even after the tournament is over and several months have passed. It was a great investment and we definitely would love to do it again."
The Singapore women's national team visited the ITRC for a week between the USBC Queens and U.S. Women's Open. The team had three players advance to match play at the U.S. Women's Open, and at the World Youth Championships in Helsinki the Singaporeans took home two silver medals and a bronze medal.
Another team is hoping its trip to the ITRC will pay off at a major international tournament. The women's national team from Chile visited the ITRC this week in advance of the 2010 Pan American Bowling Confederation Women's Championships, which begin Monday in suburban Las Vegas.
"I was here back in February for a WTBA technical meeting, and I was fascinated by the size of this place and everything it offered," Chile head coach Jim Porter said. "The location is easy to get to and the dedicated staff are second to none. It's a golden opportunity, and I plan to come back with our men's team next year."
The ITRC is home to some of the most innovative and cutting-edge coaching technologies available in the bowling industry today, including high-speed video cameras, motion-capture devices, foot-pressure sensors and goggles enhanced with cameras to show exactly where a player is looking during the approach and delivery. A DVR system also is in place and can record any video feed to let a bowler see what they did on their last shot as soon as they step off the lane.
Other technology includes Computer-Aided Tracking System, known as C.A.T.S. which consists of a series of sensors placed along the lane that measure aspects of a bowler's game such as ball speed, accuracy, launch angle, and break-point control. CA.T.S. is combined with BowlersMAP, which breaks down video of the players, to give the athletes a real-time look at their game.
A United States Olympic Committee-recognized training center, the ITRC is a joint venture of the United States Bowling Congress and the Bowling Proprietors Association of America. It is the most innovative and advanced training, research and testing facility in the sport of bowling with 14 lanes for training and six for research and testing.
For more information on the International Training and Research Center, visit bowlingitrc.com.