The Mental Game.
one of the most misunderstood and ignored areas of bowling is
the mental game. Just what is the Mental Game? To excel in ANY
sport, you must not only possess the physical ability to
accomplish the task, but also have to possess the right frame
of mind. This not only includes when you are excelling, but
more importantly, when you AREN'T excelling. The ability to
react, adjust and overcome your problems applies not only to
bowling but to life as well.
Fitts (L621035@LMSC5.IS.LMSC.LOCKHEED.COM) best describes it:
are five basic components that make up a Successful Mental
can be stressful. Competition in itself brings with it it's
own acute stress. These 2 factors often translate into poor
performance during competition. The use of relation tapes can
help alleviate the stress caused by outside influences. To
reduce pressure during actual competition, try deep breathing
exercises. Breathing exercises can be effectively utilized to
eliminate nervousness & promote successful performance.
Breathe deeply, hold it in for a few moments, then slowly
exhale. this should be performed a few times while waiting to
Talk Each of us has that little voice in the back of our
mind that either offers encouragement or negative thoughts.
Generating a positive mental attitude takes conscious thought
and effort, & a good way to do this is to talk positively
to yourself. Often negative talk is demonstrated by the way a
bowler reacts. If a bowler has hands clenched, teeth together
in a tight grimace, eyes downcast, it is reasonable to assume
negative thoughts are going through the bowler's mind. It is
said that a bowler's worst critic is himself! If this is the
case, the individual should view self criticism as positive
suggestions toward improvement & growth, not self
Imagery A bowler should be thinking of a clear mental
picture of the path the bowling ball will take down the lane.
This is the 1st stage. After the Line in the Mind is
visualized, (s)he should develop a clear mental picture of
actually executing the necessary motions to realize the end
goal of making a strike or converting a spare.
Imagery Is Basically Visualizing The Act Instead Of The
Result. You should imagine yourself performing the actions
& achieving the proper angle necessary to make the strike,
instead of imagining the ten pins falling down at the pin
During actual competition, you should have your mind focused
on the game itself. You do not need to be unsociable with your
friends during competition. After all, one of the greatest
motivations to bowl is the resulting fellowship with other
bowlers. Some bowlers need to "get into themselves"
in order to compete successfully; any distractions will
inhibit their performance. Others only realize their optimum
potential when they are relaxing & having fun with their
friends at the same time. Keep you mind focused, but you do
not have to block out the world, if that is not what you need
to bowl your best competition game.
Confidence Confidence = Competence. If bowlers possess the
knowledge, & have practiced & trained their bodies to
translate this knowledge into proper actions, they will
possess confidence in their abilities. Yet self confidence is
also a direct result of the other 4 facets of a successful
mental game we just covered. If you:
Manage Stress Before & During Practice;
Positive Mental Attitude by Positive Inner Thoughts;
Positive Mental Thought Pictures Geared Toward Success;
the Game at Hand Without Being Distracted; you will be
confident in your abilities.
competition section) Determining Optimum Arousal Levels
Arousal levels refer to the emotional states a person may be
in at the moment of competition. Many people mistakenly think
that the higher the arousal level, the better they will
perform. This is Not thecase. A person can become over
aroused, a state often referred to as being
"psyched-out" or over motivated. An OVER AROUSED
person experiences poor performance because:
tightens due to overall muscle tension.
a person is UNDER AROUSED, performances will also be poor
levels are too low to activate the muscle potential and
optimum reaction time.
The desire to
excel is diminished.
can you find your Optimum Arousal State? When you have played
a successful game, take the time to review how you felt during
competition, & how you feel, now that it's over. This is
the state you should strive for. Not too hot, & not too
cold; psyched-up, but not psyched-out.
bowling, friends! Ms.Fitts