Let’s Play Twenty Questions

Performing a personal evaluation on your game

Let's Play Twenty Questions

It’s six o’clock on a Saturday night. A bowler sits in a chair with his forehead resting in the palms of his hands looking down at his well worn bowling shoes, wondering what went wrong. He had forced himself to roll out of bed way too early for a Saturday morning, and driven 100 miles to bowl a six-game sweeper, only to miss the cut…again.

He just can’t understand it. He purchased two of the newest cannon balls on the market for his arsenal and had them laid out by one of the gurus in the industry. He thought surely these new weapons would have made the difference; that the magic layouts would get him inside the cut number this time. He was planning on bringing home a nice check.

His mind quickly turns to the amount of money spent on entry fees, side pots, and new equipment. Truth be known, it is money he really can’t afford to be throwing away. Now for the long drive home.

If this scenario sounds all too familiar, it may be time to venture into some personal evaluation. Many of you may have worked for businesses that required periodic performance reviews by the boss or even require self-written personal evaluations.

Very few tournament bowlers actually sit down and write personal evaluations of their performances, but they should. I am talking about a much more in depth analysis of yourself than just keeping track of what pins you left after the first ball and whether or not you made the spare.

An honest personal evaluation is an excellent way to discover your weak points, strong points, knowledge gaps, and performance inadequacies in tournament play. I think all tournament bowlers should look at their bowling as a business, even if they are not trying to make a living at it.

Competition bowlers are making big investments in equipment, entry fees, side pots, and yes, even wear and tear on the family car if you really have the tournament habit. Even youth bowlers spending their parent’s money traveling from tournament to tournament in search of Junior Gold glory are making the investment. The question you must ask yourself is…would you invest in your business in its current state?

Far too many regular participants across the country, heck, even the world nowadays, are making the investments, but aren’t checking the balance sheet to see if they are actually getting somewhere. You may just be in it for the thrill of the competition, but believe me, making cuts, getting checks, and dare I say it, winning, is much more fun.

Just having the overwhelming desire to win won’t cut it either. You must have a set of skills with which to win. Some bowlers actually have a few of the necessary skills to win but they don’t have the complete package and their success is very sporadic with long periods of disappointment.

Personal performance review

Actually filling out a personal performance review will not only shed light on what you need to get better, it will teach you to think in a different way. If you make a habit of writing performance reviews after each tournament, you will start to see patterns develop which can reveal inadequacies you never knew you had.

First, let’s look at some general questions you should ask yourself. Keep in mind that the “why” questions require the most in-depth thought. Never answer the “why” questions with things like, “Because I won” or, “Because I missed the cut”. Why did you win or why did you miss the cut? Those are the answers you are seeking.

The more knowledge you gain about the sport and about yourself the more revealing the answers to the questions will become. You don’t know what you don’t know. As you learn, you will be able to go back and fill in better answers on past evaluations.

Let’s play twenty questions and see if you can get a better picture of where you are and where you need to improve. The first ten questions are just designed to get an overall look at your tournament history and only need to be answered once a year (or every six months if you bowl a lot of tournaments).

The second set of ten questions should be answered after every tournament so, it’s a good idea to take them with you and keep them in your bowling bag.

1. Which term describes the past year of tournament outcomes the best? Break even, profitable, slight losses, bankrupt city

You ask yourself this question to get a grip on reality. If you are performing well and making a profit in your tournament business, great. You only need to figure out how to make more profit from your venture in the future. Don’t ever be ...

Ron Clifton

About Ron Clifton

Ron Clifton has been coaching at the professional level for 25 years. He conducts “Advanced Bowler Training Clinics” across the U.S. and is the inventor and manufacturer of Ron C’s Magic Carpet for thumbholes. Ron can be found on the web at www.bowl4fun.com.