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The Short Range Plan for Performance

Competition preparation begins before you arrive in the competitive arena. Don’t wait until you get to the bowling center to get into your routine. Set a routine for yourself that starts the night before the event. Set the guidelines for how much sleep you need, what you eat, and what you do. Once you have set this routine and find it helpful, stick with it. As said before, routine is an essential key to success.

Once you arrive at the bowling center prior to competition, continue your warm-up process. For some of you, this may include listening to a walk man or playing a handheld electronic game – whatever works for you. Start your breathing early on – don’t wait until you are on the approach in a tense situation! If you have followed your practice plan and are prepared for competition, the rest of the event should be making decisions calmly and quickly, and using your mental relaxation techniques. The mental game is the part of the game that is the key to getting you through competition. When you are in competition and your opponents have the same physical skills as you do, it is the sound mental game that will prevail the victor.

During practice, use an effective process of reading the lanes. An example could be as follows: Shoot a seven pin and a ten pin with your medium release. This tells you the amount of oil on the lane as you go across the lane. Secondly, shoot at the two pin. This is the key pin in shooting many spares. Finally, after reflecting on the 7, 10, and 2 pin shots make an educated decision about your strike shot. So, your strike shot will be your fourth shot in practice. As most of you already know, practice sessions before competition can be very limited in time. You need to use your time wisely and figure out the lane as much as possible before the scoring starts. With this method you get a good read of the lanes for strikes and spares – now you can experiment with the equipment if time permits.

Some of the questions you will be answering in practice are: Is there oil in the middle or are they dry? Is the last 10 to 15 feet hooking sharply or very little? How are the 3 areas playing (outside, track, inside)? This all starts to tell you what ball, angle, loft, speed, and release to use at that given time. Dialing into the lane is as important as how perfectly you throw the shot. More importantly, now is not the time to think of your game, but it is the time to play the lanes. Work on your game in practice. Now is the time to play your game at the highest level possible.

(This information is an excerpt from the book, “Advanced Adjustments” by Fred Borden and Jeri Edwards.)