by Paul Le Manquais, BTBA Head of Technical Services
A lane inspectors course was held over the weekend 14/15 April 2018. The course was for budding inspectors, but also for anybody who wanted to learn more about how lanes are built, their specification and how these are checked for compliance. Five people made it to the course after two late withdrawals due to work commitments and another whose car unfortunately broke down en-route.
The BTBA inspection manual had been rewritten and this was used for the first time, with the course presented on a new PowerPoint slide show too. This included many photographic examples of what can go wrong if maintenance is ignored.
Day one started with the mandatory safety aspects that must be observed before crossing a foul line and also before going onto a pindeck. The theory of how lanes are constructed followed by identifying the tools used. Hands on measurement, split into four separate sections completed the day. Even with two techs and some experienced bowlers on the course, there was clearly a lot of information being gained.
Day two demonstrated how an inspection spreadsheet was completed from the measurements taken on day one and the essential dos and do nots when working with the centre management and staff before and during an inspection. All of the ‘students’ then had a go at taping the lanes and running their tapes through the reader. The often-experienced difficulties that this presents were experienced too, which was welcomed by me just to prove that it can be less than a straight forward job!! Finally, the dreaded multiple-choice exam, covering both what had been taught but also requiring answers to be found from within the manuals.
This was my first time running this course, having completed mine 25 years ago. Everybody achieved a pass mark and could now undertake an inspection. This however would never be done alone on their first inspection without an experienced mentor. My thanks to those who took the course for their attention and for their active engagement.
Lisa John, BTBA Director of Memberships said, “Having been a bowler for 30 years never passing the foul line, I thought it would be interesting to see the bowling world from the other end of the lanes. I also wanted to increase my knowledge to help me in my role as Director of Membership Services. The course was fantastic and Paul is very knowledgeable about our sport. I learnt so much during the weekend that will not only help me in my role within the BTBA but as a bowler going forward. The course is very informative and I would recommend more people should go on it if they have the opportunity. The more people that understand this element of our sport, the more we can feed out that knowledge to the general bowling community to give them a greater understanding of what is involved in a bowling centre inspection. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul and the BTBA for putting on this course.”
Although new inspectors are needed, this course would benefit just about everybody by dispelling myths and developing understanding. Keep an eye out on the BTBA Facebook page and website for future opportunities.