USA bowling star Jakob Butturff: How to use 'hypermobility' and ADHD to your advantage
Jakob Butturff has one of the most unique techniques in pro-bowling.
Watch him bowl and the reaction is: Wait, what?
How did he do that?
Wrist curled up like a coiled spring, fingers and thumb at a mind-bending angle, extremely short swing, lightning approach, Butturff achieves speed and spin in a way that no other bowler ever has.
Bowling coach and author Bill Spigner calls it an “almost impossible position for someone with normal flexibility to achieve.”
A little like swimmer Michael Phelps, Butturff has 'hypermobility', or what some people call 'double-jointed,' and like Phelps he's developed his own style that takes advantage of a slight physical difference.
Now at 25 years of age, maturity and consistency have made him one of the most valuable players for Team USA and this bowling star is leading the line at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima and beyond in one of the most popular sports in the USA.
Is bowling at the Olympics?
Bowling will not be at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Hopes were raised when it made the 8-sport shortlist, but it did not make the final cut along with squash and wushu.
But bowling did put together a very impressive pitch.
Despite a dip from the glory days in the 1960's, the U.S. is still bonkers for bowling with more than 67 million people bowling at least once a year and a vibrant professional scene with a big fan following.
With the kind of excellence on show from players like Butturff - who has hit 16 perfect 300 games in his career - bowling is far from its final frame.
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Kingpin, Critters, Men In Black 3
Bowling is part of life, for some even a way of life in North America.
You just have to look at the films about bowling and where it features to understand how deeply woven into the fabric of society it is.
Kingpin, Critters, The Big Lebowski, Uncle Buck, Lars and The Real Girl, and even Will Smith's blockbuster Men In Black III have all featured bowling.
They even put a bowling alley in the White House.
Jakob Butturff knows all about the culture of bowling and what it takes to make it at the very highest level.
Owning what's different about you
Learning to turn what's different about you to your advantage is a key to success in life, and in sport.
Jakob Butturff has hypermobility and was diagnosed with attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) which usually means a problem with focus.
But kids diagnosed with ADHD don't usually have an issue with concentration when it comes to things they like.
As a kid Buttruff liked to bowl, he says he used to play 20 games a day, and all that practice allowed him to develop his own non-standard physical style while also growing mentally through the game.
Now he's a consistent performer at both pro and international levels, Buttruff has won seven national PBA Tour titles (including one major), 21 PBA Regional Tour titles, and finished first at the 2017 Team USA Trials.
A first taste of international success came when Butturff and Team USA won the 2019 Weber Cup over Team Europe: bowling's Ryder Cup.
Now USA's star man wants more.
Bowling at the Pan American Games
While it hasn't featured yet at the Olympics, bowling has been a fixture at the Pan Ams since 1991.
The multi-sport competition is considered the most important event in the four-year cycle of the Team USA bowling program.
The best on the continent have battled it out every four years since 1991 and it hasn't always been dominated by the USA.
In fact the U.S. men have only won two of the seven gold medals disputed since then, with bowlers from Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil all taking home Pan Am Games gold at least once - Colombia twice.
The USA women have fared better taking five of seven, with current champion Shannon Pluhowsky the only person to ever win two gold medals: At Santo Domingo 2003 and Toronto 2015, the most recent edition.
Jakob Butturff will be out to bring something different this time around in Lima, but he'll have plenty of competition.
The defending champion is Brazil's Marcelo Suartz, and the silver medallist in Toronto was Colombian Amleto Monacelli.
Proof of the depth and diversity of bowling talent across the Americas.