How to handle a slump in form

Bowling News

We have previously mentioned the book written by Andy Fleming on these pages and I know that some readers went out and bought it as a result. It really is for the deep thinkers of our sport. Andy from Barnsley has now started a blog on the internet and below is an extract from an article that looks at how to combat something we all suffer from at times - a slump in form, in fact for some of us that is the norm!.

You can read the full article here along with other topics covered.

A shortened taster extract is below.

I am sure that the majority of bowlers have all experienced the situation where they turn up to the green and every bowl they deliver falls within an inch of the jack or rests alongside it. The better they bowl the more comfortable and relaxed they become, which increases their confidence in their own ability.

However, either the next day or a week or so later, for no apparent reason, they are unable to get within a metre of the jack for they are either bowling short or long. What often happens then is they start to become frustrated, agitated and try too hard. They then start to tell themselves to concentrate more and try even harder. They soon begin to overthink each delivery for they are listening to the voice of self-doubt in their head, fuelled by their overactive imagination. All of this leads to a loss of concentration and increases the likelihood of them delivering a bad bowl as they have stopped supplying their brain with the necessary information, such as the running conditions of the green, the distance of the counting bowl from the jack and what line they will deliver their bowl on. They are now worrying about each delivery and consistently deliver bowls that are way off the jack.

All of the above then begins to snowball, and if it is left unchecked, they will start convincing themselves their form has slumped and begin to doubt all aspects of their game. Their confidence will soon become extremely low, which impacts upon their concentration and overall consistency.

I am sure I am not alone in having actually experienced this first-hand. I remember how I was bowling extremely well and was rapidly improving. My confidence grew as I had full faith in my ability. While still knowing that I had a lot to learn, I really felt that I was developing as a bowler. Then without any warning, I arrived at the green one day and every bowl I delivered was either short or long. I also told myself to concentrate more. I have since realised that this actually hinders your ability to concentrate. I now realise that I was overthinking all aspects of my game and this impinged on my self-confidence. I was becoming more and more frustrated, which was impacting on my overall game. I even got to the point where I actually felt I had lost a game before I’d even delivered one bowl.

I made a conscious decision to stop what I was doing and to reflect upon my game. I asked myself the question: How could I have been bowling so well and then, for no apparent reason, started to bowl to such a low standard? I soon realised it was not my bowling, but my state of mind and how I was applying my emotional intelligence. By emotional intelligence I mean: The ability to monitor one’s own emotions, to discriminate between different emotions, to be able to label them, and then apply the emotional information to guide your thinking and behaviour.

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