As I’ve said many times in this column, I want to be a better and smarter bowler. Whether it be making the appropriate adjustments, whether that be when to switch bowling balls or marks on the lane, I’ve been very focused on improving and I have been!

Up until last week, when I shot 485, I was putting up some good scores. No 600’s but consistent and above average, but when I shot that 485, it seemed to take some of the wind out of my sails. Not that I don’t expect to have bad nights, but just that I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. The whole night drove me nuts until I realized what the main problem was, I was taking everything WAY to serious. I let my desire to improve completely take over what I was doing. I was living and dying with every shot and when I did poorly the other week, it killed my confidence. My mental game was in poor shape and I was worried it wasn’t going to get any better any time soon. What did I do to remedy this situation?? I gave myself a break, from all of it!

What do I mean by that, from the moment I finished last weeks article until I went to league this week, I didn’t visit a single bowling site (not even the very site I write for) or really talk much about bowling (my wife loved it, me? Not so much). It gave my mind time to wander to other things and not dwell on what I considered a poor league night. I didn’t practice any days to avoid making my mental state worse. Did it work, yes it did!! I bounced back from a poor week to shoot a 618 (202, 160, 256) which included my 3rd highest game of the season. To say my mental break worked would be an understatement!

Now, I’m not going to pretend my other night went perfect, a 160 game will tell you it wasn’t, but I was able to work through that and make the necessary adjustment to still put up a quality series. The 256 (9/ 9/ 9/ 8/ 8 strikes in a row) was obviously the high note but even that included me second guessing myself on my mark before the strikes started showing up. It was my 5th 600 series of the season and probably the one of the most satisfying. Can’t really say why it was so satisfying, but it was! That is one reason why bowling is so much fun, score is only a number, how it makes you feel is all that matters.

Updated stats going into the last 2 weeks:
-Beginning of the night average: 182.36
-End of the night average: 183.20
-Spare conversion percentage: 76.5% (13/17) Splits 2 (1/2)
-Single pin spare conversion percentage: 87.5% (7/8)
-Make able spare percentage: 80.0% (12/15)
-Strike percentage on the night: 45.5% (15)

As you can see, I pick up spares, I shoot in the 600’s! Amazing how those 2 work together! Now I do want to put out one plea, if you are a bowl company and read my article, I need a spare ball! It is the one ball that I don’t have that I need more than any other. If you can help me with this, shoot me a email at [email protected]. Any help would be great!!

My mental break has been great and still continuing to some degree. I’m participating in a 9 pin tournament this evening that more than anything else, will be fun. Something different and with people I really enjoy bowling with, should be fun.

If I learned anything from this week, don’t take yourself to serious. Bowling is just a game, no matter how serious a person can take it. I will continue to improve and work towards the goal of a 200+ average but I will only get there if I realize it’s a progression and not something that happens overnight. I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at right now and finishing the season with a 185 average is still something that I can accomplish. Motivation is there, now I just have to perform on the lanes.

Learned a lot about myself this week as a bowler which will only help me going forward. Only 2 weeks remain of the 2011/12 winter league season, have to earn it now! Until next time… Keep on Rolling!