We all know talent alone can take us pretty far. One thing that tends to be missing in highly talented players is the mental game. What is the purpose of having a great mental game? How will it benefit you? How will it hurt you not to have a good mental game? These will be some topics I will hit on in this article.
We all seem to hear the phrase at some point in our life, "This game is 90% mental and 10% physical." That goes for all sports whether it is bowling, football, or any other sport for that matter. Lets take a baseball player at-bat, he doesn't go to the plate thinking, "man this guy throws hard, I am probably going to strike out." No he is thinking how hard he is going to hit the ball and put the ball in play. Same thing in bowling, you don't get on the approach and think "this shot is hard and I am probably going to open." Your thinking how bad you want to strike and shoot a big game.
Staying positive whether the game is going well or not is going to help you go a long way. Face it. As much as we want things to always go our way it just does not happen. Staying positive will help get you through the tough games. What are some things you could do in your pre-shot routine to help your game out? While you're standing there waiting for your turn, say to yourself positive thoughts. Whether it is "good follow through on this one" or "good balance", just say a phrase or two right before you step on the approach. 90% of the game happens before you even get on the approach. Goes from everything to what ball I am going to use and where I am going to hit to even how you are going to be balanced and release the ball at the line. It will help raise your focus on the shot you're about to make. Once you are on the approach let the talent and coaching take over.
What if your mental game lacks confidence or you really just don't have one? Well the percentage of throwing a bad shot just increases. Not saying that you will for sure make a bad shot. It is just more likely to happen when negative thoughts go through your head. Lets say you just opened last frame leaving the greek church, if your thinking that you might leave another split, the percentage of doing so just increased. What if you are leaving corner pin after corner pin? Don't complain about it and say "Man I can't carry!" It happens and it is a part of the game, you have to stay positive about hitting the pocket since that is half the battle. Obviously the other half is finding a way to knock down 10 pins. If you make good shots and stay clean, chances are you are at least shooting 190 or higher.
Trust what you are doing and believe in what you are doing. Staying positive only helps! When you're on the lanes just think of whether you want to be a lion or a mouse. Hopefully you're choosing to be the ferocious lion and have the courage to take on the challenge. Remember to enjoy the game of bowling and stay positive! Oh and don't forget to Practice, Practice, Practice!