First off, apologies for the clickbait-style title of this article. It is actually about forming habits and improving your bowling game using strategies from an excellent book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. What I’ll be covering is how small improvements each day can slowly accumulate into much bigger gains, how your bowling habits will help shape your identity, and how there should never be any excuses for not finding the time to better your game.
To clarify the title of this article, “atomic” doesn’t mean explosive. It means small; microscopic; at the atomic level.
The former performance director of British cycling, Sir David Brailsford, called small improvements “the aggregation of marginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. Brailsford said the principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of related to your sport and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase in performance when you put them all together.
In his book, James Clear explores the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. He states that too often we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action, where we put pressure on ourselves to make some noticeable improvement that everyone will talk about. Whereas improving by 1% a day won’t be particularly noticeable, the difference it can make over time can be quite surprising. Using simple math, if you get 1% better each day for a year, you will be 37-times better by the end of the year.
Now, what 37-times better actually looks like is hard to quantify, but it will be an improvement of where you were a year earlier, and it could be an improvement that does get noticed. Those expecting to advance their game rapidly after just one coaching session are bound to be disappointed when they aren’t walking away feeling like they are ready to join the pro tour, and even though this may seem like an unreasonable expectation, I’ve had first coaching sessions with bowlers who expected me to have some sort of magical advice or technique change that will fix them immediately. And even when you get regular coaching and spend time practicing and training and do everything you can to progress your game, yet still see no noticeable changes or improvement in your scoring, it can be very disheartening.
Clear calls this the “Valley of ...
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