Dr. Debbie Crews is an Adjunct Faculty in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and sport psychology consultant at Arizona State University where she has worked with the Men’s and Women’s golf teams since 1979. She has conducted over 30 years of research on attention in sport, primarily golf, and is the Chair of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. She was the founding Editor of the International Journal of Golf Science. Her research has been published in scientific journals and in popular golf magazines as well as being featured on Scientific America Frontier and NBC Dateline. Debbie is a Master LPGA instructor, an Ellen Griffith Teaching Award Winner, and serves on the LPGA Education and Research Advisory Board. She was ranked in the Golf Digest Top 50 Women Golf Instructors and she won the Golf Magazine Best Science in Golf Award in 2001. Currently she is the CEO and Founder of Opti Brain, a feedback company for performance optimization.
How did this book come about?
Josh and Debbie are both residents of the greater Phoenix area and crossed paths a few years ago. After reading Debbie’s previous books, Josh knew she was someone who understood the mental side of sports, not only golf. Research began between the two of them on the brain activity in bowlers. Using technology from Debbie’s company, Opti Brain, they began seeing trends in bowlers’ brain activities from the most novice bowler who has never bowled, to the highest-level professionals. Debbie began studying these patterns and developing training aids and games to help bowlers not only understand their tendencies but develop better mental patterns while competing.
Josh Blanchard is a PBA Tour Champion who lives in the greater Phoenix area. Before starting his career as a professional, Josh attended Wichita State University where he not only bowled for them but gained his education in business. While at WSU, Josh began grasping how powerful the mental side of bowling really was. Josh is a USBC Certified Instructor and has his own coaching business, JB Bowling, in which he provides physical and mental bowling lessons. In his professional career, Josh has traveled to over 20 countries around the world competing at the highest level. There are stories in this book of success from bowlers overcoming mental hurdles in the sport, and stories of those who did not achieve success.
Enjoy the real-life experience that Josh brings to this book from his travels competing around the world. This book contains Research Boxes for those who like to read the data behind the scenes. The data comes from research on bowling, golf, archery, and marksmanship. Since we find similarities across these sports, we have included data from all. There are “key” concepts scattered throughout the book to emphasize important points. Lastly, there is a Story Window at the end of each chapter. They are true stories. ENJOY!
Chapter 1. The Game in a Game
What we are “doing” on the bowling lane is playing the game of bowling. Who we are “being” while we play the game of bowling we will refer to as the “game” in a game of bowling. Who we choose to “be” on any given day, at any given point in time, will determine our performance. It is imperative that we also play the “game in a game” if we want to score. The game in a game is that which surrounds the game of bowling. While we are at a bowling tournament we “do” activities that pertain to bowling approximately 1.6 hours total.
Bowling Tournament Total Time = 3.5 hours
Qualification Frames = 60 (Approx. 96 shots, 16 shots/game)
Throwing = 3 sec X 96 = 4.8 minutes
Pre-shot Routine = 7 sec X 96 = 11.2 minutes
Lane Courtesy = 10 sec X 96 = 16 minutes
Walk Back = 4 sec X 96 = 6.4 minutes
Socialize = 10 min X 6 games = 60 minutes
Total = 98.4 min (1.64 hours)
We then have 2 hrs. to “be” someone who is either going to facilitate or disrupt our performance. We have the choice!
So how do we decide who we want to be on a given day? Often, a large percentage of who we “be” is determined subconsciously or automatically. It has been estimated that we may spend as much as 70% of our day on automatic (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999). If this is true, then we participate in the round of bowling more like a conditioned robot than like a performer who regulates their state for optimal performance. Many bowlers believe that we want to perform in an automatic state and that is somewhat correct. But we don't want to play the whole 3.5 hours in an unconscious state unless we are in the zone (the zone being a unique exception). If we
are unconscious, we will simply fall into all of our old patterns and it will be unlikely that we will have an optimal experience. Furthermore, what is automatic? And once we get to automatic, do we stay there? Clearly we know that some days are more automatic than others. Singer, Lidor, & Cauraugh (1993) described five different stages of automatic. We often find experienced, high skill bowlers become too automatic and we need to reel their consciousness back in the game.
The “Game in a Game” refers to the “Game of Being.” It is your state of mind, or an awareness of who you choose to be while you are doing the game of bowling. The essence of the game of bowling is twofold: a.) to perform optimally (doing) and b.) to understand who you are when you perform optimally (being) so you can be that person by choice. The “doing” part emanates from the conscious