Bowling is viewed by most as a laid back, bun activity that you do with your friends or family while hanging out. And it certainly can be just that. This is why it appeals to the masses and virtually everybody enjoys going bowling, even when they are terrible at it.
There is, however, a completely different way to experience bowling. Those who have bowled in tournaments or leagues, especially league championships that draw a crowd, understand that bowling can be an intense, pressure packed sport that requires significant focus and power over the mind. Sounds and movements coming from any number of sources can be very distracting. Your thoughts can also get out of control as you imagine missing the simple spare you are about to attempt to pick up.
Don’t worry though, we have a way for you to overcome all of these mind games your head plays with you, weather caused by external sources or internal ones. What I’m about to suggest to you is something I accidentally discovered. I had a league championship match Saturday morning, so Friday night I wanted to get some throws in. By the way, you can click here if you are in the market for bowling equipment.
Because of work, I wasn’t able to get to the lanes until about 10 p.m. Although it wasn’t terribly crowded, there was disco music playing quite loudly that was driving me crazy. I happened to have brought some earphones with me, so I plugged into my phone and started playing my playlist. The problem was that most of the songs weren’t loud enough to block out the external music that was blasting (and still driving me nuts).
I sat down and created a playlist. I got all of the loudest songs I had and put them in this playlist. We’re talking Guns N Roses, Aerosmith, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Disturbed, and so on. Except for the few seconds in between songs, my music was now the only music I could hear. For that matter, it was the only noise I could hear. No bowling balls hitting the floor, no pins crashing, no talking or laughing, nothing. It was strange.
What I found myself doing subconsciously was tuning the music playing in my earphones out. It wasn’t like bowling in silence. I could still hear my music, but I wasn’t paying any attention to it. It was there, but I was detached from it. But because it was there, my mind was creating negative or crazy thoughts. The music was occupying my mind, but not my focus. I was able to completely concentrate on the shots I was making for the first time that I could remember.
The next morning, I bowled okay in the match. I wasn’t great, but I wasn’t bad. I was just okay (we did end up winning though). But from then on I always remembered to bring my loud music playlist and earphones so I could blast music when I practiced. After practicing this way for a while, I noticed an incredible improvement in my ability to focus and filter out noises and other distractions, especially in match and tournament play. Although the music wasn’t there, my mind was conditioned to having it there whenever I’d strap up my bowling shoes and hit the lanes. So it’s like my mind detached from me when I’d throw a ball, giving me the ability to focus on hitting whatever shot was in front of me.
This newfound ability to focus transformed my game. I realized greater improvement over that year or so than I had experienced the previous 3 years. I still to this day have that playlist (though I’ve added a significant number of songs to it since I first created it) of loud, hard rock and heavy metal songs. And every time I practice, I blast that playlist through earphones that make it feel and seem as though I am bowling completely alone. When I’m playing in situations where I can’t have my earphones in, my mind still behaves as if I have them in and am blasting music through them.
If you want to improve your bowling game and your mind strength, make a playlist of loud music. I highly recommend the bands I listed earlier! Make it a habit to take earphones with you every time you practice and blast that playlist while you practice. You will notice the improvement in your ability to focus on your next shot very quickly. It will take longer for this focus to manifest itself when you don’t have the earphones in, but if you stick with it, you’ll absolutely get there just as I did.