In athletics, there definitely is a difference between the abilities of men and women, even if they are equally trained.
The gender gap in performance, documented by an Olympic study, is about 10 percent for equally trained athletes. They found as performances increased, they increased in both men and women.
Strength is a big factor, which not only enhances performance, but also helps prevent injury. That being said, a female better-trained than a male counterpart will out-perform a man, and visa versa. Bowling is no different. Strength plays a role in performance, and the best-trained bowlers have the longest life spans in the sport.
There is a difference in men’s and women’s bowling games. The women are more technically sound. Women develop more repeatable physical games. Basically, they become better shot makers. The better the shot making the more accurate the player.
Watching the women pros of today, you see great form and very solid finishing positions. You see the same thing with a lot of men today, also. But, because of strength, the power that a male can deliver a bowling ball is significantly greater. This power gives the male bowler a much better chance of delivering a powerful strike ball, which with all things being equal, will out-perform a weaker strike ball.
If it’s the 10 percent, like the Olympic study stated, that would equate to a huge difference, but I believe the difference in bowling is more like three or four percent, with all things being equal.
There are a lot of international events that give the women eight pins a game of handicap to try to equal the playing field, and it appears to work. Women win some of these events, which proves that the handicap is fair, but it actually makes the events handicap tournaments which is another subject.
Most male professional bowlers have earlier ball placements, which not only makes the ball lighter, it helps speed up the approach, and they don’t feel the drag of the weight on their swings.
An earlier, higher back swing allows more time on the down swing to load up the arm and wrist to get the fingers more under the ball. By being able to load up for the release on the down swing, the longer swings use gravity to bend the elbow and cup the wrist.
Many girls develop form first, then try to develop power. The opposite happens with males. They go after power first and form second. Boys learn to play a lot of different sports at a young age, and they develop speed and power, which are very important in any sport at any age to stand out, and bowling is no different.
The bottom line is that the big difference in men and women with equally trained athletes is strength, and the men will out-perform the women.
We have had the pleasure of seeing Kelly Kulick win the PBA’s Tournament of Champions, Liz Johnson making a couple of PBA shows and a number of women win PBA regional titles.
Bowling requires not only the physical side to play great, but hugely requires a great mental game. The mental side of bowling is something that really separates athletes with equal physical talent.