Local Sports

Justin Malik credits recent bowling hot streak to coach Brian Robinson

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Justin Malik doesn’t fit the typical description of an athlete in the prime of his career.

The 40 year-old general manager at Suburban Lanes has been bowling in one form or another for over 30 years — he’s at neither the age nor point in his career you would expect an athlete to hit their peak.

However, results on the lanes speak for themselves, and Malik recently pulled off the hottest two weeks of his career — managing four 800-series in that time frame, including a pair of 300-games. Perhaps, most impressively, the performances came across three different oil patterns in multiple local leagues. Before this streak, he has managed an 800-series just six times in his career.

“It’s a great feeling. I hadn’t had too many scores like this in the past couple years. It always feels like one of those ‘close but no cigar’ deals. When I got the first one I was elated,” he said.

“I try to stay humble because I know I could walk out next week in the league and shoot a 550-series and that brings you back down to earth, but it’s nice to enjoy these accomplishments.”

Malik credits his recent success with a combination of developments. As a regional staff member with Brunswick Bowling, he has found its products complement his game well. His two 300-games came using a Brunswick Method Solid and the soon-to-be-released Brunswick Vapor Zone Solid.

Working with local PBA member Brian Robinson, who bowls and coaches at Suburban, has played a role in helping develop Malik’s game. Robinson and pro shop operator Kyle Davy suggested altering his grip.

Davy re-drilled Malik’s balls to fit the change and Robinson worked on efficiency with the new style

“He gave me a lot of things and helpful hints to work on,” Malik said. “Changing the grip, the ball felt really good on my hand and I was able to replicate shots easier. From there, he worked with me on different hand positions, relaxing my grip, and getting the ball off better.

“We tweaked a few things. He’s a really good bowler and he was going through a bit of a struggle. We talked about the way the ball was coming off his hand because it’s not where we wanted it to be. When he gets it coming softer off his hand, he’s a great bowler. Between Kyle and I, we were able to help, and he’s been bowling lights out. I’ve seen very few people be able to do what he’s been doing right now.”

Robinson picking up momentum before PBA Summer Tour

Robinson will be back on the road at the professional level soon, as he will head off to tackle the PBA Summer Tour. But first, he needed to take care of business at home.

In addition to guiding Malik’s recent success, Robinson captured the top finish last Thursday during the Summer Sweeper Series at Suburban Lanes.

“Any win’s a win. It’s always nice to get one, especially as I’ve been making some tweaks in my game, and I’ve got the summer tour with the PBA coming up. It’s nice to know everything I’ve been working on has paid off.”

Each of the three games for each bowler during the weekly series is played on a different lane, and last week featured an added challenge — dual oil patterns on the lanes.

Such an atmosphere provides a serious mental challenge, but should help prepare Robinson for the upcoming tour.

“How they apply the oil can change how you have to play that lane,” Robinson said. “I just used some different hand positions and different speeds. You just have to be able to change gears mentally immediately. It’s like being on a golf course and having to hit a hook one shot and a fade the next.”

“They make it so difficult,” Malik added. “You can’t just get zeroed in on a pair of lanes, you’re doing a different pair of lanes each game to begin with in this league, and with the dual patterns everything just breaks down. Your mental game has to be on point. You can’t just get up there in the right lane and throw the ball the same way you did in the left lane — it’s going to be completely different.”

Suburban Lanes offers coaching for those interested and are now doing sign-ups for league play this fall. Anyone interested can contact the bowling center.

“I would just like to thank our owners Steve, Gregg, and Jerry Lorenze. They offer a great facility and do so much for bowling in this area. Without them we wouldn’t have what we have,” Malik said.