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A two-handed revolution

Belmonte nailing a strike

Back in the 1970s, says Bobby Ghosh in Bloomberg, tennis players Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors “changed how millions around the world would hold a racket”. Until then, people who had grown up hitting a two-handed backhand – to compensate for weak wrists and arms – switched to a single-handed technique as adults. But not Evert and Connors. They stuck with their two-handed shots, and in doing so “changed the norm” for countless players around the world. A generation later, the single-handed backhand is considered an “oddity”.

Now something similar is happening in 10-pin bowling. Jason Belmonte, a 40-year-old Australian, is the Tiger Woods of the sport: he has won 15 major tournaments, four more than anyone else, and bowled a “perfect 300” (that’s 12 consecutive strikes) a record three times in televised competitions. And, crucially, he bowls with two hands rather than one, just as he did growing up. The style is catching on. Two-handed bowlers now account for around 40% of entrants in youth tournaments, including nine of the 10 finalists at last year’s Professional Bowling Association juniors final. As PBA Commissioner Tom Clark says, “We’re not too far away from the day when they will be the majority.”