- 1. Pre-tournament checklist
- 2. “The BTM” Tournament
- 3. ABC Nationals
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If you haven’t seen the movie Miracle yet, do yourself a favor and see it immediately. It is a fantastic story about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team and, more importantly, their training and preparation that culminated with an inspirational victory in New York more than twenty years ago. The dedication necessary to become a champion in any sport rides constant. In the movie, the hockey team was forced by their head coach to work on their stamina for hours after a lackluster performance in an exhibition game against Czechoslovakia. Those of you who have witnessed a PBA tournament in person, may have seen the likes of Brian Voss or Eric Forkel, for example, working late into the night on their game…even after they had rolled more than a dozen games that day. To be a champion in any sport takes commitment. This applies to both the amateur and professional ranks alike.
Some of the largest amateur tournaments in the country are taking place right now in Reno, Nevada. If you are planning a trip to compete in either the ABC Nationals or “The BTM” Tournament, I suggest you arrive prepared to win. Tournaments like these have lane conditions that offer no assistance to the pocket. This is done to remove chance or luck in determining who will walk away victorious. Contrary to today’s typical house conditions, these tournament conditions reward shotmaking and proper execution. Your chances of placing high in Reno are dependent upon a proper tackling of the following aspects of our wonderful sport:
- Mental Game
- Physical Game
- Lane play
Regarding the mental game, it is important that you are first able to picture yourself succeeding on the lanes. In 1991 at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I recall going through a mental exercise in which all of us on the U.S. Team closed our eyes and collectively imagined ourselves rolling strike after strike on a demanding lane condition. This was done to help prepare us for the World Championships coming up later that fall in Singapore. The same exercise can prove valuable in preparing for your trip to Reno as well. We are all human beings and all fall victim to excessive stress that comes along with competing in something you hold valuable. If you are prepared to handle the stress before you compete, I guarantee you will be able to perform better on the lanes, allowing your natural skills to come through.
It is also important that your physical game is sharp. As I mentioned before, most house conditions are quite soft today. Consequently, flaws become a common part of our physical games and we don’t even notice it. The best way to combat this is to schedule lessons with a certified coach in your area approximately two months prior to the tournament for which you are preparing. I like to use video instruction software to look at the direction of my armswing, consistency of my timing, and ...