Mental game tips for entry-level bowlers

By Teresa Ross
USBC Coaching Specialist

You obviously want to improve as a bowler; otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this tip. But how do you know when you've actually become better? It's easy if you set goals.

There are many different ways you can go about setting goals. Since you are at the beginning of your development as a bowler, I would suggest making your goals score-related or tying them to a part of your physical game.

If you set score-related goals, you will judge your performance by whether or not you are able to shoot a particular score or fall within a specific score range. For instance, if your high game is 120, your goal should be to beat 120 or at least to shoot no lower than 100. If you don't want to pick a specific score, consider just focusing on trying to get one more strike or spare per game, which is likely to make your scores increase anyway.

Physical-game goals should be paired with easy-to-track elements of your physical game. Maybe you have trouble controlling your arm swing during delivery. If that's the case, make it your goal to bring your arm straight back and straight through to your target. If you lack balance at the foul line, try to concentrate on staying down and balanced all the way until the ball hits the pins.

Just remember that your goals, whatever they might be, need to be reachable. It's nice to aim high, but setting goals you have no realistic chance of attaining will do nothing but set you up for failure and frustration.