By :Matt Le Cren
Attending the Powerstrike 300 camp helped Aurora resident Violet Kirk become one of the best high school bowlers in the state.
The former Waubonsie Valley star was back at the camp on Wednesday, but in a different capacity.
Kirk is a counselor at the three-day camp, which is run by former Waubonsie coach Marty Miller at Bowling Green Sports Center in West Chicago. Several dozen young bowlers received instruction while 17 college coaches watched.
“The camp really helped me with getting my fundamentals more solid and also learning about colleges,” Kirk said. “Being coached by the college players, I was able to learn about scholarship opportunities and how college works.”
Kirk was a member of Waubonsie’s 2014 state championship team and finished 12th in the 2015 state meet.
She attended Powerstrike in 2014 and 2015, when she received instruction from former Oswego East star Giselle Poss, the 2013 state champion.
“I learned a lot going into my senior year,” Kirk said. “Giselle really helped me a lot learning about lane play.
“Because my fundamentals were so solid, she could help me with more mental things a lot of people don’t get to work on at the camp because a lot of people here are beginners. I was thankful for that.”
Miller, who recently stepped down after guiding Waubonsie to five state trophies in the past six seasons, hires former students to coach at the camp. He brought on Kirk after she graduated last year.
“That’s one of the most gratifying parts of this,” Miller said. “They are on the payroll now, but they’ve learned the life lesson of putting something back and that’s really important.
“I pay for them to get certified by the USBC, so it means the camper has the benefit of getting good, industry-standard information.”
In addition, the counselors pass on what they have learned in college. Kirk earned all-conference honors as a freshman last year at Jackson State, finishing fourth at the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament.
“It’s cool to be on the other side now because I’ve had experience,” Kirk said. “There were things I didn’t get told before I went to college, so I try to give people wjho are going to college more knowledge than I had so they don’t have any questions.
“For example, NCAA bowling is extremely intense. You miss one spare and it’s a huge deal because that can really bring down your team. Spares are a big deal because the shots are so much harder and the strike rate is lower, so if you don’t spare, you’re hurting your team.”
Such information is appreciated by campers like Natalie Cura, who will be a senior at Waubonsie. She helped the Warriors finish third at the 2017 state meet.
“It was helpful to hear her perspective on things,” Cura said. “It is good to hear from other people, not just from coaches, about how they have similar problems to me so they can help me to perfect it.”
In fact, teaching is a learning process for Kirk, an aspiring graphic designer who made the dean’s list and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
“It’s a lot different,” Kirk said. “You have to learn people’s personalities and how they learn pretty quickly because you only have three days with them.
“I have to figure out what we’re going to work on and how am I going to be able to get my point across to them so they can understand it and reach their full potential.”
Matt Le Cren is a freelance writer for the Naperville Sun.