Article Contents

  • 1. Initial personal insights
  • 2. The experiment
    • 2.1. Performance results
    • 2.2. Analysis
  • 3. How to build real and lasting confidence
    • 3.1. Be objective and non-judgmental
    • 3.2. Train hard on all aspects of the game
    • 3.3. Use older equipment in training
    • 3.4. Train outside your “comfort” zone
  • 4. Conclusions

It always amazes me how some bowlers rely completely on new equipment to better their bowling games. From youth players, seniors, national champs, and bowlers I work with personally, I see social media posts every week about the new balls they bought or got from their ball reps. You’ve likely seen similar posts, with comments like, “I got a new ball today…it’s amazing and hits the pins hard,” “This ball hooks a ton…I love it!”, and of course, “If you want something that hits the pins like a truck, then you must buy this ball!”

If you’re like me and you enjoy bowling in any way, you want to do everything possible to shoot higher scores. Seeing so many positive social media posts about new equipment may even give you visions of bowling that first (or next) 300 game, or give you some extra confidence in your abilities, which may make you want to go out and buy that “next best thing.”

Yes, new bowling balls are great to use and they can help keep bowlers competitive in tournaments because they can match up well with the oil pattern. But, one of the keys to building confidence that many bowlers overlook is hard work and dedication to training. The best bowlers in the world will not shortcut the hard work it takes to be the best and will certainly not rely on buying new bowling equipment as their only source of confidence and improved scores. Their hard work and dedication to the sport helps them build true confidence on any pattern they compete on.

The problem that I have with some bowlers who buy new bowling balls regularly is that they may be masking a deeper problem of inconsistent shotmaking. That is, this article is mainly geared toward those bowlers who have the resources to buy the newest and greatest bowling balls as soon as they come out, but who don’t also put in the time working hard at their games. False confidence is good in the short-term because it gives you belief that ...

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.