Archive for Mental Game


Slow Down, Be There, Enjoy

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With the internet, cell phones, texting, email, Facebook, Twitter, and Ipads we are often scatterbrained as we go through our day.  We drive while talking on the phone, we surf the web while watching TV, and though some call it multitasking and think they are getting more done, they are likely only kidding themselves as you can see below.

While multitasking can get stuff done, it doesn’t ever get anything done at a level of greatness.  And lets face it, multitasking doesn’t leave much room for enjoyment.  It adds a degree of stress to everything as we must take our brain back and forth when it is geared to only effectively do one thing at a time.

All this great technology at our fingertips and we somehow manage to use it to stress ourselves out, rather than use it productively.

What does this have to do with bowling?

So many people take their scatterbrained lives and carry it right on to the bowling lane.  This is especially true of the youth bowlers I coach as they gleefully text in between frames.  While coaching my high school team we had to institute a no cell phone rule.  Don’t think adults are off the hook either as I know some are worried about work, their lives at home, or maybe the fact that their New York Mets might seemingly never make the playoffs ever again (or maybe that’s just me).

So with all that said the take away point is this.  When you enter the bowling center, slow everything down and enjoy the game.  Pay attention, focus on what you are doing instead of thinking of other things (this includes outside influences like work, as well as that corner pin you just missed last frame).

And to take this a step further and apply this same technique off the lanes.  Pay attention when you are doing something as mundane as brushing your teeth, and you’ll find that you can actually enjoy the task.

When we slow down and believe me it’s not an easy thing to do, not only can we enjoy what we’re doing, we can truly achieve greatness in our lives.

Please comment below on what keeps you from being present for every shot during your game.

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As the years go by, more and more bowlers (as well as elite athletes in other sports) are understanding the mental game is a critical piece to overall performance.  A key to having a strong mental game in bowling is the pre-shot routine.  Basically it is the series of activities leading up to the delivery of the bowling ball.

If you are not sold on the idea of the pre-shot routine take a look at free throw shooting in basketball.  The players that have the best conversion percentage of free throws have a set routine they do before they shoot the ball.  The same holds true for bowling.

mike-aulby-pre-shot-routine-bowling-ballAulby, Master of the Pre-shot Routine

A good example of a pro that mastered the pre-shot routine was Mike Aulby.  Being a professional he was fortunate to be able to work with a sports psychologist to help develop his routine.  His pre-shot routine looked something like this:

  • Check the pins to ensure they are spotted properly and determine whether to use a re-rack
  • Take a towel to the sole of the sliding shoe
  • Pick the ball up off the rack and towel it off
  • Put the fingers that are going into the bowling ball over the hand dryer until they are completely dry
  • Check the slide shoe to ensure there is no sticking by running it back and forth on the bowling approach
  • Lift the ball and blow into the thumb hole
  • Line up the feet on the appropriate board
  • Support the ball with the non ball hand and insert the fingers of the ball hand.
  • Insert the thumb
  • Lower the ball and tuck in the elbow
  • Find the target with the eyes
  • Take a deep breath and let it go slowly

For 2 more examples of pre-shot routines check out Team USA members Diandra Asbaty and Derek Eoff in the video below.

There are many different pre-shot routines being used successfully by all kinds of players.  Some are long, while others are quick and easy.  Either way, find something that fits in with your game.  If you prefer a simpler game don’t be afraid to have a couple of cues to get yourself going. If you want to have more time in the “get ready” phase something more complex like Aulby’s might be appropriate.  The best bet is to start with something as a template and then tweak it to fit your style.

An important thing to note is if something breaks your concentration during your preshot routine it’s important to drop the ball back on the rack and start over.  If part of your routine is toweling off the ball, be sure you re-towel off the ball.  I know it sounds silly, but it helps with consistency and ensures total focus and concentration.

Additionally your pre-shot routine should be used throughout practices, leagues, tournaments, etc.  It is not just for when money is on the line.  Remember to build the consistency into your shot and the pins will fall.

What does your pre-shot routine look like.  Leave a comment below and let us know!

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