Article Contents

  • 1. Gaining focus
  • 2. Touchpoint #1: You’re up next!
    • 2.1. Helpful considerations
  • 3. Touchpoint #2:  Getting set
    • 3.1. Helpful considerations
    • 3.2. More on the pre-shot routine
  • 4. Touchpoint #3: Approach and delivery
    • 4.1. Helpful considerations
  • 5. Touchpoint #4: After the ball has been released
    • 5.1. Helpful considerations
    • 5.2. Visual focus practice
  • 6. Touchpoint #5: Between turns, while teammates bowl
    • 6.1. Helpful considerations
  • 7. Concluding thoughts

Greetings, BTM readers! If you are reading these words, you already know that our sport demands skill and that those skills require time and effort to develop. But let’s consider the following scenario:

  • One bowler possesses a great deal of bowling knowledge and skill but lacks consistent mental focus and discipline.
  • Another bowler doesn’t possess the same level of skill and knowledge but has immovable confidence and focus.

Who do you think will win in a head-to-head match? We can agree that, ideally, a bowler must strive toward both a strong physical and mental game, but I think we can also say that without the latter, the former is insufficient.

Let’s talk about how we can practice our mental game so that we can truly be strong on both fronts.

Gaining focus

The primary mental game skill a bowler needs is focus. A bowler needs to focus before their turn to bowl, while they are preparing to begin their approach, during the approach, after they have released the ball, and between shots. These five focus touchpoints can be isolated for mental game practice, just as bowlers will use different drills to isolate different movements in the physical game.

Each of these five "focus touchpoints" can be isolated and practiced away from the lanes in order to improve your mental game.

Each of these five focus touchpoints can be isolated and practiced away from the lanes in order to improve your mental game.

How would you feel if I said that you can easily isolate these five points and practice them in the comfort of your own home, without a ball, and without paying a penny? You can, and I’ve done it. Here are some ways to practice your focus at each of the five focus touchpoints.

Touchpoint #1: You’re up next!

Total time needed: 15 minutes

Frequency of drill: Three to four times weekly

1) Set a timer for four minutes. You’re trying to approximate the time it usually takes for the bowler before you to complete their frame from start to finish.

2) Sit in a chair, mimicking what you typically do while waiting for your turn to bowl, and visualize the different components. This might mean listening to music, chatting ...

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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 Bowlympics youth travel league, which calls South Levittown Lanes its home.