Quick Tip: Tournament Preparation


A lot of the youth bowlers were complaining to me recently, that they didn’t bowl well in a tournament because it started too early (8am).  I honestly had little if any sympathy because that’s a complete cop out.  I had to wake up numerous times when bowling collegiately at completely asinine hours(how about 3 or 4am) only to drive 4 hours hours to get to our destination, bowl for 7 or 8 hours and then head home the same day.  Preparation for this is key to giving you an edge over all those “it’s too early” bowlers.

Before a big tournament, make sure you get ample sleep and hydration.  This starts long before the night before the tournament.  In fact if you are a professional athlete of any kind, this planning could be months in advance, but I’d honestly settle for just a few days for most bowlers.  Getting a good night’s sleep is critical because it can directly correlate with your performance.  Groggy bowlers make poor bowlers that physically don’t throw the ball well, and make mental errors.  Also make sure to leave enough time to eat a reasonable breakfast and set yourself up to get to the bowling alley at least 20 minutes before the start of the tournament.

You never know what check-in might look like at the tournament so getting to the tournament center early sets you up so this is not a problem.  Also it gives you time to double check the fit on all your bowling balls before the practice lights get on.  I can’t tell you how many people only bowl evening leagues only to find on the morning of the tournament their thumb is either huge or shrunken.  Then they scramble to adjust tape in practice when it simply could have been avoided with a little preparation.

Especially if you aren’t familiar with the center, you might check how tacky the approaches are by sliding your shoe on the approach and adjusting your slide sole before practice begins.

Lastly, arriving early will give you a few minutes to relax and collect your thoughts before you start throwing balls down the lane.  This might not sound like much to most bowlers, but there is nothing worse than being rushed and arriving right before practice or worse, during practice.  You’ll be forced to make decisions quickly, when you likely would have made better decisions if you had thought about a few things before you started.

Paying attention to these softer parts of the game are important for gaining that ever so important edge in competition.  If this preparation only helps you carry 1 extra strike, it could be the difference between making or missing the cut.

For further reading check out Kegel’s Joe Slowinski who wrote a great article on the implications of sleep and bowling.

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