Article Contents

  • 1. The inventory
  • 2. Score yourself
  • 3. Grading yourself
  • 4. References

“When you’re playing against a stacked deck, compete even harder. Show the world how much you’ll fight for the winner’s circle. If you do, some day the cellophane will crackle off a fresh pack, one that belongs to you, and the cards will be stacked in your favor.”
-Pat Riley

If you are going to play, compete, and survive to fight, you have to be mentally tough. Bowling is full of athletes who have boat-loads of skill who shrivel under a wide variety of challenges. Whether it is being able to close out a tournament, deal with making errors, or handling the pressure of fans, coaches, and television, the mentally tough bowler tends to come out on top in the long run.

The term “tough” is curious. It is one of those things that everyone knows when they see it, but defining it in sports terms is tricky. In some sports it is easier to see than in others. Finding a tough football or hockey player is simple. You can see the blood, the bandages, and the acts of getting back up after being knocked down.

Finding a tough bowler is less obvious. Bowlers don’t commonly bleed, and the aches and pains tend to be invisible to others. Sometimes mental toughness in bowling is the ability to rebound after mistakes and failures. Sometimes it is being able to handle pressure. Another aspect of mental toughness is concentration. Another is unshakeable confidence. Additionally, the mentally tough bowler has a motor that never quits running. The motivation to get better, and to succeed, keeps driving.

This month you are going to have the opportunity to take a mental toughness inventory. You will have the chance to examine yourself in six different areas of mental toughness. Be as honest as you can while you take this test. The results will give you and your coach the information you need in order to be a truly tough bowler.

The inventory

For each of the following questions you should simply answer true or false. Very few people are black or white, all or none, one or ten, on each of ...

Dean Hinitz

About Dean Hinitz

Dr. Dean Hinitz is a clinical sports psychologist in Reno, Nevada, a bowler, former competitive gymnast, and black belt in Japanese-style Karate.