- 1. Giant green rage monster
- 2. Coming through in the clutch…or not
- 3. Dealing with distractions
- 4. Distraction plans
- 5. Canuck Coach’s Book Club
Note: This article is only available to Bowling This Month subscribers.
In the last couple of articles, I’ve introduced three player “categories” based on the area where a bowler is weakest. I’ve called them the Thinker, the Volcano, and the Blind Squirrel. Over the next three months, I want to address the most common weaknesses each category faces and how each could improve.
This month we’ll cover the Volcano. To a certain extent, all competitive bowlers have the potential to be an active volcano. The emotions and intensity of competition can get the better of anyone, although some people seem to fall into the same mental traps over and over again. It’s not that great bowlers all have ice in their veins and don’t feel the same emotions we all do; it’s simply that they are better at handling these emotions and their physical responses to them.
Volcanoes are not just those with anger issues on the lanes, even though it’s the first image that pops into our minds when we think of people with weak mental games. Other signs of mental weakness can come in the form of choking under pressure and responding badly to distractions.
There are lots of experts out there like Dr. Dean Hinitz, a regular contributor to this magazine. There are other sport psychologists with published materials. My goal with this article is to take specific situations all bowlers have faced or will face and apply some well known models and mental techniques to them. Please see the Mental Techniques table for the various tools that will be discussed this month.
Giant green rage monster
Let’s get the most obvious mental flaw out of the way first. Most people think of mentally weak bowlers and picture the guy kicking ball returns, throwing equipment, swearing, and making obscene gestures. While the underlying reasons for this behavior can go beyond bowling (i.e., stress in other areas of life being manifested on the lanes), the primary mental skills that need to be improved include emotional intensity, emotional control, and ...