Article Contents

  • 1. Skill acquisition and brain development
  • 2. Bowler see, bowler do
  • 3. Infusing brain research into effective bowling practice techniques
    • 3.1. Skill Drill Linkage
    • 3.2. Foul Line Drill
    • 3.3. Swing and Slide Drill
    • 3.4. 3-Step Drill
    • 3.5. Backup Drill
  • 4. Ambiguity training
  • 5. Mirror neuron activation
  • 6. Closing thought
  • 7. Reference

In the past decade, an explosion of recent findings in the field of neurological research has revealed significant insights into how our brain works. These new findings often contradict conventional wisdom about mental development and structure. No more does the conception that our brain is a static entity after childhood hold true. Rather, the brain doesn’t realize full development until an individual is in their twenties. It remains dynamic and evolves after this point as we have new experiences and learn new skills.

Through the neurological findings of the last decade, it has been realized that the brain is a dynamic system that restructures itself when individuals learn new skills, regardless of age. Within this body of work, there have been significant findings on the impact of neurology on skill acquisition. From myelenation to mirror neurons, your brain plays a significant role in skill acquisition, development, and mastery.

In this month’s Slowinski At Large, I share with readers some of the most important findings in neurology as well as the impact these findings have on effective learning and skill acquisition. In closing, I provide readers with a practice process to maximize skill development.

Skill acquisition and brain development

When learning new skills and practicing, research has shown that the brain will actually restructure itself and expand. With new experiences and learning, research has shown that our grey matter increases. Grey matter consists of regions of the brain that process sensory, motor stimulus, and physical movement.

In 2004, Dr. Bogdan Draganski and his colleagues revealed that as people learned a new skill, their grey matter increased by three percent over a three month period. Participants were both taught juggling and practiced juggling during this time. The actual process of learning a new motor skill increased their brain capacity as they developed the new skill. After stopping, the volume of grey matter actually decreased to an overall improvement of two percent from the pre-study period. Stopping practice led to a decrease in grey matter.

In Architecture of the Golfer’s Brain, Jëncke and colleagues mapped the brains of skilled and less skilled golfers. The highly practiced skilled golfers had more grey matter than the less skilled and less practiced ...

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Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is a freelance bowling coach who works with bowlers around the globe. He is currently on assignment with the Philippines. Slowinski is the former Director of Bowling at Lincoln Memorial University, where he served as Program Administrator and Head USBC Collegiate Men’s and NCAA Women’s Coach. The Portland, Maine native has served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is also the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. He has coached international teams at the World Championships, Pan American Games, South American Games, and European Championships, helping Belgium win a Gold medal at the 2022 EBF Championship of Champions and coaching Brazil to Gold medals at the 2015 Pam American Games and the 2014 South American Games. He was the 2018 NTCA DII/III Coach of the Year and the 2010 NCBCA Men’s College Coach of the Year.