Backward Bowler

ROCKFORD-Bowling can be challenging enough for most of us when we do it facing the pins. Imagine attempting to roll a strike with your back to them. One Rockford, Illinois man is coming close to mastering that. 

This is no stunt. This is how Andrew Cowen always bowls…backwards.

"Since I started working backwards last year I’ve gone exclusively to backwards in trying to perfect the game as much as possible," says Cowen.

He’s getting there. Cowen averaged 215 bowling forward.  He averages 170 backward. Cowen switched up as a way to take stress off his sore knees.

"When I roll backward there’s no knee bend in my approach, so that doesn’t take any toll on them when I bowl backwards," says Cowen.

He uses a four step approach, and he contorts his arm and wrist to release the ball.  And no he doesn’t use a mirror or any other aid to see the pins.

"That would even probably be more difficult if there was a mirror," chuckles Cowen. "The reason I use my wrist the way I do is more of a timing mechanism. It helps me know where the ball is in my swing."

Cowen taught himself how to do this. In January he rolled a 280 during an open bowling session. He had several witnesses on hand, and his girlfriend captured it on her cell phone. The video has gone viral. That 280 is the best score ever by a backward bowler. Cowen is applying with Guinness to have it accepted as a world record.

"That was an off the charts good night for me," he says. "I hadn’t had anything quite close to that. I was very emotional at the end. It was quite exciting."

You know Cowen is already thinking about that perfect 300 game.

"I don’t know how soon that’s feasible, but it’s always in my mind," says Cowen. "It’s something that would be neat to do."

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