Article Contents

  • 1. Five techniques for the road
    • 1.1. 1. Visualization
    • 1.2. 2. Internal dialogue
    • 1.3. 3. Cooling the engine
    • 1.4. 4.  Add an anchor
    • 1.5. 5. Flow to go
  • 2. Your tool box

When it comes to bowling for money, titles, or glory, you have to have your go-to strategies. For better or worse, you are probably pulled to your favorite balls, your favorite hand positions, and probably your favorite strike lines. All of that is fine and good…as long as you can adjust as needed.

You have your bag of tricks and, like a good magician, you pull out the ones that wow the crowd most often. So, after all of the reading and work you have done in order to be a student of the game, you may also have your mental game bag of tricks. Hopefully, you do. As you may well know, what goes on inside your head is a huge determinant of what happens with your ball on the lanes.

With the Intercollegiate Tournament Championships just passed (congratulations to champions Robert Morris University and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore), the vital nature of having robust mental strategies under pressure was clearly evident. Made and missed spares once again became one of the story lines for teams that advanced—or didn’t.

Players and teams that advance in tournaments have a mental game bag of tricks as familiar to them as their physical tools. Terms like visualization, self-talk, championship attitude, and trust, are part of the vocabulary of many tournament players. Yet, during crunch time, many really great players cannot remember how to employ these strategies in order to win.

“My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you’ll win….Channel your energy. Focus.”
—Carl Lewis, winner of nine Olympic gold medals

This month we are going assemble a competition tool chest. This will be a brief description and summary of methods and techniques that have been fleshed out far more fully in past issues. It can be really handy to have a ready-made plan and this is one issue you can throw into your bag for use as needed.

Five techniques for the road

“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head.”
—Jack Nicklaus

1. Visualization

The number one gold standard technique that has been used by athletes throughout the ages is visualization. Could you do it in a pinch right now? Could you do it ...

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Dean Hinitz

About Dean Hinitz

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