One of the best feelings, or worst, is when you hit that wave of good - or bad - scores. I know I can tend to get lazy on practice when everything is going right; and tend to aimlessly practice when everything is going wrong. Today I want to focus on the top of the wave, the big scores, the times you can’t seem to do wrong.
Have you ever had a point where you were throwing the lights out night after night in league? Do you tend to practice more or less? If that answer is not more, I think you should reconsider.
Everyone has had it before, potentially many times. “The Streak” is a sought after result by many. The ability to go out on the lanes and be 50+ pins over average every series for a week or longer. I’ve been blessed with this multiple times throughout my life. I’m currently in one, having shot 700+ for the last 4 of 5 series I’ve bowled in leagues. This coming from someone with a composite average of 219, not counting the leagues I sub in.
The biggest problem I run into when I hit these streaks is that I stop practicing. Whether it be a superstition that I will “lose my streak” or “waste my good games” or something as simple as I don’t see myself doing poorly so I don’t seek to improve things, it can always be a killer. I’ve been making it my priority to practice more when I’m performing well because there is usually something I am doing that I usually don’t that is working and I want to cement that into my game. Anything from a simple release change to a timing difference that isn’t usual could be the missing link from coming out of a slump or just performing on average.
One of the best options I have found when I am on a good run is to not break my pattern. Something in that pattern is going well and the key is to find it and run with it! If I changed my practice times or started working on something new in my approach, I will keep working on that and see if that is where the boost is coming from. I think it is very important to find that ONE thing that is working and solidify it into your game. Once it becomes second nature, it is time to move on to the next thing.
One Day (Change) at a Time
A mistake I sometimes fall into is wanting to change too much, too fast. It is difficult to work on multiple changes at once or even in a short period of time. I’ve been told time and again to focus on one thing at a time. I sincerely think that’s a good decision and will be making it a part of my practices going forward. While it might not feel like too much work, it is difficult to tune yourself into that specific change or changes that you are seeking to make.
A few weeks ago, I started working on slowing down and cutting the tug out of my swing. I made this choice knowing my game and understand they are mostly connected to each other. However, it became difficult to keep my attention on my speed while also looking to have a weaker grip towards the release point. I ended up choosing to focus on my grip. The benefit of working on only one thing actually slowed my speed just a bit while I was at it. Sometimes making one change can lead to others working out without being focused on.
Essentially, practice, then practice some more, then keep practicing. Even if you have thrown a 900 series, you should keep practicing. I can’t think of a bowler who ever averaged 300. Some of the best bowlers in the game are bowling and practicing around the clock, that’s why they are the best. Never let up on practicing, push yourself to keep going. When even the best in the world are still putting in practice almost daily, that tells me I need to work harder. You can’t become better without putting the work in.
If you are “riding the wave” right now, congratulations! It is such an amazing feeling and to get that experience is very fortunate. Just remember that this wave could become your normal with enough work. Keep up the great bowling!