Article Contents

  • 1. Recognition and awareness
  • 2. Identifying influences
  • 3. Let the exorcism begin!
    • 3.1. 1)  Your memory
    • 3.2. 2)  Visualization/imagery
    • 3.3. 3)  Self-talk
  • 4. Conclusion

Having coached many different level of bowlers over the years, one of the things that has always impressed me is that some bowlers don’t update their belief system with respect to their current game. This often leads to physical and mental setbacks in development. I have seen many a student physically ready to take their game to the next level, only to be held back by their thoughts.

Here are some examples. See if you, or someone you know, fits in any of these categories:

  • The bowler, having developed a much straighter and looser swing over the last several months, is still hesitant to trust the new swing to get the ball to the intended target. Every time they throw two or three good shots in a row, the next shot will be short, aimed, or off line, trying to force success instead of expecting it.
  • The bowler, having developed a more powerful release with improved speed and rev rate, is hesitant to move deeper. They remain boxed into a certain part of the lane, which is no longer viable with their current speed and rev rate.
  • The bowler, having significantly improved their ability to shoot spares, still has vivid memories of all the spares they have missed over the years, which paralyzes and overcomes all the work in this area. The end result is several pristine spare conversions, followed inexplicably by several attempts that miss substantially.
  • The bowler, having spent hours working on their mental game, still uses negative self-talk (“Here we go again.” or “Why can’t I ever carry?”) after leaving a solid 10 pin, or similar perceived bad break.

There are numerous other examples of these types of issues. Suffice it to say, the common denominators in all of these issues are:

  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of trust

Recognition and awareness

How do we begin to get past these roadblocks and achieve the success that we are striving for? It begins with recognition. Analyze your current thought process, both conscious and unconscious, in regard to your bowling game. What factors ...

John York

About John York

John York is a USBC Silver-certified coach and five-time BJI Top 100 coach. He is currently the head coach of the Wilmington University NCAA bowling program.