Monday, July 15, 2013

Don't Just Wish To Bowl Better

Before one of the league practice sessions, one of the regular bowlers commented to me that he wished he could be like me.

He said, "You never have trouble with converting the 10-pin."

I mentioned to him that on a recent night of bowling, I blew three 10-pin spares, including the tenth frame of the third game and shot a 694 series (thereby blowing my 700 series).

I also mentioned to him that there have been many times where I’ve gone into “mini-slumps” where it seemed as though I couldn’t convert any of my spares.

If it wasn’t for my strikes, I wouldn’t be ending up with the fairly good games that I do.
Now, "JohnBowler" is a pretty good stroker himself.

He carries a 200+ average and has been known to line the strikes up - he shot a 300 last year in our Thursday Night Men’s Classic league.

But, throughout the conversation, one thing became readily apparent.

He actually believed that bowlers with higher averages than him never experience the problems that he faces with his game.

I found out he had been a very good athlete in his younger days - baseball, basketball, and football.

But, as he got older, his past injuries caught up with him and bowling is one of the few sports he can actively participate in.

I very often hear those types of comments from my students and I spend lots of time reassuring them that higher average bowlers share the same thoughts many more times than they can imagine.

In fact, as I was preparing my notes for this article, many pictures of these, “I wish I could be like you (or you guys)“ flashed through my mind.

I engage in that kind of thinking and rhetoric myself - much more than I really want to.
It's in our nature, I guess to feel that way, regardless of the level of experience or skill we've attained.

Can that nature be overcome?

Once you become aware of it, you should be able to.
To that end, then, let’s put forward, a “Choc-List” to begin dismantling those thoughts and get our minds progressing forward in our pursuit of bowling excellence:
1) No one is 100% confident in everything they do. We have a tendency to admire and idolize what we see as people who are seemingly more talented than ourselves. We sometimes think that those people are way above our level. Take a look, however, when those people attempt to perform in another sport; not many of them can do it as well as in their specialty. Watch many of them bowl and you’ll see what I mean.
2) Find something in which you have a lot of confidence doing. There has to be one thing that you can do well and whenever you do it, your confidence level rises to such a point that you feel invincible. You feel as though you can compete with the best when performing in this particular field. Math problems, brain teasers, crossword puzzles? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical or sports activity. Doesn’t it feel good when you complete those activities and know that you can perform with the best of them?
3) Analyze what it is and why you're so confident in that activity. How did you get so good? How did you pursue it? How intensely did you study? Trace your steps and write down what you did to get so good. I’ll venture to say that PRACTICE is among what you had to do to get good. What are your feelings when you do this particular thing? Capture that feeling when you do it and perform well.
4) Transfer that confidence to your bowling. Write down your game plan for how you're going to improve. Your steps should include the same degree of study and practice that made you so good in the activity you've chosen to mirror. What problem(s) did you have in your pursuit of the other activity and what did you do to overcome it (them)?
The overall question becomes, “What is your why?"

Why do want to become good in the sport of bowling?

Are you willing to do “what's necessary” to get the level that you will feel satisfied at?

Be persistent, don’t give up, and you will.

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