- Home Town: Horseheads, New York
- Birth Date: 8/18/1966
- Throws: Right
- Ball Weight: 15 lbs.
- 300 Games: 51
- Career National Titles: 4
- Career Earnings: $1,703,419
- Positive Axis Point: 4-1/4" straight across
- Favorite Layout: Pin over middle finger - CG kicked right, no extra hole
I guess the best way to describe myself is by saying I'm very loyal and I value integrity. I also am very impatient, but not when I bowl. I have persevered through some tough times on tour and that has made me a better person and player. I also like to help other players because I was helped along the way by several people.
I’d like to thank Brian Pursel, Del Ballard, Doene Moos, Jeff Mraz, Wes Pye, Dickie Gran, Bill Supper, Bill Chrisman, Lou Masone, Jim Pitts, Sperry Navone, Steve Kloempken, Mike Jasnau, Ernest Goedicke, Chris Schlemer, Hank Boomershine, Eugene McCune and of course, my parents. Without those people, my career never would have taken off.
My life definitely changed when I met my wife. She made me realize what being a good person meant. I learned to be more thoughtful toward others and to be less selfish. She also made me a much happier person.
I have been a Type 1 diabetic since 1985 and currently use an insulin pump. I am under contract with Animas to educate fellow diabetics about the virtues of pump therapy and how to live their lives in a normal fashion. The technology afforded me by my Animas One Touch Ping pump has made my life much easier, especially with all the travel and bowling I do.
In the future, I hope to own a bowling center so I can shape the future of bowling the way I think the game should be. I really enjoy coaching youth bowlers and high school teams and plan to make that a big priority in my business plans.
I joined Storm in 2001 and have enjoyed being a part of the Storm family for 10 years. I can't imagine working for a better company.
Ryan has 50 PBA televised show appearances. He holds 4 PBA National titles and 17 regional titles. He shot the 18th televised 300 in PBA history and in the 2011 Geico Team Shootout he recorded another televised 300. In 1987, Ryan was named the PBA Rookie of the Year and won the ABC (now USBC) All Events title. He was voted Bowling Digest’s Player of the Year in 2000. He has competed in 13 Japans Cups and is 16th all-time in the PBA earnings list. Ryan has two first team all American honors (Bowler’s Journal) and has the most second place finishes at PBA major tournaments without a title – something most might not admit to but Ryan is actually proud of. In 2009 Shafer won Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award, and he's also the 2012 Pat Patterson Award winner in the PBA East Region.
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I go to the gym four days a week when I'm not touring. My trainer, Sarah, outlined a warm-up regimen for me to increase my overall flexibility, but to also concentrate on my shoulder because my coach, Chris Schlemer, says my arm swing is too short. This warm-up takes about 20 minutes. I then lift weights, concentrating mostly on my legs, but I have been doing more upper body work. My wife and I then do 45 minutes of cardio at night.
As far as bowling goes, I like to practice at Rossi Lanes in Elmira after 3PM because that's when my friend, Jim Pitts, commonly known as Lane Boy, can lay down patterns for me to play on. It is also a convenient time for me to coach my friends Bill Fairchild, Bob Leonard, and Pat Moffe along with Lane Boy and the high school kids.
1. You have bowled all over the world. What is the best country you have ever bowled in excluding the US? I have bowled in Japan, Canada, and Germany. I always enjoyed my time in Japan at the Japan Cup, because of the prestige and history of the event along with the knowledge and respect of the fans. I always felt like a true professional athlete while visiting Japan.
2. Do you have any interesting superstitions or routines you go through before, during, or after bowling? What is the most interesting superstition or routine you have seen from another bowler on tour? I am probably one of the most superstitious players on tour. I like to have an eight or a five in the last four digits of a serial number in any ball I use. I only pick up the ball with my left hand. I wear my jerseys in a certain order during an event. And most importantly, my wife is not allowed to watch Mariano Rivera pitch (after effects of the 2001 World Series).
3. What is the best advice you have for a teenage bowler looking to make a career out of bowling? Honestly, go to school, but continue to work on your game. Find a person knowledgeable in bowling to be your coach, but also learn enough to be your own coach. After all, no one is responsible for you, except you. Continue to enjoy the game. Do not get burned out. My best advice if you can afford it would be to travel to Reno and see Mike Jasnau at Lane 81 Pro Shop. He is the best. I am fortunate to have two great coaches - Jasnau and Chris Schlemer. I have also worked with two other great ones - Steve Kloempken and Del Ballard.
4. When do you know when you need to change bowling balls? When the one I’m using quits striking. It also depends on the scoring pace. If the scoring pace is low, I don’t want to give up the pocket. I am more than willing to grind it out and pick spares. That’s why I love the US Open. You also have to be aware if you are throwing good shots or if the lanes have changed significantly. Sometimes, I see people change balls because that’s the easy thing to do when a change in ball speed or tilt is the real answer. However, I am always tinkering on fill balls in the tenth frame, searching for something a little better, in case the ball I’m using suddenly doesn’t have a good look.
5. If you had one piece of advice for bowlers trying to elevate their game to a higher level, what would it be? First, master your “A” game. Then practice becoming versatile. Think Norm Duke. Repetition is the key. Practice spare shooting. All the greats are great spare shooters. Finally, learn about equipment and what works for you. Don’t depend on others to tell you what you should be using.
6. How do you block out distractions around you during tournament play? I am not sure if it's a confidence issue or more so a mental game issue. Honestly, I have never had a problem focusing on what I am doing so this is a hard question for me to answer. I am just an intense person when I bowl.
7. What is one valuable life lesson that you learned while on the PBA Tour that you believe would benefit most people? I have always believed in treating others the way you would like to be treated. Bowling on tour has only reinforced that belief.
8. Are there any particular songs or bands that you listen to before you bowl to help you get pumped up? I used to listen to hard rock or heavy metal to pump me up so to speak, but not anymore. I just try to relax and repeat shots. Oddly enough, right now I like Shinedown and The Who as an old fallback option.
9. If you got to choose a superhero ability, what would it be? I would want to be invisible every once in awhile.
10. What or who got you started in the sport of bowling? My parents when I was very young. They ran a bowling center and I would help clean or run the front counter. Then I was allowed to practice, but only after I earned it.
11/25/2013: The PBA Tour is Back on ESPN Sunday!
6/17/2013: Shafer Over Bohn in PBA Eastern Regional