The Master Plan with Fred Borden
Let’s talk about the Master Plan. If you understand exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve, be it a major change or simply a fine-tuning, a plan will make it much easier to implement that change in your game. Once your plan is in place, committing your time and energy to the progress of your game will become a great deal more likely.
There are several ways to analyze your game. The best way is to look at your delivery on video. With the help of a coach, you’ll be able to see the particular parts you don’t like and formulate a plan to improve. Develop specific items to improve your physical game. Due to the fact that we’re all different, you must understand what is good for you as a unique individual and develop a personalized plan accordingly.
It isn’t necessary to know everything a pro shop professional knows. What’s important is that you be thoroughly familiar with your equipment – what each ball does and when to use each piece in your “arsenal.” Matching equipment to the lane surface is what needs to concern you. You should know how much each ball hooks and for what lane conditions each ball is best suited.
Some equipment will skid all the way down the lane and some will hook as soon as it touches the lane. Some balls hook really hard and some hardly at all. It’s your job to understand each piece of equipment. Work with your pro shop operator to develop this knowledge and understanding. You’ll have to work with your pro shop professional to develop at least 1 to 6 (maybe as many as 12) bowling balls in a very systematic step-by-step progression.
“Playing lanes” is easier than people make it out to be. In playing lanes you’re observing and then adjusting to the length the ball travels before it changes direction and how hard it moves right to left for a right-handed player or left to right for a left-handed player.
There are several adjustments you can make to play lanes. This vital area is something that needs to be developed with your coach.
Because all of us have different rotation and speed, you need to develop a plan to fit your style. Knowledge and experience are the keys to your success. By learning to alter your release, speed and/or loft, choosing the proper ball for the condition (oil pattern), and playing the angle that fits your game, you’re on your way to becoming an elite bowler.
Now that we’ve talked about the physical game, equipment, and lane play, let’s turn to the mental game. We feel that the blueprint we’re outlining for you is crucial as a guide to optimum performance. Yogi Berra once observed that baseball is “50% physical and 90% mental.” Although mathematicians might quibble, Yogi expressed an important truth in his unique style – that is, psychological factors make a critical difference in how you perform. This is as valid for bowling as it is for baseball – or any other sport or, for that matter, not to mention the other complex human performances that involve a learned skill (e.g., surgery, flying a plane, or acting).
We want you to learn and apply psychological skills in detail to help you develop as an athlete. We want you to master essential techniques and learn where, when, and how to implement them. Our mental game Master Plan is divided into five phases:
1. Training or “Pre-Day” – This involves what you do leading up to
the day of competition.
2. Outside the Center – What’s covered in this first pre-game phase are activities from the time you wake up on the day of the event to the time you enter the center.
3. Inside the Center – In this second pre-game phase, what’s involved are your actions prior to the event’s start.
4. During Competition – This within-game phase covers all that you do
in the settee area and on the lanes.
5. After Competition – Now we come to the post-game period
including activities immediately after the event as well as long-term
adjustments to your performance. Using our blueprint, you can master the skills for optimum preparation and performance. Whether the competitive stressor you face concerns pressure, a poor start, or changing lane conditions, you’ll have the psychological tools essential for meeting the challenge. Through monitoring and fine-tuning, you can then hone your mental game. Our shorthand for the sequence of
mastering, monitoring, and modifying is “M-M-M.” Even if you’re an elite athlete who already knows the skills required to throw strikes and make spares, you must be mentally prepared in order to succeed.
Developing a top notch mental game requires ongoing dedication to that aim. To conquer the varied challenges of high-level competition, you need a repertoire of psychological skills. This creates a versatile ability to cope. Then you can adapt to whatever the competitive moment throws your way.
Reaching this goal calls for work comparable to any other area of your
game. Are you willing to do the work? If you’re serious about playing at an elite level, you’ll make the necessary commitment.
Physical condition is a prime factor in athletic success. The list of benefits that can be derived from conditioning include increased strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, and quickness, as well as heightened alertness, reduced anxiety, improved mood, and a greater capacity to handle stress. All of these contribute to optimum bowling performance. The right conditioning program can help you reach your potential and consistently bowl your best. Being fit can also reduce the risk and severity of injury and assist recovery if you’re injured. Finally, conditioning can contribute to your overall health – a worthwhile result in itself, in addition to influencing how well you
We use the acronym, SELF, to identify the fundamental parts of a physical conditioning program.
S is for stretching both before and after you compete or practice.
Work with a trainer or other fitness specialist to develop a plan best suited for you. S also stands for sleep. Sufficient rest is vital to physical and mental functioning.
E is or exercise, both aerobic and anaerobic. If you want to play at the highest level possible, then your body must be ready. This, too, is where you need to work with a professional to help build a plan.
L is for lifting – weight lifting. If you need to be stronger or more flexible or just keep your muscles in shape, there are different programs for different needs. Again, work with a professional at a gym or health club near you.
F is for food intake. If you’re overweight, underweight, tired, or tense, this can be related to your diet. What food do you eat prior to, during, and after competition? Our eating habits help control our body weight, nervous system, and ability to play at a high level. In other sports, they use nutritionists – so should we. If you’re truly committed to playing your best, you can and will improve with this type of help.
(This information is an excerpt from the book, “The Handbook Of Bowling Psychology” by Dr. Eric Lasser, Fred Borden, and Jeri Edwards.)