Article Contents

  • 1. Who are you?
    • 1.1. What’s your current state of mind?
    • 1.2. How have you been bowling?
  • 2. I’m not doing my part!
  • 3. How do you get through a bad night or several bad nights?
  • 4. Is anyone watching? Does anyone care?
  • 5. Concluding thoughts

Now that we’ve discussed various lane play adjustments that you are hopefully practicing as often as possible, I would like to talk about the mental game aspect of team and league bowling. Much has already been written about the importance of the mental game, but I would like to focus on what I see as the primary mental obstacle to team league bowling success: expectations! It all starts with examining what’s going on inside your head before you even start bowling.

Who are you?

Personal expectations impact team expectations, and it all begins with the bowler’s self-identification. So, who are you? Are you someone who simply enjoys bowling as a hobby or an activity to get you away from work and responsibilities? Are you someone who takes the game very seriously, bowls in multiple leagues, has a coach, and owns multiple bowling balls? Are you a tournament bowler who also bowls in league, and who uses league bowling as more of a testing ground for tournament strategy?

Everyone wants to bowl well, no matter their personal level of dedication to our sport. However, the more you see yourself as a serious bowler, the more apt you are to hold yourself to a higher standard. This can often lead to a greater likelihood that you will beat yourself up when you fall short of those standards, which can impact your whole team.

What’s your current state of mind?

Most of us who aren’t blessed to bowl professionally work at non-bowling jobs and have largely non-bowling lives, other than the days or evenings when we bowl in league (and, hopefully, practice). There are so many wonderful quotes describing the uncertainty and vicissitudes of life, and when those ups and downs occur, it is very difficult to relax and enjoy bowling with your friends and teammates. Even when you know that our sport requires attention and concentration, you can wind up ...

Joe Hoenig

About Joe Hoenig

Joe Hoenig is a USBC Silver coach and a graduate of the Dick Ritger Bowling Camps. A Licensed Master Social Worker by profession, Joe works full-time as a Clinical Trainer and Educator for a health insurance plan and takes his love of teaching and bowling onto the lanes, coaching both youth and adult students of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, Joe is a volunteer coach for the Suffolk County, NY Bolympics youth travel league, which calls South Levittown Lanes its home.