Frequently Asked Questions
Wichita State's 330 acre main campus is a community treasure. An abundance of trees, flowers and shrubs reflects all four seasons. Nearly 70 outdoor sculptures adorn campus. Hundreds of banners grace light poles, adding color to the landscape and reflecting the pride surrounding in the institution. Wichita State is also one of the 30 safest campuses of its size in the country. Great pride is taken in that outstanding safety record.
Student-athletes are not required to have personal transportation in order to attend classes. Freshmen at Wichita State are required to live on campus. Every building on campus is within walking distance from the dorms. Even though Kansas experiences all four seasons of weather, transportation is not a problem.
With regard to transporting bowling equipment back and forth from dorms, some student-athletes may need to seek assistance from other students or take advantage of university transportation available around campus. There are also lockers available in the Rhatigan Student Center (RSC) to use for bowling equipment.
First, if they are not on some type of physical conditioning program, they should start. Don’t wait until tryouts to get in shape.
Secondly, they should bowl as much as possible. This practice should be on a regular basis, over a number of weeks, not just in the week leading up to tryouts. Their practice should be on a wide variety of lane conditions and lane surfaces. THEY SHOULD PRACTICE ON SPARE SHOOTING.
Absolutely. Bowling at the collegiate level is a highly competitive team sport. Unfortunately, youth bowling is still very individual. The program has seen those student-athletes with other sport experience, especially team sports, adapt quickly to college bowling resulting as an asset for the team. The skills of team play, coachability, communication, and selflessness are aspects most athletes learn while competing in team sports and continues to be sought after at the collegiate level.
To remain eligible to bowl collegiately a student-athlete may not be a member of a professional bowling organization. They may bowl and compete in adult leagues and tournaments. As an adult USBC member, they may win cash or merchandise prizes.
Currently, the Wichita State University Bowling Program's women’s team is not affiliated with the university athletic department. As such, any NCAA restrictions do not apply.
No. Currently both the Shocker Bowling men’s and women’s teams are classified “independent varsity” sports. The coaching staff is supportive of the NCAA movement within college bowling.
Scholarship aid is available from not only the university, but also through the Shocker Bowling Program. Student-athletes wishing to be considered for scholarship aid through the bowling program need to complete a bowling scholarship application form in the spring prior to attending Wichita State and trying out for the bowling team. The deadline for submitting a bowling scholarship application is May 15.
The coaching staff will review the scholarship applications and award bowling program scholarships.
Yes, a 2.25 GPA on all WSU hours is required for a student-athlete to be eligible to compete for the WSU Bowling Program. The 2.25 GPA is the requirement, but we expect our student-athletes to strive for and achieve a much higher academic standard. The Shocker Bowling Program academic standard is higher than the standard GPA of 2.0 allowed by USBC Collegiate.
Yes. Many outstanding left-handed bowlers have been members of the Wichita State bowling teams. Those student-athletes include;
Josh Hale, 1994-95 1st Team All-American, Runner-Up Collegiate Bowler of the Year, MVP and All-Tournament Team at the Intercollegiate Bowling Championships
Rosine Marschke, 1993-94 Collegiate Bowler of the Year
Katie Verbil, 2001-02 2nd Team All-American
A.J. DeMond, 2001-2004
T.J. Mento, 2005-2006 Collegiate Rookie of the Year
Osama Khalfan, 2005-2008 ;Multiple time Bahrain National Team member
Diana Leal, 2004-2006; Multiple time Columbian National Team member
Felicia Wong, 2005-2009; Multiple time Canadian Youth National Team member
Samantha Linder, 2006-2005 Junior Team USA member
Erik Gulbrandson, 2010-2011 Junior Team USA member
Matt McNiel, 2013-2015 USBC Open Championships Eagles
Wesley Low, 2013-2017 Junior Team USA member, multiple World Youth Championships gold medals
Left-handed bowlers are the minority and can be rare to come by. The Shocker Bowling Program is always interested in finding and developing the best players it can to achieve success for each team.
When attempting to organize a group of 20 or more individuals, rules and guidelines for all to follow are enforced to maintain order. Each student-athlete's main responsibilities are to believe-in and follow the philosophy of the program. The main components of the programs philosophy include a strong work/training ethic, loyalty to the program, and a desire to learn. In addition to those philosophy components, student-athletes need to have good listening skills and the ability to follow directions.
