Article Contents

  • 1. Initial study
  • 2. Initial study results
  • 3. Follow up study procedures
  • 4. Follow up study results
  • 5. How will this help me?
  • 6. Final comments
  • 7. References

In the April issue of BTM, Joe Slowinski explained a study he conducted at the Kegel Training Centre that included a breathing technique and proven targeting process as a pre-shot routine. Briefly, Joe designed the pre-shot routine (hereafter called PSR) after extensive review of psychophysiological research that indicated breathing techniques may promote relaxation and increased performance.

Joe also discussed sport anxiety studies to set the background for his experiment. During his study, bowlers completed ten shots with, and without, the PSR. The results indicated that when using the breathing protocol and targeting system, most bowlers improved their ability to execute more consistent shots when using the PSR than when no pre-shot routine was used. Improved performance occurred for most bowlers, thus, Joe suggested that breathing properly when in pressure situations “will help bowlers execute better shots, time after time” (p. 29). I commend this study, which helps to improve the credibility of the sport of bowling.

My research extends this study, introducing a “pressure situation” where the bowlers’ data was measured with and without the pre-shot routine during two separate pressure situations to compare whether the PSR improved accuracy under pressure. In this context, I define high pressure as any circumstance that increases the importance of the situation from the bowler’s perspective. It could be anything from beating a bowling rival in a friendly practice game to winning a televised PBA tournament. I believed that having a pressure situation in the study would expand how we can apply the finding.

In this article I discuss studies, published in research journals, I have recently conducted (Mesagno, Marchant, & Morris, 2008; Mesagno & Mullane-Grant, 2010) with PSRs as interventions to improve performance under pressure. One study (Mesagno et al., 2008) was conducted with experienced bowlers and the other study (Mesagno & Mullane-Grant, 2010) was conducted with Australian football players. The purpose of the study was to compare whether different PSRs can help you perform better in pressure situations. For consistency and brevity, I will discuss both studies from a bowling perspective rather than risk confusion by introducing Australian football explanations.

Initial study

The initial study (Mesagno et al., 2008) involved establishing whether a PSR would help improve experienced bowlers’ accuracy in pressure situations. We asked a small number of experienced bowlers to roll at a target ten boards wide (we did not have access to the C.A.T.S system) for 60 shots ...

Chris Mesagno

About Chris Mesagno

Dr. Chris Mesagno is a senior lecturer in Exercise and Sport Psychology at Federation University Australia and received his Ph.D. from Victoria University (Australia), specializing in Sport Psychology and Motor Learning. Dr. Chris is a competitive bowler of 30 years, he was a member and assistant coach of the University of Florida bowling team from 1998-2001, and he is both a Tenpin Bowling Australia Level 1 Certified Coach and a USBC Bronze Level Coach.