Controlling Your Emotions While Bowling By Richard Shockley

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How To Control Your Temper While Bowling

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are having a really bad game? Maybe you are in the sixth frame and it looks like you are on your way to being 20 or 30 pins behind your average? We have all been there. What about the situation where you’ve made great shots off your hand in the first and third frames and you leave a ringing corner pin and miss it. Then you leave a solid eight or nine pin, and because you are a bit upset, you grab your spare bowling ball and yank the next one for the big four split.

How To Stop The Negative Thoughts While Bowling

Now you say to yourself “great, here we go.” To top things off, a player on the other team or your opponent in a singles match just struck with two runaway Brooklyns and you really let that get to you. What should you do? Get Over It! You need to forget about what happened and focus on the immediate task at hand. You have no control over what your opponents do. Don’t let negative emotions take over the entire game. It’s normal that we get upset, but if you keep executing quality shots and just take it one frame at a time things should get better.

Add Some Positive Thinking And Vision Into Your Bowling Game

A technique that I use is when I get into this situation thru the sixth frame is to imagine that the seventh frame is now the first frame. I need to let the first half of this game go and throw the next six strikes, or as we say “go off the sheet.”

Bowling at times can really be an unfair game. Bad breaks are going to happen and that’s just the way it is. I enjoy golf and many times I have seen top pros have three bogeys in a row. For those of you who don’t understand golf, that is like having three open frames in a row. Time and time again, these seasoned pros do not let their emotions get in the way. Then, the next three hole, they birdie, which is fantastic. They are able to finish the round in good shape and make the cut to stay in the tournament.

If you can master the process of taking one frame at time and really focus on controlling negative emotions, I believe you can turn any bad game into a good one. Try not to look into the rear view mirror in bowling when things are going bad. That’s all behind you now. Look forward, think positive. Those pins will be falling in no time. Good luck with your game!

About Couch

Richard Shockley
Bowler Development

USBC Gold Level Coach Richard Shockley. Shockley, a former Team USA National Team Assistant Coach and former Team USA Junior National Team Head Coach, was a part of the inaugural USA Bowling Gold Coach class in 1999.

I am extremely excited to be on the team at BowlersMart and have the opportunity to share my 30-plus years of coaching knowledge with bowlers of all skill levels. We all know that when bowlers improve their skills, they stay with our sport longer and enjoy it much more. The possibilities are endless to be able to coach for BowlersMart, and I look forward to getting started.”

Shockley spent five years on the PBA regional men’s tour in the 1980s said he got into coaching because he wanted to give back to a game that has given so much to him.

“It’s such a big deal to me to see people improve their game. When they do well, it’s great because they are getting it and that makes it fun and exciting. I coach all levels of bowlers from new beginners to the professionals. Everyone has different abilities, so it’s about helping them to reach their best potential.”


Former Team USA National Team Assistant Coach

Former Team USA Junior National Team Head Coach

Inaugural USA Bowling Gold Coach class in 1999

Former Head Instructor at Kegal Training Center

7 thoughts on “Controlling Your Emotions While Bowling By Richard Shockley

  1. Nick Washington jr. says:

    I’m so glad I just ran across this , because I’m an emotional bowler because I love the game so much but, I tend to let people or bad breaks and shot get the best of me. I’ve really been trying to focus on having fun and tell my self that ok just keep shooting. This message I just read gave me good inspiration because I needed a good recipe for my imperfections. Thanks I bowl tonight and trust me I’ll be taking it one frame at a time and putting the past behind me!

  2. Bob says:

    The one thing to try remember is you can’t play defense. If your opponent gets the breaks that you don’t you have to tip your hat and walk away. Being angry will only make it worse. You also have to keep the frame of mind that your last shot was history and you can’t do anything about it except learn from it. Staying calm and laughing off a bad break, even thought it may be difficult, is the best thing to do. Remember, that vast majority of us that bowl have regular jobs, that is a good way to keep it in perspective and keep your cool.

  3. Jerry Streich says:

    I sort of agree with the coach. I NEVER get upset on the outside when bowling. I don’t let my emotions show. That’s why they call me “Smiley” (I don’t smile on a good hit or a bad hit). I keep the other bowlers guessing on what I am thinking on the inside. I don’t get upset when I throw a bad ball or get a bad break, because your life and your bowling scores are all planned out for you already. If you throw a bad ball, it’s in the cards. If you get a bad break, it’s in the cards. So just take one frame at a time. Enjoy life and have a beer. Oh yeah, I don’t drink. Bartender give me a Pepsi.

  4. Leigh Trostel says:

    Richard has some great advice here. The issue in my life more than not is not my temper while bowling but those of teammates that go off the deep end. I wish someone would write an article on ways to talk teammates off the ledge AND give some pointers on how to close out that kind of negative energy from a teammate

  5. Jackie says:

    Hey Richard Shockley is very helpful. I came to kegel from Bermuda and spent a couple days at Kegel. One day was all about the Mental game. The next day was to get a few links out of my game. Was 2 days I enjoyed and still have the video to look back on.

    Thanks Richard Shockley

  6. Keith D. Ball says:

    Emotions sometimes get the better of even the best bowlers (i.e. Marshall Holman-foul light, Pete Weber-‘Who do you think you are, I am) and they would probably be even better if they weren’t.

    • Kyle Gersich says:

      Hey Richard I went to the first summer camp at kegel and it was a one day training with you is that something you would still honor please let me know

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