Inspired by Jason Belmonte, two-handed bowling on rise among York County youngsters
- Jason Belmonte is the first two-handed bowler to win a PBA championship.
- Belmonte has since been named the PBA Bowler of the Year four times.
- A number of York County youngsters have followed Belmonte's lead and become two-handed bowlers.
In a recent Bowlers Journal column, editor Keith Hamilton wrote that four-time Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Jason Belmonte is one of the most influential bowlers of all time.
Thousands of youth bowlers around the globe are emulating Belmonte, who is known for his two-handed delivery. Hamilton pointed out that 21 percent of the 2,532 males in the recent United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships threw the ball two-handed.
Although Belmonte, an Australian, was the first two-handed bowler to win a PBA title, other two-handers on the tour include Anthony Simonsen, Jasper Svensson and Kyle Troup.
Belmonte, 35, started bowling with two hands because a 10-pound ball was too heavy for him to pick up with one hand as a 3-year-old. He holds the ball with two hands, using his left hand as a guide. He holds the ball in both hands all the way through his push away and back swing.
Having his left hand still on the ball means that the weight of the ball is split in both hands. That creates less pressure on his wrist to create a maximum amount of revolutions. His left hand doesn't come off the ball till the very end of his approach.
Two-handed bowlers can generally create more revolutions and power than one-handed bowlers.
Local influence: The influence of Belmonte and other two-handed PBA bowlers can be seen in local junior leagues.
Hanover's Nick Ryncewicz, 18, started bowling two-handed about five years ago. Ryncewicz, who is slightly built, said he switched to two-handed in an effort to become more of a power bowler.
"I wanted to elevate my game," he said. "As a two-handed bowler I can get more revs and pin action. I also can hook my ball a lot more."
Ryncewicz, who averages 215 at Hanover Bowling Centre, modeled his two-handed game after Osku Palermaa of Finland. Like most two-handed bowlers, Ryncewicz is self-taught.
"I watched a lot of YouTube videos," he said.
"Making the switch to two-handed wasn't easy, but I'm glad I did it," Ryncewicz said.
York's Kerek Nokes, 14, has always bowled two-handed. He started bowling when he was 4 or 5.
"It just felt natural," he said, discussing his two-handed style. "I stuck with it. I practiced and developed my game."
Nokes, who averages 167 at Colony Park Lanes North, has his sights set on a 300 game and competing in more junior tournaments.
York's Evan Plessinger, 11, is a Jason Belmonte disciple.
"I watched some YouTube videos of Jason when I started bowling, and I was amazed by what he could do. I tried the two-handed approach, and I liked it. I've improved my technique through trial and error," he said.
Plessinger, who averages 146 at Suburban Bowlerama, said bowling two-handed gives him more ball control, allows him to use a heavier ball and hook the ball more.
Plessinger and Belmonte have written letters back and forth. Belmonte, who Plessinger calls a "cool role model," has encouraged the young Yorker's two-handed approach.
Finding two-handed coaches can be issue: Up to this point, one of the drawbacks of two-handed bowling has been there are very few adults who can teach it. Most youth bowlers are self-taught. Recently, however, two-handed bowling camps have started to crop up.
Jen Sparks, director of the youth program at Colony Park Lanes North, expects the number of two-handed youth bowlers to steadily increase.
"Two-handed bowling is much easier for some kids," she said. "From a coaching standpoint, I don't care if they bowl one-handed or two-handed. If two-handed bowling interests the kids and gets them involved in bowling, then that's good."
This story was provided through the York Area Bowling Proprietors Association.