PBA professional Brad Angelo will conduct a two-day camp at Lava Lanes.

PBA star Angelo reaches out to area

If Brad Angelo is putting on a bowling clinic here, you figure the East Coast native took a wrong turn at someplace like, oh, Cleveland.

Not so.

Angelo, one of the top performers since joining the Denny's Professional Bowlers Association Tour six years ago, will stage a two-day camp this weekend at Lava Lanes for several reasons. It fits nicely into his busy travel schedule as a representative for Brunswick, it's in keeping with his off-season work as a teacher of the game and someone simply asked him to do it.

"I have to do something to fill up the off months," says Angelo, who lives in Lockport, N.Y.

In addition to western trips to Denver, San Diego and Seattle for Brunswick as it unveils "PBA Experience" leagues at roughly 100 centers, Angelo runs his Brad Angelo Bowling Camps.

Here, he'll be returning to a site where he's enjoyed much success. In six tour stops at Lava Lanes, Angelo has placed third twice and, this past January, was sixth. His worst finish was 21st.

For the 2007-08 season, Angelo was 13th on the points list despite enduring a back injury that caused him to miss two tournaments and to withdraw from two others.

"It was a very solid season," he says, "but it was a little disappointing from a TV-show standpoint."

Nevertheless, he was again in front of bowling fans week after week, and that's why the camps he's run the past four years have "really kind of taken on their own direction," says Angelo.

He began doing them in his home area. Then as fans at tour stops questioned him about off-season plans, they learned he was available as a tutor.

That's how it worked here.

Angelo has bowled in the PBA youth pro-am at Lava Lanes the past three years with Crater High — faring quite well, he notes, having won it twice.

Another high school coach, Grants Pass' Frank Pagni, got wind of the camps and asked Angelo to do one here.

"He's such a great guy and a great coach," says Pagni. "The kids really enjoy him."

Angelo's camp is comprehensive, and it's not just for youngsters. He had 11 adults and four juniors recently in Oroville, Calif.

Angelo limits the camps to 15 — there are still openings here — so he can provide adequate one-on-one instruction.

Day 1 is comprised of a couple of hour-long classroom sessions, each followed by a question-and-answer period and an hour of on-lane instruction.

The focus is on fundamentals, says Angelo: stance, timing, balance, arm swing, etc. He also teaches practice routines, spare shooting and reveals "the three rules in our game that all the fundamentals have to satisfy."

The second day is geared to "using your eyes," he says. Bowlers are taught to recognize how the ball and oil react as the shot moves down the lane and strikes the pins.

"Our sport is unique," says Angelo. "We compete on an invisible course, and that invisible course is ever changing and ever moving."

His goal is to take much of the mystery out of it.

E-mails from past campers indicate he's succeeding.

He heard from a couple of Indiana prep bowlers as they were leading their state tournament. A Memphis high school team he's worked with for three years recently made it to the state finals, and its coach was named coach of the year.

"It's certainly not me doing the work," says Angelo. "They tell me, 'Thank you so much for getting me to this level.' I tell them I didn't get them there. I gave them the information and they got themselves there. If people are willing to put in the work with the ideas I give them, they can't help but get better."

He has been challenged.

The area that most amateurs need work is on their balance. Naturally, it's one of the three rules of the game.

Angelo was put to the task in an Alabama camp when a man who had one leg and used a "pole" as his other signed up.

"I'm thinking, 'lo and behold, how am I going to get this guy to satisfy the three rules," says Angelo.

They developed a one-step approach with proper arm swing that enabled the man to stay balanced through the shot and know where his ball was going.

His average improved 30 pins from the 130 at which he started.

"He was elated at the progress he made," says Angelo.

And that's why it was a trip well worth making for Angelo.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower @776-4479, or e-mail

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