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Verity Crawley – ‘When I put that flower in my hair, I am ready to compete’

Verity Crawley holding a PWBA Grand Rapids Classic trophy
Verity Crawley / Picture source: PWBA

The pride of UK bowling, Verity Crawley, achieved a remarkable victory at the PWBA Grand Rapids Classic in June, becoming the sole European competitor to claim a PWBA Tour title this season. This win marked her first PWBA Tour title since 2021 and the second of her career. Eagerly anticipated, yet not surprising. At least not to her.

'I have set a goal to win this year,' - Verity Crawley revealed in an interview with Erikas Jansonas form 'BowlingLife' in May, when asked about her plans for the upcoming PWBA season.

The key to her success was a shift in mindset.

'In the past, it has been in the back of my mind because, as a competitor, I always go out there wanting to win. However, in the past, I didn't want to set expectations, and I wanted to focus on the process.'

With two championship round appearances this season, Verity Crawley currently holds the 9th position in points, 10th in earnings, and 13th in average among all PWBA competitors, placing her in a favorable position to secure one of the 24 spots for the PWBA Tour Championship in August.

In May, Verity Crawley sat down with 'BowlingLife' to share her impressions about the return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympic dream, leveraging social media's power to promote bowling as a sport, and the personal history behind the flower ribbons adorning her hair.

We had our last talk in early 2021, during the total madness of the global pandemic. Almost two years have passed, and the bowling world seems to be back to normal. Can you spot any differences between the sport it was prior to COVID-19 and what it is today?

I do not see any major differences; bowling seems to have returned to 'normal' in most places. There are still some bowling centers with different procedures in place, for example, screens separating lanes. I have found quite a few people who lost their love for bowling, found it after COVID-19. People who hadn't thrown a ball in years are back at it!

Verity Crawley bowling
Verity Crawley / From personal archives

How would you wrap up the previous season in 2022? Was it successful for you?

It was a great year. I had a very consistent season on the PWBA tour, and I would say it was successful. I had some fantastic opportunities in 2022, one of those was doing a series of coaching clinics around Australia. Something I could have only dreamed of in the past.

This year, you participated in the first 'Go Bowling! PBA NASCAR Invitational at Phoenix Raceway'. Did you find it thrilling knocking down pins alongside NASCAR drivers?

Anytime I get an opportunity to promote bowling, I am all for it. Bringing two sports together with a fanbase that seems so supportive of both sports was pretty special. I am thankful to everyone involved who made it possible.

You would probably love to participate in the Olympics like every professional bowler in the world, but the International Olympic Committee and advertisers crave a younger audience, and the doors for bowling are shut for now. Do you believe that being active on social media is the key to reaching the younger audience and promoting bowling as a sport? Should every bowler be more active on social media?

Social media is a difficult place. It can be negative, and there can be a lot of harsh comments. However, I believe it is a fantastic place to promote the sport and, more importantly, interact with other bowlers. I would love to see everyone be active just because I do believe it is a way to spread the word about bowling. However, it doesn't mean that social media is the only way, so I respect the players who want to totally stay away from it.

You travel a lot, and the last time we met, it was at a bowling alley in Lithuania. You had your bowling balls with you. Is it a common practice in your life, or was it just a coincidence?

It's very common! I was traveling from Lithuania to Sweden for the AIK tournament and then followed that with a trip to Finland for the Ballmaster. I do try to take one holiday a year that doesn't include bowling balls!

There is a lot of traveling involved in the PWBA Tour. Long hours of sitting without movement can be challenging for professional athletes, not to mention the different time zones across America. How do you manage that both mentally and physically?

I love traveling and I think that helps. I look forward to getting on the plane and having some time to decompress. Whether that be to catch up on my coaching clients or listen to a podcast. If I want to get away from social media and the world, I can do so during my flights. It is often exhausting and uncomfortable, that's one of the reasons that keeping in good physical shape is important. I also believe I am good at dealing with time zones, forcing my body to accept what time it is - whether that means waking up when I don't want to or going to bed when I am not tired. Of course, sometimes the body doesn't agree but I think you can trick your body through your mental thoughts.

Verity Crawley bowling
Verity Crawley / From personal archives

Rose ribbons in your hair. What is the story behind it, and how many of those do you possess?

I have a lot! It all started as a junior bowler. My grandma bought me flowers and hair bands from a small local shop. In my first event with junior Team England, I didn't wear my flower on the first day of the competition, and the coaches noticed. From there, I started to continuously wear it. I went through a stage where I thought it was silly, but when I headed to University in America, it became something special. It reminded me of my Grandma, and it gave my parents a way to notice me on the livestream. It's become a part of me. When I put that flower in my hair, I am ready to compete.

What is that one tip that you can give to anyone reading this interview to help them get better at the game?

Physically: Really learn what it feels like to let gravity take the ball into the swing. Less is more in bowling, and the more we can let gravity take over, the more power and leverage we actually get.

Mentally: Learn about your self-image as it can dictate how you play in the competition.

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