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The Winning Ingredients - Part 2


5.  Given a choice (which you have), playing the game knowing that the outcome does not matter is generally a lot better than caring too much.


When you know that the next ten, thirty, or fifty frames are simply the middle frames of the million or so tournament frames you will bowl, it can really take the heat off.


Sometimes there is a momentous tournament, a championship that means a great deal to you.  It could be a league championship; perhaps it is the World Games.  The first four principles listed above will be your guide to employing this one.


You can care.  You can make things matter.  You can prepare for the important moments in your competition career.  The thing to watch out for is that care does not turn into worry.  There is an infinitely fine line between worry and caring overly much.  Keep yourself on the good side of this.

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6.  You have to believe completely in the game you play, the game you brought, and your ability to execute the game in your way.


Self-doubt has ruined more 300 games, 800 Series, and championship performances than almost any other mental game variable.


You have to know what you do, what your physical keys are, and then you have to believe, not hope, that what you are going to do will work.  This is probably even truer for spare shots, than it is for your initial shot.

7.  You should have some form of visualization in effect on every single shot.


Just a reminder here, visualization is not necessarily visual in nature.  The most well recognized form of visualization is in fact to see the ball path on the lanes.  With straight ball spare shooting you can pick a line from the pin(s) back to you, and then back to the target again.


You can also use visualization to get your mind right for ball speed, ball rotation, and even skid, flip, and roll.  You do not really have to tell your body what to do to achieve these things.  If they are in your already practiced arsenal of skills, you simply have to see it happening in your mind’s eye, have perhaps one physical key that creates the ball motion, and then trust yourself to execute what you have seen.


The third kind of visualization has to do with your body.  You can know the feeling ahead of time of a perfect push-away, steady and smooth approach, or leveraged release.  You can pick any feeling in the body, use your mind as a time machine, and let yourself unfold with the physical part of your visualized experience.


Again, very importantly in visualization, you tell your body what to do, not how to do it.  The mind is like a military general issuing a command.  It gives one general order.  It does not go to all the fingers and toes (the corporals and privates) to make sure that they are obeying properly.

8.  Roll every single shot with mental and physical authority.

Make a decision about where you are going to play the lanes, including on your spare shots, and then put away any doubts you have about whether or not your decision was a good one.  You are probably better off being completely committed, even if you have the wrong ball or line, than you are having the perfect ball and line, but not having total faith in it.


Clarity about what you intend to do, commitment to follow through with it, and the willingness to adjust ball, line, or body, based on what you learn is the essence of this principle.  All things stem from this kind of decision-making command post.

Written by Dr. Dean Hinitz – The Mind Game – ©Bowling This Month Magazine (used by permission)
Source material and quote drawn from Rotella, B., The Golfer’s Mind, Free Press, New York.