Most of us have heard the saying “practice makes perfect”. This is partially true. In order to improve you do have to practice at least a little bit. Although it is more important to practice the right things. When I practice I will set a goal. When I achieve that goal, I’m done. There have been times when I only practice for 20 minutes because I achieved my goal for that practice session. I will break up my practice goals into different parts and practice on just one thing which makes it much easier to focus and improve.
Physical Game- When practicing the physical game, I am not concerned about the score at all. I see way too many bowlers worrying about the results rather than the process. If the process is correct, the results will happen. I mostly work on tempo and timing when working on my physical game.
Lane Play- Another key to becoming a better bowler is learning to play different parts of the lane. I will take two different balls and start around the first (5 board) arrow. When I throw three strikes with each ball from the first arrow, I will then move to the second (10 board) arrow and do the same thing. Then again moving to third (15 board) arrow and again trying to throw three strikes with each of the balls.
Spares- This one is one of the easier practice days because I only bring in one ball which is my plastic balls for spares. My “spare” day of practice might be the most valuable time spent on the lanes. It takes a lot of pressure of the first ball knowing that if I do leave a ten pin, I have confidence I’m going to make the spare. Now I know I don’t have to throw a triple because I missed a spare. And there are days where the scoring pace is low and spares are at a premium. Walter Ray Williams Jr is prime example of this. He doesn’t have to throw a 6 bagger every game to keep up with the big strike balls because he hardly ever misses a spare. To keep things interesting I try to pick off just the 7 pin and 10 pin off a full rack. When I can do this five times in a row, my spare game is in good shape. And if you’re lucky enough to have machines and scorers that can set up certain spare combinations, use it!
Mental Game- Mental game can be practiced anywhere. It just takes a quiet place and some mental imagery. Put yourself in your favorite place. Someplace where there is peace and happiness. Remember what that feels like so that if you are struggling during a particular night of bowling or at a tournament, bring yourself to that place. It will have a nice calming effect and allow you to clear your head and focus on your process for the next shot. For me, when I’m getting ready for a big tournament, I try to remember past successes and what my mindset was and what it felt like at that time. I also remind myself that if I’ve done it before, I can easily do it again.
So there you have it. You don’t have to go out and practice for hours. Break your practice session into smaller parts making it easier to manage. Set a goal for yourself for that particular practice session. When you accomplish that goal, you are finished. Don’t just throw balls just to throw balls. Don’t be score oriented, be process oriented. And most of all have fun with it and enjoy the challenge.
If you have any other questions about a practice plan or any topics you would like me to cover, please email me at [email protected]