TEN-PIN TOPICS: How to improve your mental game

Fall weather has definitely arrived and just in time for all of our boys and girls to dawn their camo clothing and head into the woods with their bows and arrows looking for that evasive white tail. Best of luck to all of our hunters, and above all, stay safe!

Scores have been coming in hot and heavy for some of us. Others have struggled in this early season and some of you may be wondering why. It possibly has to do with the mental side of the game.

It has been said the mental side of any sport is the hardest part to perfect and it often separates the good athletes from the great ones. There always will be distractions on the lane to affect your mental game. Possibly noise you were not expecting or movement caught out of the corner of your eye. Whatever it is, you have to train yourself to block it all out and focus.

USBC Hall of Famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Dr. Dean Hintz recently discussed some of the aspects of the bowling mental game and talked about what makes the best bowlers so mentally strong. Dr. said stated the difference between a weak and a strong bowling mental games lies in the distinction between focus and concentration. You may be concentrated on performing well, but that doesn’t mean you are focused.

Focusing entails picking a point you can come back to every time you lose concentration. For instance, if someone’s phone goes off or another bowler a couple of lanes away rolls at the same time you enter your approach, it can throw you off your game for the next three frames. But, those with a strong bowling mental game, know how to get back on track right away.

When you get distracted, try stepping back and taking a breath, just as if you were starting your regular routine all over again. And don’t forget about your coach. How is he or she treating you? Your coach is you. Self-talk and getting in a mindset of doing well is very important to your success on the lanes.

Medical professionals will tell you a negative mind will cause a release of dopamine in your brain five times stronger than a positive thought. This is why it is so easy to think negatively. Push past it by overwhelming your brain with positive thoughts and visualization of delivering a perfect shot on the lane.

One of our local bowlers was very focused this last week, as Peter Norriss not only rolled a perfect 300 game, but also rolled a big 858 series in the Friday Night Mens league. Just missing the 800 mark was Vince Webber, who rolled a 792 series in the Monday Night Men league. For the women, Jessica Wallace rolled a 563 series with a 222 game in The Gate House league.

Other bowlers rolling 700 series this week were: Jon Collins Jr (712), Meceola; Rich Carrick (712), Friday Night Mens; Kevin Kitson (711), Meceola; and Peter Norriss (710) Meceola. Congratulations to all of our top bowlers this week!

  Until next time, good luck and good bowling.


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