In this tip, I discuss the importance of mental focus. For reference, the most important factor in elite performance is the mental game of that bowler. How focused are you?
Mental focus is the level to which you concentrate while bowling, on and off the lanes. Do you just get up and throw the ball without much thought? From a beginner to an advanced bowler, the level of mental focus or true concentration is a vital part to achieving great success on the lanes. Specifically, a bowler who possesses a high level of mental focus pays a great deal of attention to the details of their own game as well as what is going on around them. This concentration allows them to be more in-tune with making changes as well as setting the stage to repeat good shots. In this week’s issue, I discuss focus in the pre-shot routine, on the lanes and while you are preparing for your next shot. So, how focused are you?
Do you have the same routine before you throw the bowling ball? A good routine will set-up your mind for throwing a more consistent shot. Obviously, this will lead to higher scores. Be sure to wipe off the bowling ball with a towel each time you get ready to go. Today’s bowling ball, non-plastic, actually absorb oil. This removes the lane oil which provides a better feel as well as a more consistent ball reaction. And, in most cases, this is the first action of a bowler’s pre-shot routine. Use the blower to keep your hand dry. Squeeze your rosin or puff ball. Take some deep breathes. But, whatever you do, do the same actions in the same sequence every time. Research has shown that a pre-shot routine leads to increased performance and more consistency in one’s game. If you don’t have one, create one. Write it down and do the actions in order each time.
On the Lanes
When you step-up onto the lanes you need to focus on setting-up exactly the same way each time. This level of focus in the stance is critical to throwing the exact same shot each time you bowl. First, be sure to look down at your feet. Specifically, your feet should be parallel with the target line, the line through the target you intend to throw the ball. Look at your arm. Is it straight toward the target? Your arm should be parallel with your feet and the target also. In addition, be sure that your shoulders and hips are perpendicular to this target line. This position is an important aspect of throwing the ball properly. It is critical that you look at your feet, arm, hips and shoulders before each shot. This attention to detail will pay-off with higher scores. Do you know exactly where you threw the last shot? I am always surprised when I ask a bowler where the last shot went and he is not able to tell me. This illustrates a lack of focus. As a bowler, you need to watch the full ball reaction and where the ball went relative to your target. Test yourself the next time you ball. If you are serious, write down exactly, on what board, where the ball was at the arrows, 30 feet and 45 feet. Can you sustain this much focus?
Off the Lanes
As you bowl, do you watch other bowlers? If not, why not? Watching other bowlers requires a great deal of concentration. But, it will help you make moves proactively to keep your scoring pace higher. Why? If you notice that their ball reaction is different, then you can make a move with your line before you would by simply watching your own. Bowling lanes are in constant flux. They actually change as oil moves around with a plastic ball or oil is absorbed by reactive and particle equipment. So, a mentally focused bowler is constantly evaluating not only their ball reaction but that of others as well. Do you do this? If not, you should start!