Are you practicing regularly but are 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 just seems that you can’t catch on and only seem to get worse after every practice session?
Over my years of coaching bowling, I have identified some things that seem to keep my students from improving their game in spite of repeated coaching 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 will label them as “Problem #1,” “Problem #2, — ” and “Solution #1,” “Solution #2 — ” but in actuality, no numbering is needed):
Problem 1: Having no goal, objective, or purpose. 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.
Solution 1: Write down all the things that you want to accomplish with your bowling game. Prioritize them and then start with what you believe is your first item to work on. Put the overall list away and make a personal statement about the goal you have selected. Write it on a piece of paper and read it as often as you can. If you have a coach, discuss it with her or him. Once you have accomplished the goal to your satisfaction, cross it off your priority list and move on to the next one.
Problem #2: Negative thinking and focusing on what is not working or 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.”
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 in practice.” 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.
Solution #3: Each game in bowling consists of ten separate 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
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, pull out the list to remind you 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 is 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 be your own worst enemy.