Wednesday, February 27, 2013

PRO TIPS: How to stay calm under pressure

(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
You are on a 9 bagger going into the 10th frame and your knees are shaking and your heart is beating twice the normal rate. You have a chance to shoot 300, what do you do? How do you respond when you find yourself in this situation? The way you respond has a lot to do with trial and error. The most important thing is to stick to your routine and isolate each shot that you make. You cannot focus on whether or not you carry a strike, but try to remain in the same frame of mind that helped you get to that point. If you think of the penalty of not striking you will put too much pressure on yourself. Accept the fact that it is natural to feel nervous under pressure but that you must learn how to still be able to function even when you are nervous. Try to narrow your thoughts down to the one or two things that help you to make good shots.

In my case I have a tendency to muscle my armswing, so I have to focus on letting the ball drop freely into the downswing. I also try to make sure I fully extend through the shot at release point. Through trial and error the good bowlers learn how to develop a mental game plan that fits there temperament. Some people have to keep talking to others to stay loose. On the other hand some bowlers need to isolate themselves more to try to stay focused. You have to rationalize to yourself that the only thing I have control over is whether I make a good shot and beyond that I cannot control my luck. If you do not strike the world will not come to an end and you can simply try to do better next time. 

Do not become obsessed with the score but absorbed in shotmaking. I am sure that if you incorporate some of these ideas you will eventually get that 300 or surpass you highest score. 

Some Suggestions:
1. Concentrate on breathing deeply.
2. Think of something relaxing like your favorite song.
3. Stay away from negative conversation.
4. Visualize one of your best previous shots.
5. Narrow your thoughts to the one or two things that help you make good shots.
6. Keep a determined attitude that you will make the shot you need under pressure. 

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