In every sport there are moments of immense pressure. When it comes to bowling, these moments can be even more frightening because all eyes are on you when you are getting ready to bowl. If you are in a tournament or a league there are situations where everything is riding on your next shot, so it is important not to crack under the pressure. Every person handles these moments differently, but here are a few tips and tricks to help you cope with the pressure of bowling in high stress situations.
Having a routine or pre-shot ritual is a great way to calm your nerves in high pressure situations. By picking your ball up the same way every time, or wiping your ball before every shot are some examples of pre-shot routines that people do. By doing these routines during practice you become familiar with the movements and during high pressure moments you can somewhat let muscle memory take over. You are able to aim your focus on these little pre-shot routines rather than focusing on people staring at you or relying on your next shot.
Block out your Surroundings
Sometimes focusing on the task at hand can cause even more pressure. When people are all around you and you call feel everyone staring at you it can intensify the moment. Being able to block out the noises and actions around you can help you get in the zone and throw a perfect strike. If you need to close your eyes for a moment that can help calm the actions around you. Sometimes it can be helpful to take your mind off of your surroundings by singing a song in your head or giving yourself a mini pep talk before you bowl.
Take a Deep Breath
Sometimes the best way to relax in a high stress environment is to step back and take a deep breath. This will help relax your muscles and also clear your mind. If you tend to get jittery or shaky inhale through your nose as much as you can and hold it for a second, then exhale through your mouth letting all of the air out and releasing stress and tension. If you need to you can repeat this a couple times until you are in the zone and ready to throw a strike!
The pressure of sports, and bowling in particular, can greatly affect the way you play and how well you perform. By using some of these tips hopefully you can channel the pressure you feel into a positive and awesome game. Who knows maybe you will bowl a 300 next game!