Friday, July 18, 2014


A few years ago, one of my bowling buddies, "Bo-Ler," (name altered to protect the innocent) changed his ball before the start of the 3rd game. He said, "This ball is meant to go long and snap at the end."

He threw the first frame and the ball went very long, then snapped around 62 feet down the lane (give-or-take) and he picked off the 6 and 9 pins only - a two count on his first ball! A good time was had by all and he will probably never live it down.

This has nothing to do with the main subject of my article; however, it was such an odd occurrence, I felt I had to document it for posterity. "Bo-ler" is a good sport.

Now to the gist of this article --

A while back one of my coaches mentioned a "pet peeve" of his.

In response to his question of how they bowled, people seem to always answer that they "didn't hit their average," or "I just made my average tonight."

He contends that people are not aiming high enough when they tell him things in reference to their "average."

"Coach" says that people should be trying to bowl the highest they can every time out.

He, personally, does not bowl just to "hit his average" because he wants to beat his highest score and series every time out.

When he coaches someone, he doesn't talk about a person's "average" because it tends to make people bowl only to a certain level.

Not only is he a long-time high performer in the state and is in the "Hall of Fame;" but, "Coach" is one of the people who has been able to adapt to the new era of high-tech bowling.

"Coach" has hit on something I'm calling, "Limitation Lingo."

It lies just below the surface of "negative speak," but could be more responsible for a bowler's inability to rise above a certain level of performance just because it's so subtle.

I'm sure we've all heard of "negative-speak," and "positive affirmations."

I've written about them in the past and there are numerous books, videos, and bowling articles that talk about the two subjects.

Very briefly, though, "negative-speak" is all the talk to yourself that tears you down so that you can't perform well.

"Positive Affirmations" are phrases and thoughts used to counter all the negative stuff.

Can you, however, recognize these common expressions that you or your fellow bowlers use quite regularly in conversation?

"I didn't hit my average tonight."

"I just want to shoot my average every time I bowl."

"All I want to do is bowl decent so I don't embarrass myself."

"I may not win but I'm going to enter and do my best."

"At least I can say, 'I tried.'"

Do any of these terms inspire any kind of confidence?

If we're using these kinds of phrases, are we really "doing our best?"

Here's four words that convey the aforementioned statements' real meaning - "acceptable," "sufficient," "mediocre," and "adequate."

Oh, and how about, "apologetic?"

In anticipation of not doing well, we apologize to everyone in advance for that poor performance we "just know" will happen.

We've set ourselves up so we don't have to make excuses for our sub-standard bowling (although we know that we'll be apologizing for that low performance the rest of the night).

I contend that we're limiting ourselves with these subtle thoughts and phrases.

They're not as direct as "negative speak;" however, they undermine our performance just as much.

As a matter of fact, it may be even more damaging because they're so covert.

If you don't recognize them as bad, how can you react against them?

"Limitation Lingo" is not easily recognized because it is merely thought of as things that we regularly (normally) say or do.

We do it every day without thinking.

We've become attuned to doing "just enough to get by."

We don't want to offend anybody or let anyone down.

If we do well, we feel we have to apologize for doing well, if we do poorly, we need to make excuses for why we didn't at least do "average."

If we perform to the "mediocre medium," we feel good because we did enough not to stand out.

Try doing what I did and listen carefully to yourself and your fellow bowlers over the next several days or weeks.

Write down what you feel is in the realm of, "Limitation Lingo."

You will be surprised at the results.

"Limitation Lingo" is just below the surface of our way of thinking and emerges because we feel that we should be like "everyone else."

It's commonly accepted as "proper behavior."

Make a conscious effort to rid yourself of these thoughts and more importantly, stop using them.

What's wrong with saying, "Thank You," when you do well and get complimented instead of trying to act humble and play down the accomplishment?

There should be nothing wrong with being proud of your honor scores or performing well.

"Coach" is absolutely correct - we shouldn't be merely shooting for "average."

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