Article Contents

  • 1. Lucky or confident?
  • 2. Relationship to bowling
    • 2.1. Perception and confidence
    • 2.2. Perception and the lanes
  • 3. Unlucky carry, or the law of averages
    • 3.1. The black cat in game two
  • 4. Closing thoughts
  • 5. References

Do you have to wear the same shirt when you bowl, or put your shoes on in a certain order? Do you have a favorite or lucky ball that you can always rely on to get you out of trouble? Does your opponent always seem to get the lucky breaks, especially at crucial times in a match? And why can’t you carry the back row when you smash the pocket all game?

When it comes to luck and bowling (and sport in general), we sort of know that certain objects or pre-game superstitions can’t really affect our performance, but that doesn’t mean they can be totally ignored when they become a part of your routine and ritual. This is especially true when they seem to be linked with your bowling success. But is being lucky or unlucky just a part of bowling, or is there another way to understand luck that you can use to your advantage?

“Rituals of good luck develop because we believe that something we do can influence chance.”
In the Wormhole TV series

This article is going to explore the roles of luck, confidence, and statistics in bowling, drawing upon some interesting studies while also proposing some ways in which you can make your own luck on the lanes.

Lucky or confident?

“There are rules to luck, not everything is chance for the wise; luck can be helped by skill.”
—Baltasar Gracian

Dr. Sally Linkenauger, a psychologist and senior lecturer from Lancaster University in England, suspects that believing you are lucky actually changes the way you play. She uses the term “positive contagion” to describe the effect where people think that they will perform better when using equipment that has been previously used by an admired ...

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Dean Champ

About Dean Champ

Dean Champ is a USBC-certified Silver coach who has been coaching bowlers of all levels and styles for 10 years. He is also the creator of the popular Analysis of Modern 10-Pin Bowling YouTube videos. Dean is the former Head Coach of the Australian Adult Women's team.