As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
It takes a lifetime of practice to perfect your craft, be it in a trade or a sport. While some high-profiled athletes might scoff at the idea of having to practice every day, for technically detailed sports like bowling, practice is the only way to improve your game.
Pablo Cerda Jr. understands the value of practice to a bowler. The Coral Springs Charter junior spends much of time rolling heavy polyurethane spheres down slicked-up wooden lanes at defenseless pins 60 feet away.
Since he was old enough to walk, Cerda has been bowling. His father, Pablo Cerda Sr., took the then 2-year-old to bowl for his first time. The tiny tyke took the sport immediately.
“As soon as he was big enough to hold a bowling ball we put him in a small league with the bumpers on the lanes,” Cerda Sr. said. “He’s always enjoyed bowling. It comes from his heart.”
After taking a few years off to properly recover from a broken arm, Cerda returned to the sport more determined than ever. His years of practice have paid off as his average has climbed from the 160s as an eighth-grader to 220s in league play.
Cerda has qualified for several prominent tournaments, including earning a spot in the finals of the 2011 Teen Masters U-14. He also competed at the junior gold tournament.
Last season, Cerda won his first district title and qualified for the state tournament in Orlando. The junior, who admittedly was nervous at the start of the tournament, advanced past the opening rounds as one of the top 16 bowlers in the field. Cerda ultimately fell in match play but says the experience can only help him improve.
“It was really good, it was exciting. The competition was really high, it’s really challenging but it’s also a good thing … more competition is good,” he said. “Once I got comfortable, I just put it on the line.”
Entering this season, Cerda hopes to improve on the 196 average he scored during high school last year. The junior is also looking to once again qualify for the state tournament and take advantage of the lessons he has learned.
Boasting a calm demeanor and a determination not many high school kids have at 16, Cerda’s coach — Nelson Martin — has high expectations for Cerda this year but is quick to point out he still needs to continue practicing and preparing to reach the highest levels of the sport.
“Mental fatigue wears on him sometimes. Might be easy for a split second to take your mind off it for a split second and miss the making it automatic shot,” Martin said. “I’m expecting a lot of big things from him. I’d be shocked if he didn’t leave our school a state champion.”