Being “present” when bowling is filled with mental challenges. Training your mental game to meet these challenges is a key component for elite bowlers and those learning how to bowl better. Scott Pohl, the owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains that the things we can and cannot control on and off the lanes affect our performance both positively and negatively.
What you Cannot Control
Opponent: Watching someone get a lucky break like carrying a strike that went Brooklyn can be aggravating, especially when you’re not getting the same breaks. Avoid exerting negative energy and bring the focus back to yourself and what you and your team are doing. Try not to waste energy concerning yourself with your opponent’s performance, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Pin Carry: Stone 8, Shaker 7, Ringing 10. These could have gone your way and struck, but they didn’t. Make your spare and move on.
If you focus on the tough breaks, likely you’re not counting the good breaks you received throughout your competition.
Lane Conditions: Complaining about the shot laid out on the lanes is futile. Everyone bowls on the same conditions. The key is repeating shots and letting the pins fall the way they are going to fall. The lane conditions change with every bowling ball thrown. No two lanes will play exactly the same. It’s a blessing and a curse that keeps bowlers coming back for more.
What you Can Control
Attitude: How you mentally approach the game will impact your performance. Staying positive and having a good reactionary process towards every shot will help increase your scores.
Lane Play: Where you stand, where you target, hand position, and how fast you throw the bowling ball are just a few of the things you can control when choosing how to play the lanes. Try to stay ahead of the lanes transitioning by watching everyone’s ball motion as your competition rolls on and communicate with your team.
Ball Choice: Matching up is the name of the game and getting the right bowling ball in your hand is crucial. Proper ball surface, ball speed, and rev rate will get you in the pocket and improve scores.
If you’re looking to improve the way you practice and how to bowl better check out “Bowling Practice with a Purpose: Develop a Plan” and “Tournament Prep: Singles and Team” from National Bowling Academy’s expert coaching contributors.