Improve your bowls by using your mind

Friday, 5 April 2013

 - Article by Roy Lawrence 

There is no doubt that it is essential to have a consistent delivery so that you can deliver the bowl along the line you choose and with the weight required. For some this is all there is to the game and it is assumed that by constant practice and play your game will improve.

BUT all the best Australian bowlers say using the power of your mind is at least equally important to the delivery. So these brief comments are to introduce you to how you can use your mind (that unbelievably clever mechanism we all possess) to improve your bowls.

The simplest way to describe your mind as it operates in an active situation is to understand that the brain has two parts- a Negative part and a Positive part. (In fact the mind is more complicated than this but this way allows an easier explanation).

The Negative part was developed in humans to warn us of danger whilst the Positive part is the doing part, absorbing all the information available in a split second and taking the right action to avoid the danger identified by the Negative part.

When bowling (as in all action sports) you need to understand how both parts work and to make sure the Negative part does not dominate your mind when you are putting down your bowl. Worries and fears will mean a poor bowl. But if the Positive part is operating when you bowl - Wow!

So how do you train your mind when bowling to have the Positive part of your mind controlling your action and not the Negative?

FIRST- Focus only on the things that you can control- your skill- your attitude- your match preparation and IGNORE the things you cannot eg. the weather, speed, condition of green, opponent's good shots and his luck. (Agree with your opponent when he says 'the wind got that' or 'did you see it stay out' Let him worry not you.) Be Positive when you bowl.

SECOND- Imaging - that is visualizing the shot you are going to play. In your mind see your bowl just drifting past the outside bowl and taking shot. Recall the best shot you played and then without hesitation put down the bowl (Even before you go to sleep visualize that great bowl you played so that when the pressure is on you know how to play the shot required- true!)

THIRD- Self-talk ie. the art of talking yourself into the pursuit of excellence. Self talk is your inner coach instructing and motivating you to perform. Use self-talk one-liners such as 'Slow and through'‚ 'Smooth', 'Relax'‚ “we can still win"

Comment- Some Skips (without understanding the real effect of what they are doing or saying) create a negative atmosphere. But focusing, imaging and self talk by you will overcome the Negative vibes sometimes created by the Skip and put you into a Positive frame.

Think winning and you can win, think losing and you will lose

NOTE The above explanation is my attempt to describe how to improve your bowls by using your mind better. Naturally I would be happy to amplify these ideas on a one-to-one basis.

Yours in Bowls Roy 

Roy in Action

Roy has played 1st Grade Pennants - Currently playing in Warrawee's top Pennant side in grade 4