Pro Tip Friday with MDM Coaching: Stay in the Moment

When Bowling – Stay in the Moment

This past weekend, I bowled my first tournament since the shut-down: The Florida State Open. It ended up being a pretty special weekend overall because I won All-Events Scratch and Handicap. Over 9 games, I put together a 2343 scratch series (260 average), with two 300 games in the team event. Winning this tournament is special because many of the best bowlers in Florida compete in it every year – this year you’ll see people like Matt McNeil, Sean Riccardi, and so many others on the results.

Staying in good rhythm from frame 1 until the final frame is critical to success in events like this one. It’s the feeling of flow that you get from the ball coming off your hand and executing a shot the right way over and over. A lot of times when someone is bowling well and they have a good rhythm or vibe going, they don’t really think about it. Here are some keys to staying in the moment based on my experiences and what I’ve observed as a coach:

– Follow your process: You need to go through the pre-shot routines motions, watch the ball going through the pins, and stay ahead of the moves almost automatically. You should get to a point that you don’t think about doing things, you just react. Focus on these foundations if you don’t have the right rhythm.
– Prepare: Achieving flow and consistent rhythm takes practice and the right fit. Personally, I tried to practice several times before states and adjusted my grip. It’s much easier to get into the flow and rhythm of a competitive environment when you go into the tournament confidently prepared.
– Don’t think too far ahead: When you’re bowling multiple day or multiple game tournaments (more than 3), many inexperienced competitors will get ahead of themselves if they start to bowl well. They think that one day or one game will vault them into the leaderboard, even if they still have multiple games left and their performance will suffer.
– Don’t dwell – It may be obvious but it’s hard – you can’t think about the good or the bad too much. You can’t hold on to that one good game when there’s more good games in front of you. You can flip this. If you have a bad day/game/tournament, the hardest thing to do in that moment is not focus on it and not get more frustrated and throw the whole event away.
– Keep your mind off of bowling when you’re not on the approach: On Sunday, I started off with a 300 game. It was very difficult for me to stay in the moment because I was thinking about the all-events total. My team helped me relax in the moment and kept me distracted by cracking jokes. They helped me stay in the moment and I shot another 300 the last game, even though I only needed a 170 to take over the all-events lead. It’s easier with teammates to stay distracted but you can find ways to do this in a singles event also – use your phone, play games, etc.

How do you get into and manage flow during competition?

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