Embrace the Breaks & Minimize the Mistakes

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Duration:   9  mins

Barely missing the cut at a tournament stings. It’s easy to think about all of the “should haves” and “could haves” that kept you out of the money.

Author, speaker, and bronze level bowling coach, Craig Hillier recollects a tournament experience he had where he missed the cut, and in reflection, came up with the idea for this video. Bowlers have a tendency to minimize the breaks and magnify the mistakes. Hillier flipped the script on this and developed a three-part thought process to help train the mind to embrace the breaks and minimize the mistakes.

Fading focus slows momentum

Hillier’s first game of the tournament was +54 pins over his average. Obviously, he was feeling good. When a feeling of euphoria sets in, your physical and/or mental game can experience a relaxation in performance.


After moving to a different pair of lanes, Hillier’s first shot in the second game went high and he left a split. What’s worse is he didn’t remember where he started on the approach for that shot.

He marked his spot on the approach for his second shot but it ended up high again, leaving another split.

The third frame brought a light pocket shot with a makable spare but his fading focus slowed his momentum and one of these mistakes may have been the reason he didn’t make the cut and cash in this tournament.

When facing a risk, process before proceeding

Split’s happen and every pin counts. If you’re on a double and you leave the greek church and you take count (3 pins) your final score will be six pins higher than if you take a miss (0 pins) trying to make it.

Some processing questions include:


Remember, these questions need to be asked before you step onto the approach. They will do you no good mid back swing.

Managing mistakes makes all the difference

In order to improve your game, reflection requires bowlers to evaluate what went right and what went wrong.

Too many bowlers choose to minimize the breaks and magnify the mistakes. It’s easy to forget that Brooklyn strike that you shouldn’t have gotten or the multi-pin make that you should have chopped while being upset that you left three ten pins that should have been strikes.

This is a victim mentality.

The victor has a different perspective that includes minimizing the mistakes and magnifying the breaks.


Minimizing mistakes doesn’t mean that they are not important. It just means that there is a proper time and place for dealing with them.

For more mental game lessons, check out “The IZE” Have it” and “What Can and Cannot Be Controlled in Bowling.”

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