THE ACTIVITY THAT STRENGTHENS BODY AND MIND

After Renée Karlsson's daughter met a bowler and took up the sport herself, Renée and her husband also wanted to try it out. It became even more exciting when Mariana Andersson joined Stena Line and it turned out that she had bowled as a child. Now Renée and Mariana, together with their partners, bowl 20 weekends a year with the Mölndal club IK Heim.

”I was 45 years old when I started bowling. You could say that it’s never too late to start. In our team, the youngest is 21 and the oldest is 81! You can keep bowling throughout your whole life. It’s also an incredibly social sport where you socialize across generations. A real people’s sport,” says Renée.

A bowling club is made up of various teams that each consist of eight people. Each team gets qualified in the league system and to proceed to the next league you need to win each division.

There are national leagues, local leagues, a premier league and a reserve league. In addition to league games, you can also play “raven bowling” where everyone is welcome. During weekdays, lots of seniors take part.

”There are 80-year-olds who are getting very good results and perhaps this is partially due to not needing to be in extremely good physical shape. Fitness is not important. You rather need to be strong, particularly in your torso, back and legs. I exercise and strength-train at Friskis & Svettis (gym) as a supplement, but the bowling elite are often just as well-trained as the athletes in any other sport,” says Renée.

BESIDES A STRONG BODY, A STRONG MIND IS ESSENTIAL

The team is divided into four pairs and when playing in a match the pairs in each team take on each other. A match consists of four series and one plays 5 points in every series. Each table plays for one point and one point is awarded to the team with the most bowling pins in total.

”We of course play four series when it’s time for a match, but when we organize bowling activities here at work, we play three series. You notice that some don’t have the mental energy and lose focus. When you bowl you must constantly focus on the next shot. Just like golf,” says Renée.

Renée and Mariana play 20 games a season. In addition to the matches, there are trainings once a week at the club. They train techniques like spare and run-up, but beyond that one needs to be good at reading the bowling lanes and try out different oil patterns on the lanes because the bowling balls behave differently depending on the oil pattern.

”Ambitious players practice more often, but we bowl because it’s so incredibly fun. Mariana and I have been in Prague and Malta at competitions and even if my results were not great, we had so much fun. The combination of it being fun, exciting, technical and that you have to use your brain is why I got hooked on bowling. Also, being able to share this interest with my family and with my best friend here at work is a real plus,” says Renée.

FACTSThe bowling ball used is an American strike-ball. They are made up of weight blocks inside. The most important thing to consider when choosing balls is that the holes are drilled to fit your hand like a glove, as well as your playing style. Ask at your pro shop.
A new bowling ball costs about 3,000 SEK, but there are entry-level packages with shoes and balls for around 2,000 SEK.
Membership in a club costs from 150 SEK/month, and in addition to that one pays 200 SEK/match.
Mölndal's bowling alley has a youth school on Fridays where you can try your hand at bowling.
In Partille there are two teams with world-class players who play on tours in the United States and make their living from bowling.
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