The phrase “control what you can control” is fairly common in coaching these days, but it can often leave bowlers a bit confused about what exactly it means.

An effective mental game and good lane play require the ability to address the things within our control and accept and adapt to the things that aren’t.

As a bowler, the things within your control include your mental response to a bad break, your self-talk, your ball choices and lane play decisions, and also the routines you use and the mindset you adopt before you step into the bowling center.

The most important thing you must accept that is beyond your control is the ball’s reaction once it leaves your hand. Other things outside your control include the lane play strategies of people on your pair, lane breakdowns and scheduling issues, and the format of the tournament, all of which can become unnecessary distractions that negatively affect your on-lane performance.