Occasionally instances may occur that require discipline to maintain the focus on the team. Discipline often includes loss of player privileges .
Student-athletes in the Shocker Bowling Program are expected to represent the university and their teammates in an outstanding manner.
Student-athletes' main responsibilities are to believe-in and follow the philosophy of the program. The main components of the program’s philosophy are a strong work/training ethic, loyalty to the program, and a desire to learn.
The bowling program prides itself with building teams that learn to work together. This entails bringing together each member of the team to achieve accomplishments and common goals. A team is always stronger when they are together; meaning everyone must be involved.
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Freshman regularly make the selected team every year. The bowling program has had many freshman make the starting line-up for seasoned tournament play. Each player's skills, knowledge, attitude, and tryout statistics are considered by the coaching staff when selecting players for the team.
Tryouts are typically held over a two to three week period, early in the fall semester.
The tryout fee helps offset the $371,000 cost of running the bowling team. The bowling program has three ways of producing income; those of which include fundraising (the Strike-a-thon and Ball Giveaway), Rhatigan Student Center allocations (student fees), and player fees that every student-athlete pays by the end of the first week of tryouts. Player fees are a standard practice and necessary for the vast majority of college bowling programs. The program fee remains as one of the smallest player fees in the nation even though no other program comes close to offering the services Wichita State does, covering 95% of the costs of the bowling team.
Various information is looked at to determine the selected teams. During the tryout process a number of statistics are recorded to give the coaching staff some objective data to help with their decision. Some of these statistics include; percentage of pocket hits, percentage of spares made, percentage of strikes carried, percentage of splits converted, average pin-fall on 1st ball, and game average.
Beyond all of the objective data, the coaching staff is also looking at other areas of importance such as teamwork, communication, attitude, past competitive history, and the student-athletes ability to get along and work with others.
The coaches may or may not pre-select a variable number of players and place them directly on the selected team. The remaining team members may be added upon the completion of tryouts.
The only difference for a returning team member going through the tryout and team selection process is that the coaching staff will have some personal experience and a working knowledge of the skills and attributes of that person. This can either be a positive or negative aspect with regard to the tryout and team selection process. Returning team members have an established level of skill and ability to which they are expected to maintain or improve upon during the off-season in order to be prepared for tryouts. This can be challenging for those members.
It is not unusual for returning team members to fall short and miss the cut. Recent records show there has been at least one person every year who tries out after being on the team and does not make it the following year.
That is typically an individual decision. If your child is actively bowling in a wide number of junior events, either locally, regionally, and/or nationally, they may be able to get enough competitive experience to aid their growth as a player. If however, the student-athlete is not getting enough competitive experience bowling junior events, it may be time to consider moving up to competing at the adult level.
The resources offered by the Shocker Bowling Program have been known to aid student-athletes in reaching the most elite level of youth bowling; usually in a short amount of time. Although this improvement varies with each player – it is important to realize that in order to compete collegiately –most players must strive to reach the competitive bowling level beyond college – elite amateur bowling. In recent years the highest level collegiate bowlers and teams have gained invaluable training by competing in adult levels of our sport. Finding ample competitive training opportunities is the key to this decision.
It is important to note that the program contains student-athletes who are not selected their first or second year, but with a strong work ethic, improve and do eventually make the selected team. The importance of finding ways for those non-selected student-athletes to continue working and improving is crucial.
The Shocker Bowling Program has developed an Elite Skill Center in which all student-athletes have the opportunity to participate in. This Skill Center includes educational classes which cover a wide array of topics. Some of these topics include physical conditioning, professional bowling, lane play, ball dynamics, and the physical game. These classes are taught by the coaching staff as well as some outstanding presenters including Dean Hinitz, the Kegel Company, Rick Benoit and Fred Borden. Each of these presenters has recognition not only nationally, but internationally. They are experts in their field and it is a privilege and honor to have them as part of the educational sessions in the program's Elite Skill Center.
In addition to the educational classes, the coaching staff will select a developmental team from the non-selected players. This team gets the opportunity to bowl for WSU in a condensed season of regular collegiate tournaments. These tournaments are offered to developmental players to provide inspiration and motivation to continue practicing, working, and learning as to more quickly reach the selected team status. These student-athletes are welcome to use their free practice privileges on and off campus to continue their growth.
