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Mental Adaptability Can Take Your Game To The Next Level

“Be Adaptable”

Adaptability is an indispensable feature of a top grade mental game. Developing a versatile repertoire of psychological skills enables you to apply a well-practiced technique to cope with any situation encountered during competition.

Your pre-shot routine is designed to optimally prepare you to execute. Consistency is essential. Yet, you must be ready to make some changes as the need arises. The following are suggestions regarding some possible adaptations during a game:
• Use thought stopping whenever negative self-talk or images occur.
• Except for additional deep breaths as needed, your routine on the approach should typically remain set. However, if you become aware of a particular muscle group that’s tight, you can instantly relax it with progressive muscle relaxation.
• At the ball return, consider changing the concentration cue if it’s ineffective or introducing such a cue if you’re distracted and haven’t been using one.
• The ball path will, of course, change in your visualization at the ball return according to the game circumstance.
• Also at the ball return, you may choose to fit the affirmation to the specific situation you face (e.g., “I’m a very accurate spare shooter” or “I make all my spares” or “I always convert”). If you haven’t been using affirmations, you may want to add one, for instance, as a
confidence booster in the clutch (e.g., “I bowl great in the tenth frame” or “The tenth frame is mine” or “I own the tenth frame”).
• The settee is where you have the most time and opportunity to flexibly apply psychological skills. Use your selection of mastered techniques to create the concentration, optimism, and poise associated with elite performance.

During competition, decisions regarding mental game adjustments, like the ones just mentioned, are made, in the vast majority of cases, in the settee area. So, there are really two types of strategies developed in this “office” area: technique/equipment moves related to lane conditions and psychological skill moves related to your inner reactions.

(This information is an excerpt from the book, “The Handbook of Bowling
Psychology” by Dr. Eric Lasser, Fred Borden, and Jeri Edwards. For more
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