Recovering Mentally After Injury

Tips for dealing with the journey back to the lanes


Injuries in bowling—and sports in general—are an inevitable part of participating in a physical activity, but one of the greatest qualities of bowling is being able to compete at a high level into middle age and older. This is a rarity among most sports, and it was highlighted most recently by Norm Duke’s back-to-back PBA victories at age 54.

While the physical side of injury recovery can be aided by doctors, physiotherapists, and medication, less attention is paid to the mental side of recovery and the frustrating and often lonely journey many of us undertake on the way back to the lanes. This article is going to explore some tips and strategies to help with the mental side of injury rehabilitation, as well as address how modifying your technique due to injury doesn’t mean the end of competitive bowling.

Firsthand experience

The research for this article came from my own injury a few months ago. After slowly easing back into bowling after 10 months off due to COVID-19, I bowled 46 games in a 10-day period, where the sudden increase in bowling load caused a serious injury to my distal bicep tendon.

Seeing a physiotherapist addressed the physical side of recovery, which can take up to three months, but the psychological effects of the injury are a personal and mostly internal struggle: there is the fear that I won’t be able to bowl the way I used to, the frustration of having to withdraw from tournaments and not being able to bowl league with my teammates, the negative thoughts that creep in that it may be time to give the game away, the possibility that I may have to drop ball weight and rebuild a new arsenal, and the consideration ...

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.