Student-athletes who are not selected for the team have the opportunity to take advantage of the corporate ball buying program. This program is a great chance for players to learn about using equipment as a key part of their adjustments.
Currently, the Shocker Bowling team does not have a bowling ball sponsorship. If this should change, the coaches would work with the players to Accommodate this change.
The bowling program's regimen is a busy one.
First, team practice sessions are held Monday-Thursday, 2:30-5:30 p.m. During these sessions, the team works on skill development, adjustments, and competitive training. Team workouts are held in the last hour of practice. This exercise program is designed to improve the physical condition of the each team member allowing them to gain a competitive advantage in the long days of tournament play.
Second, each team member schedules a weekly individual evaluation session with Assistant Coach Mark Lewis, one of the greatest coaches in collegiate bowling history. These sessions are used to focus on improvements specific to each person. The latest technology, videos, and coaching techniques are used to assist each student athlete.
Third, student-athletes are part of regularly scheduled small team meetings. These meetings cover topics including leadership, teamwork, sport psychology, communication, goal setting, and various other items designed to strengthen the team.
Fourth, educational classes are provided by the Shocker Bowling Program. These classes cover various subjects which expose student-athletes to information and presenters that will help them with bowling as well as personal growth. No other bowling program conducts educational classes as the Shocker Bowling Program does.
The main component of determining the potential success of every student athlete is their level of commitment and independent work beyond the work required of them. The harder a student-athletes works, the more they will get out of the exceptional opportunities exposed by the program.
Around 14 hours per week will be devoted to team activities and training. This estimate does not include any competitions on the weekends. The responsibilities harbored by student-athletes in the bowling program include;
Team practices: Monday-Thursday, 2:30-5:15 p.m. (11 hrs.)
Small Team Meetings: Once per week for 2 hours.
Coach Lewis 2-on-1 Evaluation Session: Once per week for 1 hour.
Yes. Parents and friends are welcome to attend any team practice sessions. However, these are team practices where everyone's focus is needed especially for whatever skill or drill the team may be working on. Any conversations or discussions with either players or coaches should be limited to the time before or after practice.
No. One of the main jobs of any team is to get everyone to work together; this is accomplished by have continuity. The team works together all year in practice, workouts, meetings and at tournaments. Comments and suggestions are welcomed, but they must go through the coaching staff. The communication between players and the coaches is crucial to the team and its success. By allowing each player to have their own coach, trust gets lost.
Support is the best way parents can assist the team. The participation of parents in fundraisers is crucial to the success of the bowling program. A great fundraiser conducted every year is the Strike-a-thon. The annual Strike-a-thon is the single largest fundraising event of the year, bringing in anywhere from $20,000 to $35,000. Prior to the Strike-a-thon, each bowler and their parents gather sponsors who either donate a flat contribution or a pledge per strike. If donors wish to make a pledge, the minimum is $.10 per strike. On a designated date, all bowlers (assigned to squads throughout the day) will roll as many strikes as possible. Each squad ends when the first bowler rolls 100 strikes. The bowler is then responsible for collecting all pledged money from each sponsor.
Once the teams are selected, practice will be held Monday-Thursday 2:30-5:30 p.m. On-lane practice will be held during the first two hours, followed by workouts during the last hour. During the on-lane time, players work on skills including spare shooting, alignments, loft, ball speed, releases, lane play, and team play. This time together is an integral part of the program; it allows all of the team members to come together and evolve as a unit.
Records show that anywhere from 8-12 men and 8-12 women are chosen as members of the WSU bowling teams. USBC Collegiate allows a roster size of eight men and eight women to compete during tournaments throughout the year. Generally, the determination of who travels is based upon those individuals who work the hardest in practice and demonstrate a readiness to compete. The selected roster is determined at the discretion of the coaches.
Approximately two weeks is the time frame given for the announcement of selected traveling teams. Players are responsible for letting their family and friends know about team selections. Typically, the selection announcement is made to the players during practice.
No. The Shocker Bowling Program works diligently to allocate funds in the most efficient manner which does not include travel arrangements for members outside the coaching staff, selected team, and developmental team.
