Monday, May 8, 2017

Bowling Against Your Own Worst Enemy

Are you practicing regularly but still having trouble improving your bowling scores and average? Have you sought out a bowling coach but feel it's not worth it because you're still not getting any better? Have you dedicated yourself to your efforts but it seems that you just  can't catch on and only seem to get worse after every practice session?

Over my years of coaching students, I've identified some things that seem to keep
them from improving their game in spite of repeated sessions. No one has exhibited all of the problems at once; but, each one has a profound effect on keeping progress at a "no-or-slow" pace. I can imagine what it would be like if someone was doing it without a coach.

Let's take a look at a few of them (for the purposes of this article, I'll label them as "Problem #1," "Proposed Solution #1, …" and "Solution #2," "Proposed Solution #2 …"):

Problem 1: Having no goal, objective, or purpose. Even hiring a coach, many students have no definitive goal of where they want their overall game to go. This would be the same thing as jumping in your car and just driving around because you don't have any specific place in mind that you want to go to. With no place to go, you can never get there.

Proposed Solution 1: Write down all the things that you want to accomplish with your bowling game - even if it's only one thing, such as, "raise my average by 20 pins.". If you have more than one goal, prioritize them and start with what you believe is your highest priority to work on. Put the overall list away and make a personal statement about the goal you've selected. Write it on a piece of paper and read it as often as you can. If you have a coach, discuss it with him/her. Once you've accomplished the goal to your satisfaction, review your ovarall list because by fixing one problem, it may have fixed another. Cross it (them) of your list, re-proritize them and move on.

Problem #2: Negative thinking and focusing on what's not working or what's not right. This is part of your mental game. As Henry Ford said, "whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're absolutely correct."

Proposed Solution #2: Discipline yourself to get away from the "negative-speak" and turn each thought or question around to be more positive. Instead of saying, "I can't pick this pin up," turn it around by saying, "I have picked this pin up many times before, I know what to do." Rather than saying, "well, here I go again," say the more positive, "this is not me, and I know I'm better." Start noticing (and writing them down in a notebook) all the negative things you say about yourself and then, turn them around to the positive point of view. Start thinking about "what is working," and "what is right."

Problem #3: Getting caught up with what you've done in the past so you're afraid of what will happen in the coming frames. "With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Proposed Solution #3: Each game in bowling consists of ten frames. Therefore, bowl each game on a frame-by-frame basis; that is, the frame that you are in at the time is the frame you should concentrate on. You cannot go back and re-bowl any previous frame. You cannot predict what each future frame is actually going to be. The only frame you have control over is the one you are in "right now." Say to yourself, "this is my frame, I will do the best that I can do, when it is over, I will move on to the next frame."

Problem #4: Comparing yourself to your teammates and/or other better bowlers so you feel that you'll never be "as good as they are." There's an old saying that goes, "You are unique, just like everyone else." There are too many variables such as physical build, drill of the ball, knowledge of the game, and a myriad of other things that make you different from everybody else. Simply put, "you are you and the other person is not you." Be yourself

Proposed Solution #4: Make a list of as many of your bowling accomplishments as possible. Now make a list of things you like about how you bowl. Keep reviewing the list and adding to it as you accomplish more and more things. Whenever you find yourself comparing against someone else, remind youself of how good you really are and that it serves no purpose to compare yourself against another person.

This may sound like something out of a motivational book or seminar. You're absolutely correct. It's working on your mental game and once you get your mind helping you instead of battling against you, your scores and average will begin to show improvement.

Don't continue to bowl against your own worst enemy.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Choc, great blog entries. After reading one entry, I know I am not my worst enemy.

    1. I have set goals all my life. When I started bowling for the first time in decades, in the Fall leagues 2016, 180 was my goal. As I am well within reaching that goal I have adjusted it to 200. There was a champion high jumper named John Thomas. In training he would always set goals, then as he neared accomplishing that goal he always set the goal higher. I read this in an interview in the late 1950's and adapted this in my life.

    2. My body is a train wreck but I vowed never to let that be a liability. Like the champion one armed archer -there are always work-a-rounds or bandaids. Nothing is impossible,some may take longer than others. The ten pin seemed impossible so I inquired of others and was led to a plastic ball. With a thumbhole that is too big, sometimes falling off my hand, still I picked up 50%. Once I get the interchangeable thumb inserts, I will not rest until the ten pin is almost automatic. I don't acknowledge negative thinking.Sometimes I don't understand but when explained (example 3 point aiming) a light does go on.

    3. Every day I go through a new door closing the old door to yesterdays foibles.

    4. I always look to those that are better than me and and strive to meet or exceed in the near future. I am not satisfied with a 500 series only a 600 series. When I am a consistent 600 series I will strive for 650 then 700. Will write later about your other posts.