When it comes to bowling, I think I'm in a similar place to many people.
I bowled in youth leagues for 5 or 6 years growing up - during middle school and high school. We had coaches who wandered the lanes, helping us out and teaching us solid fundamentals. While I enjoyed bowling, I didn't take it very seriously. For me, it was a few hours out of the house with my friends on Saturday morning. For my parents, it was probably a few precious hours of peace without my brother and I underfoot. I very rarely practiced outside of leagues and never truly focused on improving my game. As such, I don't think I ever really elevated my average much beyond 140 or 150.
At some point later in high school, I began to lose interest in bowling and gave up youth leagues. Aside from occasional games of open bowling with friends, I gave up bowling for nearly 8 years. It was 4 or 5 years ago that a friend of mine asked me to join his team on a men's league. It sounded like fun so I went out, picked up a new ball, and gave it a go.
I still didn't take bowling seriously but being an adult and throwing a 15lb. reactive ball vs being a teenager throwing a 14lb urethane ball made a difference. My average the first year was 165 and climbed to 170 the second year. Unfortunately, the team dissolved so there was no third year however, another friend of mine was bowling on an unsanctioned corporate league and asked me to sub for his team. I subbed fairly frequently for two years and averaged 181 the first year, 184 the second.
Unfortunately, I don't believe the sudden jump in my average can be credited to an improvement on my part. The corporate league was at a different bowling alley and I believe it had easier lane conditions. That being said, the higher average did do one thing - it got me really fired up about bowling for the first time. It made me realize that I could be a better bowler and perhaps even be competitive someday.
I intend to be a better bowler and I've started this blog to document how I go about it. I'll be documenting my successes as well as my failures here so hopefully it will be of use to other bowlers in similar situations.