How To Have A Strong Mental Game For Bowling

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The Key Factors To Having A Strong Mental Game In Bowling

“50 percent of the game is 90 percent mental. – Yogi Berra

I often wondered what Berra meant by this. He had a way with words, for sure.

One thing I do know is how important the mental game can be.

I’m not big on clichés, but it’s amazing how many come into play with bowling. “One frame at a time” or “It’s not over until it’s over.” We could go on for quite a while, but I think you have the picture. The only shot you can control and should focus on, is the one you are about to execute. To me, the mental game is about these key areas below.

Confidence In Your Bowling Is Essential

“Belief in oneself and one’s powers and abilities.

One of the attributes I see among all champions is confidence. Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Walter Ray Williams Jr. all are great champions and very confident in their abilities. One of the ways they achieve this is through failure. That’s right, failure. All great champions learn from their failures.

Williams has bowled in more than 750 Professional Bowlers Association Tour events and has won 47 times. So he “failed” 703 times. In his first 103 events, he made only three TV finals and didn’t win. Yet, he is considered by many to be the greatest bowler in the history of the PBA. He learned from his mistakes and failures. When things aren’t going so well, don’t just get mad and throw your hands in the air. Try to figure out what happened, why it happened and learn from the failures.

Focus While Bowling Will Help You Get To The Next Level

“A mental state or condition permitting clear perception.

Another great attribute of all champions is the ability to block out any distractions that may prevent them from performing at their best. It doesn’t matter that they are in front of thousands of people or on TV.

All great champions have that ability to not let anything bother them or take them out of the task at hand. They also have the ability to let go the bad shots. The only thing they will remember is what it felt like when they made a good shot, and they use that as a mental picture to try and re-create that good shot.

Preparation For Anything Bowling Throws Your Way

“The action or process of making oneself ready for an occasion or test.

Usually when talking about preparation for league or a tournament, we are talking about going to the lanes and physically throwing the ball. In this case, we need to be mentally prepared.

One of the best mental practitioners I have ever seen is Norm Duke.

When I worked at Kegel in 1999 and 2000, Duke sometimes would come to the training center to practice on his physical game. At the same time, he had the ability to put himself “in the moment.” He would tell himself, even convince himself, that his next shot was to make the TV show or win a title. So when Norm had the opportunity to make the TV show or win a title, he already had been in that moment. He was prepared when the opportunity came around.

Another cliché for you – “Success is when preparation meets opportunity.” (Thanks Dad).
Don’t misunderstand. Norm was not looking ahead at the title. He was going through the process. If your process is correct, the outcome will take care of itself.

My wife Kendra is a great bowler. She always was pretty good on the lanes physically, but she needed a better mental game to compete at the highest levels. We worked on the process of you can’t make the finals until you get a check. Then, you can’t make the TV show until you make the finals. You can’t win until you make the TV show. I’ve never seen anybody win a title in the first game of the tournament.

In Bowling You Can Only Worry About The Things In Your Control

When something doesn’t go right, pay attention to what’s happening and learn from the failures. Let that last shot or game go. It’s done, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Don’t let someone else’s actions bother you. The only person you can control is yourself. Stay in the moment.

Have A Pre Shot Routine While Waiting To Bowl

It doesn’t need to be complicated, either. It can be anything repetitive that makes your practice and competitive shots equal.

The way I personally look at it is the lane is 60 feet long and 39 inches wide, and there are 10 pins to knock down. It’s like that in every center I bowl in. The next shot I throw is like the thousands before, and there’s no difference from that to the next one I throw, whether it’s in practice or for a title.

If you have any questions about this topic or would like me to cover a specific topic, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

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