A Microcosm of Chuck on the Truck

A Microcosm of Chuck on the Truck


By Chuck Gardner, Brunswick PBA Tour Product Specialist



What exactly is it that you do?  Let’s see if I can provide you with some insight into that answer.


My entire adult life has centered on bowling in some form or fashion.  I have been a PBA member for (gulp) 30+ years, bowled on and off the regional and national tours and owned a 32 lane bowling center for almost ten years.  I was the Founder of a small chain of pro shops called Bowling Solutions, with locations in NC and SC (and at one point in FL) , which my wife currently operates and manages to this day.


I have been a USBC Silver Level Coach for numerous years.  My hectic travel schedule and time constraints with other responsibilities have made it prohibitive for me to pursue the Gold status.  In all honesty it has not been a realistic priority for me.


Currently I live the ultimate dream job with Brunswick Bowling.  My position is clearly multi-faceted with my priority being working with the greatest bowlers in the world.  As the PBA Tour Rep for Brunswick Bowling, coaching our awesome staff players can’t help but make you look good!!!   I travel the world with the Brunswick Staff Players with the critical goal of getting our fabulous equipment on TV and ultimately winning.


Whether is it Junior Gold, Lane Play, Ball Dynamics, round table discussions or some other topic, I truly enjoy participating in seminars and public speaking, no matter what the venue.  Teaching, helping people enjoy the game more and helping grow the sport of bowling is definitely one of my passions.


Here is a brief outline of my thought process when getting the Brunswick staff ready for a tournament.  I am a huge advocate in preparation.  One of my favorite quotes is “Lack of planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part”.


Most of the players have their own practice regimen.  It is important for me to understand the mentality and personality of each player, as their individual wants and needs are very different.  The process for getting ready for an event differs with each player.  It is their responsibility to arrive with a versatile arsenal in which to gauge practice session, having different types of balls and layouts that match up to their game and the lane pattern.


While this sport is both physical and mental, some players are more heavily focused on one over the other.  It is critical for them to have the right mindset for the event.  There is a huge difference in mentally preparing for the high scoring TOC versus the low scoring grind of the US Open.  Personally I believe that shot repetition is the key to most players’ success, but understanding and controlling the emotions of the game can be just as important.  I subscribe to the one shot at a time thought process.  It really is all about knocking down as many pins as you can, every frame.


I have a fairly simple practice regimen that I like for our staff players to follow, although not all of them do.  In the first quarter of practice session I simply want them to throw some shots to get loose,  to get their tempo in place, test the approaches and for them to “see what they see” for lane and ball reaction.


In the second quarter I want them to throw a variety of their arsenal down the lane.  At this point the goal is to get a feel of which ball(s) and angle of attack will work the best in the early part of the block.


In the third quarter I want to review the ball steps – this means watching what is happening as the lanes transition and what moves will be necessary.  Will it be a ball change, a surface change, more or less axis rotation, more or less speed, perhaps playing a different part of the lane or even utilizing a different release?


In the final or fourth quarter I prefer to have the entire group of our staff players on the same pair of lanes.  Although the tournament is more often than not an individual event, we operate as a team.  This is a great time for everyone to compare their thought processes with each other.  This could be what they saw as they moved from lane to lane with ball reaction, issues with lane topography, racks and/or approaches.   They also can provide valuable insight into something they observed for another player.


I start the process of getting input from each player and compare their thoughts to what I saw.  As I have been making notes during the entire practice session, I am able to easily distinguish what I deem as gaps in their arsenal.  I evaluate each player individually and one at a time, updating my notes in preparation for a trip to “the truck”.  I normally have a method to my madness, working first with the players that like to keep it simple.  These players would include Walter Ray Williams Jr, Parker Bohn III, Sean Rash and Ronnie Russell.


I move then to the guys that are way more analytical and complicated.  Because these guys (like Ryan Ciminelli, Mike Machuga and Tom Hess), more often than not utilize equipment to make adjustments versus making changes in their physical game during a block, they tend to drill more balls.


I now head to “the truck” with my notes to begin the process of laying out balls to be drilled.  This could take 2-3 hours after the completion of the practice session.  I will choose the balls, the surface, and the layout, draw the lines on the balls and get them in line to be drilled by the PBA truck staff.


Some guys like to talk that evening, some in the morning and there are even a few that don’t want to talk at all, but I am a true believer in having a game plan to prepare for battle.  I like to have a “Plan A” for what equipment they are going to start with and what the natural progression would or should be.  Of course “Plan A” doesn’t always work, as sometimes the lanes have been known to play entirely different than practice session, but planning your work and working your plan is a true map for success.