Team England Training - November 2012
Curtis wrote about the JTE training session held in the Academy during November 2012. Read his brilliant account below:
Having had the experience of these training weekends from last year, I could not wait to get to Sheffield and start to train with the squad of 2012/13. Both on and off the lanes, a smile is always not too far around the corner. Saturday started with a talk in the bar about some sheets that we all had to fill in prior to the weekend.
The main talking point was about our spare systems and how important spares are. After lunch this talk was continued with a demonstration from Terry. He showed us that for a single pin spare (other than the 10 pin or 7 pin) you actually have pretty much half of the lane to successfully make the spare. The obvious question of “why do they get missed” was then discussed.
This theme continued out on the lanes as we played 2 games of trios within our teams with a twist – if you had a 9 miss, your score would return to zero. So a 9 miss in the 8th frame would result in a maximum score of 60 being possible regardless of your score up until that point. The boys managed to avoid this, although we all could have had scores in single figures or worse. The match went all the way down to the very last frame and ball with Hadley. His first shot in the 10th frame was a strike. The second shot, as predicted by Keith and the rest of the boys, was a 7 pin! If he missed, his score would be 0 and cost his team a victory and drink at the hotel bought by the opposing team. Fortunately for Ell, Brandon and me this didn’t happen as he made the spare.
Our focus then switched to converting splits. This required splits to be left which proved to be a lot harder than we originally anticipated. Once a split was left, we had to explain where we were going to stand and what our target was going to be in order to make the split. On many occasions the splits were successfully converted. Saturday at the bowl concluded with a team game, boys against girls. George was kind enough to give the girls a handicap of 8 pins per person, much to the annoyance of his team mates! The girls eventually won this by 39 pins, meaning it was the boys carrying all of the bowling balls up stairs as a forfeit.
Thoughts now turned away from bowling to the night ahead. At the hotel, it really is as if bowling is forgotten about and you are left with a group of friends from all over the country with a wide range of stories and skills to entertain the group. After a drink in the bar, the whole squad sat down at a table with Terry and Keith for our meal where a game of eye spy broke out. Here’s an example of one of the games. “Eye spy … something beginning with S.” Just about everything was offered as an answer (including ceiling) but eventually we gave in. The word was chandelier!
Another memorable moment was with the letter E. Hadley decided to ask the waitress for a bit of help, to which she replied “E? Icebox doesn’t begin with E does it” Brilliant! Following the meal, we all retired to the bar with a deck of cards where Keira introduced us to quite an aggressive game which was later followed by a more relaxing game of chase the ace. I also chipped in with a couple of card tricks, first with boys, then later with the whole group. Thankfully they all worked!
The next morning over breakfast, Hadley had convinced George that he had left their room key in the room. Of course Hadley had the key all along. This made for brilliant viewing for the rest of the boys and some of the academy instructors too! It ended with George going to reception and asking if he could have a spare key. This was not possible, so the receptionist had to come upstairs himself to open the door. When they got there however they were greeted with the sight of Hadley standing in the room, door wide open with the room key in his hand leaving George to apologize.
We got to the bowl in good spirits where we began our schedule for the day. Before lunch we had to present a short biography of another squad member to the rest of the squad (we had Saturday evening to prepare), and to impersonate someone else bowling. The idea behind this was to add different things from other peoples game into our own. After half an hour of practise we were introduced to the judges, Les Grant and Stuart Watson, who would be judging us on both the impersonation and presentation. They decided Becky to be the winner, so she left Sheffield £10 richer as a reward.
After a discussion about nutrition and fluids, we returned to the lanes for 2 games of singles. The highest boy and girl would play a one game shoot-out to decide a winner. Encouraged by their respective team-mates, George and Hannah battled it out with George winning with a score of 227 – 175. I must mention that Hannah converted the 2, 8 10 split. A team baker match concluded a great weekend, which resulted in the boys getting some revenge on the girls after Saturday’s defeat.
Training with the best juniors in the country is a fantastic environment to do so. It makes a nice change to bowl with them rather than against them and the team atmosphere that it creates is unique and special as you don’t get to experience it often. Some key points had been highlighted and worked on, such as spares and personal techniques. We all left Sheffield with the knowledge of what we need to in practice and written tasks that need to be completed before we meet again in Romford next month.
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