Why I Started Coaching and What I’ve Learned

This article was written by guest contributor: Shannon O'Keefe

In the Fall of 2009 bowling had me so frustrated that I was ready to quit and find a new path. Shortly after I had these thoughts, I was asked to be a volunteer coach for a new program starting at USBC called USA Bowling. It was with a bunch of 8–10-year old’s who ended up being my co-worker’s kids. At the time I was immediately filled with regret for saying yes, because I truly believed at that time, I had nothing to give and or teach them… I was scared I was going to let everyone down.

That first meeting/practice changed the trajectory of my life forever and I didn’t even know it. Those beautiful bright eyed little girls saw something in me that I didn’t at the time, they showed up hanging on every word I said, they were willing to try anything I threw their way and they believed that I could help them become anything they wanted. Those little girls were placed in my life at the perfect time, and I know it wasn’t an accident. My little angels taught me to love this sport again, to believe I had something to give with the ability to help others, and they ignited a love and passion for coaching I was not aware existed.

My husband and I talked for years about finding an NCAA program where we could coach together, but we also knew it was going to take a special person that was crazy enough to hire a husband and wife. We found our crazy a few years later at the perfect time in our lives. We took over the bowling program at McKendree University (NCAA DII school in southern IL) in June of 2014.

Prior to taking this program over, I never coached anyone over the age of 12 or 13, so I believed the best way to find my coaching style or inspiration was from the coaches that influenced me the most during my fastpitch softball days. For those that are unaware, I was a very good softball player who was a 1st team all American as a freshman and tried out for the Olympic softball team when I was just 15. Growing up my coaches were very hard on me, they expected perfection and I worked my tail off to deliver it. My biggest fear was letting them down, and through their high standards and expectations, I exceled and achieved things that I at one time only dreamed about. So, going into collegiate coaching, I mirrored their coaching style into mine. I knew I was going to have talented players, but I believed at the time it was my job to hold them to higher expectations and standards, because if I didn’t… who would?

Even though I had success with this blueprint/style of coaching, even winning 2 NCAA National Championships, after 8 years my coaching style has come full circle. I’ve learned that success is not all about results, it’s not about winning or losing, but more about what kind of girls we are raising. Bowling is what brought us together, but bowling is not who we are. What’s most important to me is that my kids know we love them, that they know they’re worthy of anything life has to offer, and that through structure and hard work there are no limits to what they can do.

Too many people associate their self-worth on results, and I believe that is because us as coaches over the years put winning above everything else.  What we have learned is people just need to know you care, that you have their best interest at heart, and that you believe in them. When you put first things first such as love, patience, and guidance along with creating a safe place for them to really grow is when connections are made, and they’re free to play, and that’s when magical things happen.

The biggest lesson for me was learning that mistakes are going to happen and that’s ok because, as we explain to our girls, perfection is an unrealistic and impossible destination. We must make mistakes and fail in order to grow, the struggle is where we find what we are made of, and the frustration is where the good stuff happens. The best way to get through the down spouts is to embrace it and realize that it’s not permanent.

I’m grateful for the coaches that have influenced me throughout my life and I’m grateful for all my struggles. Just as I say to my girls, the failures and struggles is where you really find your path as long as you’re willing to admit your shortcomings and overcome them. I’m thankful for my girls that love me and have shown me grace as I’ve grown over the years into the coach I am today.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jon Harmon "Strikes Gold" in Abu Dhabi

This post was prepared by Storm Ambassador, Tim Cerami.

In August of 2017, we shared the story of Jon Harmon, a bowler from Boise, Idaho that was preparing to travel to Seattle to compete in the 2018 USA Special Olympic games. There, he won a silver medal in men’s singles using a Storm Son!Q donated to him by the Storm Brand Ambassador Team. In 2019, his story continues.

Upon returning home from the Seattle games, Jon got more serious about his game, spending countless hours practicing and preparing for the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. He traveled around the bowling centers in the Boise area looking to experience as many lane conditions as possible.

On March 7, 2019, Jon started his journey to Abu Dhabi along with thousands of other Special Olympics athletes. His mission… bring a gold medal back to the USA and Idaho.

Needless to say, Jon did “strike gold” while in Abu Dhabi.

Bowling with his doubles partner Tyler Baxter, Jon rolled games of 224, 214, 189 with his SON!Q to help win the doubles competition by almost 150 pins. Jon returned to Idaho to a proud community of local bowlers.

Congratulations to Jon and his partner for bringing home the gold.


Jon Harmon takes home a Silver Medal with SON!Q

Throughout the year, our Storm Ambassadors have been working hard on projects to share the mission of Storm Bowling Products while sharing their passion for bowling with local bowling communities across the United States. Recently, our Ambassadors worked on a special project with a very hard-working bowler. They’ll share their story below.

If you frequent any bowling center in the Boise, Idaho area, you’re likely to bump into Jon Harmon, 37, who spends many hours a week fine tuning his game. Since the young age of 9 years old, Jon has used bowling to help him thrive while living with autism. His determination has helped him succeed on the lanes and bowl two sanctioned perfect 300 games.

For Jon, bowling presents a great way to meet and socialize with new people while providing technical and physical challenges that keep him striving to bowl at higher levels. In addition to bowling in leagues and local tournaments, Jon also competes for Team Idaho as an athlete in the Special Olympics.

“When I first saw Jon bowl in 2015, I could tell within a few shots that he had a solid game underneath him,” Storm Brand Ambassador, Tim Cerami, said. “When I found out he was headed to the Special Olympics this year to compete, I spoke with some of his bowling buddies to see if adding a new ball to his arsenal would help him on this journey.”

From there, Tim and Jon’s friends picked the new Son!Q and made arrangements to get the ball to Boise, drilled and into Jon’s hands so he’d have plenty of practice time before the competition. Scot Archabal,
owner of Bowling Solutions Pro Shop agreed to donate the drilling and the ball was presented to Jon midway through a Wednesday night tournament. Jon was so excited to receive his new Son!Q, he pulled it out of the box and finished the tournament with zero practice. Now that’s confidence!

On July 2nd, Jon and six other bowlers lined up at Kenmore Lanes in Kenmore, Washington to start their three-game competition. Jon chose to start with the Son!Q  and stayed with it for all three games. Jon rolled games of: 201, 156 and 207 to win the silver medal in the men’s high-performance singles category.