Fit Kids February: Fitness a Strike for Kids Who Bowl

It may seem more like something you do on date night, but bowling can be great exercise. Hundreds of kids flock every week to a bowling alley on Staten Island for a fun workout. NY1's Roger Clark paid a visit for this Fit Kids February Report.

Nothing like the sound of those pins getting knocked down. Just ask Sarah Tolnes, who bowls Saturday mornings at Rab's Country Lanes on Staten Island. 

"I really like to get a lot of strikes but that doesn't happen often," says bowler Sarah Tolnes.

But that's okay, because the junior bowling programs at Rab's aren't only about strikes and spares; they also involve getting some exercise while having, well, a ball. The kids are as young as three years old. 

"We start them as long as they can pick up a bowling ball. If you can't pick it up we have a little ramp,they can use and throw it down themselves," says Frank Wilkinson, owner of Rab's Country Lanes.     

"It's something they can do with their friends, with their family, and there's not a lot of sports that you can share with a wide range of ages and abilities," says general manager Nazareth Laursen.

In some cases, the kids are coached by young bowlers who came up through the program themselves. 

"Many of my kids have come back as junior coaches. They help the little ones now," says youth coordinator Terri Hart.

And you are never too old to get some pointers. House Pro Ray Laursen worked with me even though I practically grew up at the old Hollywood Lanes in Queens. The lesson was a success.    

Ray points out that unlike in other organized youth sports, you really can't get benched in bowling. 

"We have ten frames. If you are on the team, you are bowling ten frames. It's not like we are going to put you in for a couple of frames and we take you out," says Ray Laursen, who owns Country Pro Shop. 

Maybe that's why more than 500 kids hit the lanes each week in afterschool and weekend leagues, learning that practice may not make perfect just yet, but definitely helps you knock down a few more pins. 

"It's kind of learning as you go along," says bolwer Peter Tedesco.

"The first game, I didn't do so good but then I started getting better at the second game," says bowler Savannah Gomez. 

For more information on all of the kids programs here at Rab's Country Lanes, just head to bowlatrabs.com.

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