There are two main differences between junior and collegiate competition. The level of ability is significantly higher on the collegiate side. You may have already seen some of the college players at junior competitions. There are, however, a greater number of elite players at the college level.
A second difference is that youth competition is primarily individual, especially on the national scene with only a few team events. College bowling consists primarily of team competitions with a few individual events and awards coming from the team events. Working as a team to achieve a common goal is a very rewarding experience.
Typically college bowling tournaments are conducted over weekends and holidays. This past year the teams missed six Fridays, two Thursdays, and one Wednesday. However, some students can schedule to have very few to no classes on Friday. Without classes on Friday, this type of schedule is not too much of a burden on student-athletes.
Student-athletes are not excused from any of their required classwork. It is up to each student-athlete to fulfill all requirements expected of them by their instructors. If that means handing in papers or taking tests prior to departing for competition, they must get it done.
Winning is a goal of every competition. One of the main goals from the start of the season is to prepare the teams for post-season play, which include the ITC Sectional Qualifier and USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships.
Another goal at the beginning of the season is for every player to improve. This means that teams must be selected for each competitive tournament. Selecting players allows each individual to gain competitive experience. In order to get better, players must be given the chance to compete. This exposure allows each player to improve.
Individual success is a product of team success. The bowling program has seen an abundance of instances in which this statement rings true, hence the 316 All-Americans produced from the program. It is evident that each player's likelihood of being successful is increased when the team works together and learns from each other.
Each competitive event's lineup is selected at the discretion of the coaching staff. Generally, coaches will select the five players who are best matched up to the lane condition and are ready to play. Each team member is reminded to help the other teammates increase his/her pinfall by 10 pins a game rather than just improving their own score.
The Shocker Bowling coaching staff has divided the responsibilities in a way that allows all 16-24 team members to continue improving their game while still getting other tasks accomplished.
Administrative duties are carried out by Head Coach Gordon Vadakin. Along with administrative duties, Vadakin manages small team meetings in which sports psychology, team play, leadership, and other mental dynamics are discussed.
Assistant Coach Mark Lewis is responsible for team training and on-lane conditioning. This includes team and individual practice times.
Both world renowned coaches work with the teams during collegiate competitions.
The amount of time will vary depending on the competition. College bowling tournaments can be very demanding on student-athletes, leaving minimal time for additional activities. It is not unusual for a tournament schedule to consist of practice at 7:30 a.m., start at 8 a.m., and finish at 5 p.m. Team meetings are usually held each night between competition days.
If included in the tournament schedule, lunch and dinner times are the best options for student-athletes to spend time with their families. Before leaving with family members, student-athletes must check with one of the coaches for approval.
Demanding schedules sometimes leave little time for student-athletes to meet with family members. Keep this in mind as you make plans.
The Shocker Bowling Program provides secondary medical health insurance for members of the selected teams. All student-athletes participating in the program are required to have primary medical health insurance coverage. This could be coverage provided by a policy with their parents or one they may have themselves. A student medical health insurance policy is also available through the Student Health Department on the Wichita State University campus.
The Shocker Bowling Program will cover the cost of travel, lodging, uniforms, and entry fees. In addition to those expenses the program will provide a modest per diem to each student-athlete to help offset their food expenses during the duration of the trip. Anything in addition to those items mentioned are the responsibility of the student-athletes. Occasionally, the program will pay for additional practice or ball work at a competition site.
In the past, bowling teams have traveled by van, charter bus, and aircraft. The travel distance will often dictate which method of travel is used for competitions. Safety is also one of the most significant factors in deciding travel methods.
Bowling in a league during the school year is not necessary. In fact, we encourage our student- athletes to spend much of their free time training. Often student-athletes believe that bowling in league is like practice when in reality it is not. More can be accomplished when someone can work on repeating a specific skill. In a league you are not able to throw 10 or more consecutive shots at a 10 pin, if you expect to score well.
Ideally, one league would suffice for the student-athlete to work on competitive routines and other skills that would be used in collegiate competitions.
Typically we found that busy people get more done, simply because they have no time to waste. The schedule of a shocker bowler is quite full of training and academics. The full schedule helps keep students on track and they end up with better grades in the classroom as well.