Article Contents

  • 1. The Applied Mental Game Pyramid
  • 2. Knowledge
    • 2.1. The human response
    • 2.2. Individual differences
    • 2.3. What are your best emotions?
  • 3. Simulation
    • 3.1. Bowling-specific discomfort training
  • 4. Anticipation
    • 4.1. Prepare for the worst
  • 5. Final remarks
  • 6. References

As a coach, I strongly advocate a holistic approach to our sport. To ensure optimal performance—achieving success when it matters most—an all-inclusive approach ensures that you control each domain of training and preparation. From on-lane skill and strategy development to training and recovery, every element is important in achieving top-level goals. Each of these areas should be grounded in a periodization plan (volume, frequency, and intensity variations) to ensure peak performance at specific moments throughout the competition calendar.

I have seen that the mental game is a fundamental element of high performance for bowlers who achieve their best at major international competitions. Accordingly, with the intent to aid bowlers in preparing more extensively, I have developed the Applied Mental Game Pyramid. This pyramid consists of the three foundational in-training domains and the three in-competition domains, designed to help bowlers perform better in major competitions.

The Applied Mental Game Pyramid will be presented as a two-part series, starting with an introduction. I’ll then share insights into the in-training elements that form the foundation of the pyramid: knowledge, simulation, and anticipation.

The Applied Mental Game Pyramid

One of the most vital aspects of high performance is staying present in the competition moment and avoiding unnecessary distractions. Unfortunately, some bowlers are not prepared for these higher-level stressors due to a lack of access to sports psychology tools or a lack of commitment to the mental game.

As with all sports, bowlers need to commit training time to the mental game and remain vigilant in competition, using proactive strategies, awareness, and reactive responses for intervention purposes.

The ability to focus attention on target stimuli relevant to the sport context and specific discipline while inhibiting irrelevant information…[is] considered a key aspect of optimal performance.
-Crivelli and Balconi (2022)

To foster an applied approach to the mental game, I developed a six-level pyramid consisting of three in-training domains and three in-competition domains. The foundation of the pyramid is formed by the three ...

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Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is a freelance bowling coach who works with bowlers around the globe. He is currently on assignment with the Philippines. Slowinski is the former Director of Bowling at Lincoln Memorial University, where he served as Program Administrator and Head USBC Collegiate Men’s and NCAA Women’s Coach. The Portland, Maine native has served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is also the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. He has coached international teams at the World Championships, Pan American Games, South American Games, and European Championships, helping Belgium win a Gold medal at the 2022 EBF Championship of Champions and coaching Brazil to Gold medals at the 2015 Pam American Games and the 2014 South American Games. He was the 2018 NTCA DII/III Coach of the Year and the 2010 NCBCA Men’s College Coach of the Year.