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Psychological preparation - creating routines

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Bowling psychological preparation

Routine - most of us complain and try to escape from it, but we all know - it is inevitable. But is it always harmful to us? Brushing our teeth helps our teeth stay healthy, a morning cup of coffee makes us feel refreshed, and a book can help us fall asleep. These daily routines help us achieve small but necessary goals. In the same way, a routine during a bowling competition can help you achieve better results.

Know yourself

On the day of the competition, when you arrive at the bowling center, look around. Some players will chat with long-lost friends, while others will isolate themselves from the outside world with thick headphones or put their noses into their phones. And so every time they come to the competition.

And although these habits are usually involuntary and 'automatic,' they still affect our performance and results just as much as physical aspects.

Understanding what you are doing before and during the competition is very important because only then will you be able to correct bad habits.

Pre-game routine

When it comes to psychological things, it is essential to be open and honest with yourself because no one knows you better than yourself. After each game, think about more than just your mistakes and how well you performed a ball release. Consider what you did before the game, what warm-up exercises you used, what music you listened to, with whom, and what you talked about. These things can help you develop a reliable and effective psychological preparation routine.

Even the best players in the world have their so-called pre-game routine. It is adapted to their needs, habits, and character, formed by observing the correlation between their results and psychological factors for a long time.

Fifteen minutes before the competition can be crucial. During them, try to concentrate on yourself.

For example, put your headphones on and play some music you like. Perform the stretching exercises you find most compelling, and keep them in the same order before every competition. You don't need to look up routines from others, because you know what you like best and it helps you prepare for the competition.

Monitor yourself, and find out what helps you the most. Once you've established your pre-game routine, it's essential to keep it the same. Do not let external factors distract you, as this will have the same effect on your performance during the competition.

Pre-shot routine

Yes, the pre-game routine is vital, but so is the pre-shot routine. After a shot, we usually walk away from the lane and look at other players' results and their shots, lane changes, or social media on our phones. All this diverts attention from the game and your upcoming shot. It is not necessarily a bad habit. Competitions usually last 3-4 hours, and it is impossible to maintain concentration for such a long time. But a pre-shot routine puts everything in place.

The same movements or rituals performed during each throw help to focus on the shot and increase the chances of achieving a better result.

Have you noticed how sometimes, after leaving the tenth pin, you get nervous, don't prepare for the shot, pick up the ball and perform a wildly inaccurate shot? It happened because you needed to follow your pre-shot routine. Wiping the ball, touching your shoe heel, drying the hand over the dryer, and imagining the right ball trajectory in your head are just some of the most commonly used components of the players' routine. It is all up to your imagination. It's best to make two - one for the strike shot and the other for spares. They should be very similar but differ in only a few aspects. You will pick up spares much more often.

Calm yourself down

Professionals can demonstrate a stable game even under enormous pressure. That is why they are professionals. Although it does not matter whether you are an amateur or a professional, everyone can break under stress.

In a stressful situation, it is necessary to supplement your existing pre-game or pre-shot routine with one additional habit directed against emotional stress.

Memories can help as well. Think of a time when you overcame a stressful situation and made a good shot. Why should this shot be different? Inspire yourself and believe in yourself. Even if that damn 10-pin in the ninth frame looks like standing a kilometer away, it's the same 10-pin you've picked up a million times.

Most importantly - enjoy the moment. Bowling is a rather monotonous sport with little tense moments here. But when they do come, enjoy the adrenaline rush, and get ready for the shot. You already know it will be okay.

Players work a lot on their technique and spend thousands on the latest and most fantastic bowling balls. Still, the psychological aspect of this sport is often forgotten. It is important to develop yourself physically and emotionally to reach the heights you have dreamed of. After all, the most significant victories consist of minor things. These routine tips don't just apply to competitions. Try them during training, develop skills, and create familiar routines you like. You will adapt to changing conditions more easily.

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