A lot has happened off the lanes since my last week of league bowling. With a stressful week behind me, I was hoping for a good night of bowling, but things don’t always go exactly to plan. As usual, there were some positives and some negatives to the night.

Once again, we were bowling on lanes 61 and 62, so I expected to work for it. As usual, 62 was tighter downlane, and being my first time on the pair with the Paragon, I tested my Game Breaker 4 Pearl in practice to see if I’d be using two different balls on the pair. It turned out that I could start the night with the Paragon on both lanes, but the night would prove to highlight the discrepancy in the pair’s topography.

How did it go?

From a scoring point of view, it didn’t go well. I finished about 70 pins below average, which was frustrating. From a team production point of view, I managed to grind out my points against another bowler who was struggling, and I showed up when needed to help the team win some points.

Game one

This was a game I’d like to have back. Overall, I started out okay, and I was feeling comfortable until I got some bad news via a text message. I became distracted and promptly threw several bad shots and missed a couple of spares. While the news wasn’t terrible, it was enough to bring up my stress levels, and I didn’t manage it well enough to execute at a high level. Amazingly, I found myself with a chance to strike out in the tenth frame to win my point, and after striking the first ball, I went high on the second one and fell short of winning the game.

Most of this game was about execution and focus, but there were some signs that the lanes were changing. My second shot in the tenth didn’t feel too bad, but it checked up early and never had a chance, so I definitely needed a move on the left lane.

Game two

This game got interesting very fast. After moving a board left on the left lane, I had a pretty good look for a few frames, but I still felt behind the move and needed another board before the game ended. While this was happening, I started struggling to get the ball back to the pocket on the right lane. After some hesitation and self-blame, I finally decided after the eighth frame that I needed a small move outside on that lane. Of course, bowling being bowling, I had a chance to strike out in the tenth frame to win my point.

This was a real test of my confidence. Feeling like I was struggling with my execution and suddenly needing a double on a lane where I’d struck twice and gone light twice, it would have been easy to second-guess the intended move of 1-and-1 to the right. Even a single board could have meant going through the face. However, I always advocate blaming the lanes, and I felt I’d waited too long already, so I made the move and struck out to win the point.

Game three

This game started with the first four strikes, but my ball was creeping higher and higher on the left lane, so I continued to chase the oil left. A few bad shots on the right lane cost me a lot of pins when I threw the ball too hard for a washout and then softened up too much to go high for a split. Keeping it clean and getting a few strikes around those opens kept me in the game despite the grind. Making yet another move in the tenth frame on the left lane, the ball still crept high for a 4 pin, but the spare was all I needed to lock up the point and win total.

By the end of the night, I was standing seven boards left on the left lane, and I could probably have used one more.


This night was a perfect example of working hard when you’re not at your best and finding the positives on a night when it would be easy to focus on negatives. From a results point of view, when the scores aren’t there but you still win some points, focus on that aspect of the performance. If your individual performance isn’t great, then focus on the team’s success. In this case, the grind paid off, as I was able to help the team and win some points despite not being too happy with my execution.

Stressors from off the lanes

Regardless of what you are doing, be it a sport or work or any other activity, stressors from life can interfere with your enjoyment and performance. With so much going on recently, it’s clear that my mind and body weren’t at 100 percent, and when faced with a bit of a challenging situation on the lanes, I couldn’t quite muster up what I needed. During the first game, I made the mistake of not acknowledging the stress and dealing with it. Instead, I tried to shift straight into bowling, and I paid the price with my mind not being focused on the task at hand.

This is a perfect opportunity for me to look at my distraction plan. I rarely receive any kind of bad news or even look at texts while bowling. As a result, I don’t really have a strategy for dealing with it. When a lane breaks down, I generally know what I want to do in order to continue performing well. Or when I need to stop in the middle of my approach. In this case, I need to reflect on how to do it better next time.

  • Distraction: Receiving a text that is stressful or upsetting.
  • What I did: Simply put my phone down and went straight to my pre-shot routine, ignoring the rising stress levels, and hoping the routine would solve everything.
  • What I should do next time: Take a few deep breaths and process the emotions associated with the news. If angry or stressed, try to use thought-stopping. Proceed with pre-shot routine when ready.

Executing when I need it

I’ve always loved the idea of performing in the clutch. I look at it as an opportunity to perform at my best. When I feel like I’m struggling and look up to see that I can strike out to win, one of the phrases that often pops up into my head is, “So you’re saying there’s a chance…” All I want is a chance. The challenge is when you maybe don’t have the energy or are too down on yourself to bring it back in time to perform well.

In this case, even though I wasn’t successful in the tenth frame of the first game, having the chance to strike out brought me back into it. Interestingly, the negative stress of the week hurt my game, but my attitude toward striking out makes it a positive stress that I respond well to. Even though I continued to have some struggles during the night, I look at the tenth frame of the first game as a turning point in the right direction after several bad frames due to being distracted.

Key takeaways

  • You must acknowledge your emotional state in order to deal with it effectively.
  • Have a plan for distractions so you can refocus on the task at hand.
  • Stress can be positive if you can find the opportunity within.

Final scores: 180 – 235 – 206


Tyrel Rose

About Tyrel Rose

Tyrel Rose is Bowling This Month's Director of Content. He is also currently the Head Coach for Team Canada, with over 20 years of experience coaching bowlers of all levels. Tyrel is an NCCP Competition Development level and USBC Bronze Certified coach, and a former Canadian national champion.