Sloan Ranger rides to Shanghai

One player to watch this year is going to be Ireland’s Chris Sloan. A young pro shop operator now living in Sweden and an amazingly talented two hander. He is much travelled in all the World zones, gaining experience year on year and will be a contender in Shanghai.

We got a chance to interview Chris during a very busy tournament schedule, here is what we found out..

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Shanghai will be a great experience for sure Chris, this is not your first trip to a World Cup though, Back in 2013 you fired two 300 games. How was that first WC for you?

The World Cup in 2013 was pretty cool, I think I can safely say I would never have gotten to see Krasnoyarsk if it had not been for that event ha ha. It was -20 degrees nearly everyday and there was not much to do in general so it was a pretty good way to get to know all the bowlers as we all stayed in the same hotel. My bowling balls never showed up so I am looking forward to competing with the balls I intended on using haha.



What training and lane play will you now do in the lead up to China?.

My training regime will most likely stay the same on the lanes. I have been working on a couple of new things which I’m hoping will come into my game over the next couple of weeks. Off the lanes I have decided that I need to start going to the gym more and working on fitness, so that part of training will increase.



With a long format event, do you look at preparation in a totally different way to other events?

To be completely honest not really anymore, I used to train differently but the training I do now may not be as much quantity but definitely more quality sessions. I have started to look at it as the game doesn’t change but only the occasion.



Over the last 3 or so years you have made steady progress, sometimes showing flashes of what you are really capable of. How different now are you to the player that played in 2013?

I would like to think that I am becoming a better player with every new experience I gain on the lanes. I often look back at videos from 2013,2014,2015 and I am shocked at what I thought looked really good back then, even up to last year I take a look back at tournaments where I felt like I was in good shape, throwing it well and think… did I really look like that ? haha. I still think that I need to mature a little more on the lanes with letting bad shots go and picking myself back up. I feel like I have came a long way from the player and person I was back then though.



Coach Brian Michael continues to be a guiding light in your progress, How does his coaching methods differ to other people who have advised you in the past?

Brian has Indescribable coaching methods. He has helped me on and off the lanes with physical and mental game, teaching me to become a better player and a better person as time goes on. .



Outside of competitive play, what do you do with your time be it work or relaxation?

I operate a Pro Shop called Xtreme International here in Sweden for work which keeps me fairly busy whenever I’m not on the lanes bowling. To relax I like to take it easy at home by cooking and watching films or t.v series.



Bowling is a World of highs and lows, How do you deal with disappointment when an event did not go as well as hoped?

Taking the constant knocks are pretty hard. I have learned to deal with it by just accepting what’s happened and moving on… albeit I may not act like that for the first couple of hours after missing a cut or step to the next round. The best way for me to get out of a slump or having a disappointing tournament is to bowl my way out of it on the practice lanes followed by a small break to build up some hunger for the next event.



Bowlers around Europe and the wider World will have seen you on the lanes either live in person or on streaming tapping your shoes numerous times before you bowl. Why did this start and what is the reason for it?

Magic. To be honest its just a feel thing and its part of my pre shot routine now haha.



As tournament wins go, what would it mean to actually win the World Cup in Shanghai for you and your country?

Winning in Shanghai would be phenomenal, I have always wanted to win the World Cup. Regardless of the result Shanghai I am just happy that I have the opportunity to compete.



Being critical of yourself Chris, What things do you feel you need to work harder on to become that complete bowler on the lanes?

I don’t think that you can ever become a complete bowler. At the end of the day we are all human and we make mistakes, I guess what will help me get better is by getting out of my own way and realising that more often.



How did you first get started in bowling?

Honestly I can’t be 100% sure of this. I was taken one of my friends birthday parties when I was a lot younger and I remember I just instantly liked it, so I joined the local Youth Bowling Club and progressed from there. My uncle Peter who passed late last year always pushed me to go and practice and get better



To educate the World can you give a brief story of your career so far?

I started late in comparison to all my friends now, I think I started around 9-11. I never really played any tournaments or even junior events until I was about 14. Two years later I got picked for my first trip as part of the Ireland Team and have been an active member on the Youth and Adult team since 2010 to this day. My Mam was extremely supportive with my bowling, constantly putting herself and her social life to the side lines to focus on my bowling, with that I started to travel around for tournaments within Europe. Del Delany took me under his wing in the Pro Shop and started to show me how to drill balls etc when I was about 17 which then got me interested in the Business side of bowling also. Probably the biggest turning point in where I decided I wanted to bowl as a profession was when I went to Junior Gold in 2013, I don’t know why for certain but ever since then my attitude towards bowling changed.



You have not been scared to get out in the World and gain experience, Asia, Europe, USA all visited and competed. Of the various Zones, how do the differ in terms of lanes and competition?

I think every centre is different in its own unique way. There has been a couple of places I have been to where I have had some very interesting experiences whether it be with the lanes/topography. The level of Competition seems to be a little more intense in the USA and the Middle East, I feel that this is because they are higher value tournaments so they attract the bigger PBA guys. I think its essential as a player to get out and experience these events to be able to allow themselves to become better. I would advise walking before running though as going to some of the bigger events first can have its effects on your confidence, I took a shot at some of the bigger events before some of the smaller ones and although the experience I gained was great I might have learned more from a couple of smaller events first.



What is currently in the bowling arsenal and that go to ball?.

Well I recently resigned from Ebonite International so I am still working on building up a new arsenal at the moment. Over the last 4 summer events I had a fairly extensive range. I used a Gamebreaker, Alpha Crux, IQ tour, Rocket Ship, Phaze and Unhinged. My go to ball over the last couple of weeks was probably the Rocket Ship because its a strong covered symmetric ball which allowed me to create a smoother shape through the lane.



A chance to thank some people for part one of the Sloan Ranger story, Who has helped get you this far?

My Mam for everything she has done for me and how she has supported me through all the ups and downs, regardless of any situation she has always been there to guide me.

Then there is Brian Michael, a man who has helped me and my game more than he will ever know, physically and mentally.

Jenny Wegner who has been very supportive of everything I have done so far. My close friends and family who have always been there for me.

Mark Delany of ALSAA Bowl who put up with me five or six days a week whenever I needed to practice, he always looked after me.

Michael and Eva Wegner who have been incredible with all they have done to make my move to Sweden more comfortable.

Probably one of the biggest thanks I owe is to my old coach and great friend Fergal McLoughlin. Fergal always pushed me to go further and further, his influence was one of the biggest reasons I started to bowl abroad. Without him I most likely would never have had the opportunity to work with Brian, he made me get in touch with him when he felt that he could no longer help me.



Finally Chris, Why should people try bowling?

I think people should bowl because it can be a fun, competitive and challenging. There is not many sports/games or whatever where you have to take so much into consideration as in bowling. Topography, ball motion, shot making, physical game, mental game, who you are following on the lanes and how the ball fits are all examples of things that make bowling at a high level so competitive. Playing league with some friends and enjoying the game can be great fun too. In my personal experience it allows you to meet some really good people along the way too.


Interview ny Dom Gall.



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