Joe Jimenez

joe jimenezIn 1996, my daughter Samantha’s babysitter asks if Sam could join her daughter Jennifer at friendly hills to bowl in a league. Well my wife, Tommie, and I agreed it would be a good idea. So Sam joined her first bumper league. One day I want to see how everything was going at the bowling center. I did not know much about bowling them except that your arm is supposed to follow through to the top. Like when you raise your hand in class to answer a question. Sam wasn’t doing this so I asked her to brought her bowling ball up on the concourse and had an her to roll the ball to me and told her make sure her arm swings through all the way to the top. I guess that is where my coaching career started on the concourse at Friendly Hills.

Full of enthusiasm I was looking for any information I could find. Back then the best source was still the library any books any videotape anything. I would go into pro shops and ask questions about technique, bowl in pro-ams so I could talk with the pros. I would get some good information at the same time developing my own game.

By now my youngest daughter Natalie who was five and had started bowling. We had moved over to La Habra 300 were I met Molly Bradley, the junior director. She asked if I would not mind helping out with her junior program. She informed me I could go to a training class for coaching YABA level. I my instructor was a coach named Gary Keiler. His enthusiasm inspired me to the point where I needed to learn more. So I enrolled in level II class. Eventually becoming a bronze certified instructor than USBC Silver. Along the way meeting a lot of awesome bowlers and coaches. I’ve had the privilege of learning from coaches such as Suzy Minchew, Rod Ross, Dr. Dean Hinitz, Mark Baker ,Virginia Norton, Bill Taylor, and Dick Ritger to name a few.

I’ve watched young junior bowlers grow up from bumper bowler one day to driving to the center the next day, graduating high school and going on to college. Although my primary reason for coaching is junior bowlers, developing them for the next level for the next coach. I have also worked with many adults. There is nothing better than getting that phone call in the middle of the night and the voice on the other side says I just shot my highest game or my best series ever. I remember a gentleman named Bob. He was 89 years old. He was averaging 172 he said his goal was to average his age plus 100. Bob and I worked together for a while and one day I was walking through the center and Bob comes up to me with his league sheet and says my average is 191. The smile on his face was priceless. Another instance was a young lady named Heather. I met Heather midway through her league. I helped Heather straighten out her swing, and I drilled her new bowling ball before she went to sweepers. So Heather calls me from Las Vegas and says I just won our sweeper. I had the highest series of anybody. Heather was engaged to be married and with the money she won, she was able to buy her wedding dress. How awesome is that to help people achieve their goals by just telling them nope try it again.

Now in closing I like to thank a few people I know I will forget someone so I apologize.  First my friends and fellow coaches, Al Mojato Steve Lindsey even though we have different approaches we learned and grew together. Kenny Clay my second set of eyes – your growth and development of a coach far surpassed my expectations. The kids, who force me to get better at what I was doing in order for them to get better at what they were doing. My daughter Samantha who is a past CA Star of Tomorrow recipient and CA State Pepsi Champion and the seventh woman to shoot 300 at the USBC Open. And her sister Natalie who is also a past CA State Pepsi Champion as well as the Junior Gold National Champion and a member of Jr Team USA as well as a three-time All-American at the University of Central Missouri.

And finally, my wife Tommie who I love very much. Thanks for being there the last 32 years and allowing me to hang out at bowling centers for the last 17 years. You all have inspiration to become a better person, father, husband and coach.  Thank you very much – I hope I can continue to grow.