Bella Love Castillo has a passion for bowling that won’t quit and she’s parlayed her skills into earning numerous tournament spots around the country.
The 13-year-old’s latest is the regional PBA Jr. Championship for girls under 18, Sept. 3-4 in San Antonio, Bella’s mom, Barbi Castillo, said.
Bella, who bowls two-handed, qualified for the PBA Jr. National Championship at a tournament in Euless. The nationals are expected to be in early 2023 and the location has not been released yet, Barbi Castillo said.
Bella Love Castillo said she enjoys bowling as much as ever.
“I love it,” she said.
Castillo also has thousands of followers on Instagram. She mainly posts bowling shots from her tournaments.
Her father, Brian Castillo, posted a video of Bella, as he usually does, on Instagram, Barbi Castillo said. It went viral and Bella gained up to 103,000 followers.
“Most of them are so supportive and love bowling. They love to watch her bowl. Whether she strikes, or whether she spares, or misses a shot they just enjoy watching her bowling,” Barbi Castillo said.
She sometimes works out to handle the weight of the bowling balls, but mostly she rides a bike, plays with the dogs outside and Rollberblades.
“… It just builds up and then bowling constantly throughout the day, throughout the week, also builds up strength for me,” Bella Love Castillo said.
Her average score is around 198-199. Lately, she said it’s been around 220.
The average pro has a higher score, Barbi Castillo said.
“But she’s been practicing a lot and practicing with purpose, trying to get better and better with spare shooting. Strikes come, but you also want to be able to make your spares,” Barbi Castillo said.
Bella Love Castillo said she would like to go pro someday. She is currently home schooled and will be in eighth grade this year. Since home schooling is flexible, Barbi and Bella said it works well with all her traveling.
“She does want to do college first,” her mom said.
A lot of people ask Bella Love Castillo who her favorite bowler is, but she’s diplomatic.
“… I like them all. I have good connections with them individually and I just love them all whether they’re one-handed or two-handed. They’ve been very supportive toward me along my journey,” Bella Love Castillo said.
There are a lot of pro men who bowl two-handed, but few girls, Barbi Castillo said.
The different oil patterns, meeting new friends, going to places she’s never been before, getting to experience the atmospheres at different bowling alleys and different lane conditions are just some of the things Bella Love Castillo loves about the sport.
“… It’s just a lot of things put together. Bowling is just a really good sport,” Bella said.
Barbi Castillo said because of the different oil patterns, they travel with a lot of bowling balls.
“… Some let you know in advance what the oil pattern is, but some don’t, so we have to take a lot of balls. Each ball does something different, depending on the oil conditions …,” Barbi Castillo said.
Bella Love Castillo said she feels like bowling has gotten more popular, although people have always gone for the sport.
“… I’m just trying to promote bowling for people who have either never bowled before, or haven’t gone to a tournament. I’m just trying to make that grow because we’re all in it together. We’re just trying to make this sport grow. And yes, you have competition. Yes, you have leagues. You have recreation, but it’s all just trying to make bowling bigger,” Bella Love Castillo said.
Barbi Castillo said there are people on Bella’s Instagram who say they haven’t bowled in 10 or 15 years, but Bella has inspired them to try again.
“It’s been really cool to see,” Barbi Castillo said.
Bella Love Castillo said a lot of people don’t understand what comes with bowling like the oil patterns, the lane conditions, the different ball choices and traveling.
“There’s just a lot in bowling,” Bella Love Castillo said.
A lot of her tournaments are out of town.
“… I get to go get in the car and go on a road trip; try something I’ve ever tried before; do something I’ve never done before and see my friends because we don’t get to see each other that often. So when we do, we’ve just got to make the best of it,” Bella Love Castillo said.
Brian Castillo said Bella had only been bowling two-handed for three weeks when she won a state tournament.
“… Then we knew she had something, but we didn’t know that so soon. We figured when she’s 15, 16, 17 …,” Brian Castillo said.
Now she throws the ball as fast and with more revolutions as some of the professionals. “It’s because she uses two hands and they use one hand. That’s the bonus … You don’t see 13-year-olds doing this,” Brian Castillo said.
Bella Love Castillo said she looks back on her videos and she can’t believe that it was only a couple of years ago that she was learning how to bowl two-handed.
“… And look at me now as a 13-year-old throwing it really fast and having a lot of revs and winning a lot of tournaments. It’s crazy to think (that in) only a small amount of time you’ve grown so much as a human being and a bowler,” Bella Love Castillo said.
Bella Love Castillo said it took a lot of practice to figure out how to bowl two handed.
“I took weeks and months to learn this. It’s not like I grabbed the ball and was like okay, I know how to do this. I grabbed the ball knowing I’m taking a risk of trying to figure this out, but I did and now I’m a good youth bowler,” Bella Love Castillo said.
She said she used to get frustrated more when she was younger, although she still experiences the emotion now.
For younger bowlers like herself, she would tell them to stay in the moment.
“… Stay in the process. Don’t worry about what happens on the lane. If you focus on staying in the process, like doing something the best you can, the results will come. You don’t have to focus on okay, I just need to strike every time. For me, I was like okay, I need to get so many strikes. But later I learned you just have to focus on the process; getting the ball down there how you want; putting it where you want; having your accuracy is what you need to do. And of course have fun,” Bella Love Castillo said.
If you don’t have fun, “you’re going to be very irritated,” she added.