Keeping your cool

February 2014 column edition titled           ‘…keeping your cool’ 

Coaching a bowler for a specific event 

Since returning from the Victorian region championships in Corowa mid January 2014, it was again noticeable that we bowlers, from club to elite level, lose our confidence, or composure, not our relevant skill level. 

I chose the words ‘relevant skill level’ as club bowlers have a limited level of skill compared to the elite bowler. Might I say the damn club bowler seems to have an inflated view of their skill. Ask any club selector. 

The players I (choose to) coach know their various levels of skill and know how to apply it in events as they to bring that recall or rehearsed mindset from the effective training we have done together. 

This paraphrased article was read to a national bowls squad attending a workshop. It relates to a bowler, in international cricket (written by a former bowler, an international cricketer). 

“… a bowler you know you are in trouble as you see the ball move straight after you release it. The little man in your head says you are in trouble and that little man knows his stuff.  He knows about your technical issues, your lack of preparation, and your being a confidence bowler.

…Bowlers off the boil do not seem to have internal coping mechanisms when things are going wrong. He needs to find the keys to his bowling when it is going well. And to have important cue words that help him focus on things he needs to bowl at his peak. 

But where do you get confidence ! Simple. Preparation in lead in games, supervised training, and pre and post delivery routines.

….it intrigues me that the consensus is that the game is 80% mental and 20% physical at the top level, but in terms of time spent in coaching, the breakdown is generally the opposite. When you dip in form, it’s the psyche and heart that have changed.” 

That insight into cricket is as easily applicable to bowls. 

BA research a few years back showed we only deliver a bowl 9% of the time we are on the green. That is your technical skill. 

Bowlers with aspirations to be better can start hunting around within or beyond our sport to learn how to develop their tactical, mental and communication skills. Forget playing games, start training your skills. 

Note: my bowls book ‘Winning becomes you’ is now available from Henselite and other bowls shops.

Lachlan Tighe, February 2014