Bowling Psychology

You may not realise it but there is quite a lot of psychology involved during the bowling game especially in the more important matches.  Actions may be conscious or unconscious, planned or unplanned.  No matter what,  it may be affecting your game without you knowing.

Quite a lot has been published on psychology of bowling and other sports.  A good bowling article is Psychology in Lawn Bowls (Rob Judson, 2002) and is worth a read to find out about yourself and your opponents.  The points below seem not to be directly covered the Judson article.  Fortunately many of them do not happen very often but be aware…

1.  The opposition may tell you they are under par, not bowling well or have problems.  Focus on the match, ignore these comments or they may reduce your resolve.  

2.  The opposition may move or talk on purpose at critical times while you have the mat. If this happens, stop, step back from the mat and compose yourself. If it keeps happening then let  the person know.

3.  Bowlers may make out all of their bowls are good even though they are clearly not.  Although it is always good to make positive comments about their bowlers bowls, this may be misleading if you are not aware.

4.  Opposing skips and 3's may stand in the head even though it is not their turn and influence the bowlers line or weight.  It is possible that any bowls behind and rink markers may be concealed and the bowler may not be aware of this.

5.  The opposition may claim more shots than they actually have and reduce your own shot count.  Take your time and be careful to count and measure all shots.  Make sure the opponents do not move any bowls before you agree.  Do not be rushed by your opponent.

6.  Claiming optimistic and misleading shots or situations during the game can also affect the outcome of the end and afterthoughts by yourself may affect you and your fellow bowlers for the remainder of the game.  Listen only to the comments of your own skip and 3.

7.  Following the bowl up the green some way and waiting for the bowl to stop is acceptable although it can be time wasting and be some time before the bowler returns back behind the mat.   Best to be patient and keep off the mat until the bowler has returned and make the best of the time to plan your shot.  Some bowlers are able to focus and bowl while the opposition is walking back.

8.  Bad temper, bullying, agression and unfriendliness by the opposition may occur when the game is not going their way or they deem to psychologically control the game.  Seemingly small or contestible events may trigger reponses out of proportion.  You may not be aware that this happens but if it does then step back from the behavior and do not allow it to affect you or your bowling.  If the behaviour is extreme then report it to your skip/umpire/association dependant upon the severity.  If the events are extreme then it may be better to terminate the game.

9.  New bowlers and also bowlers unfamiliar with new competitions, bowling clubs and bowlers will be affected by these new environments.  Minimise their effects by familiarising yourself beforehand in detail by talking to more knowledgable bowlers and looking up the competition, bowling club and players much of which can be found on the www and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc.

10.  Character changes occur quite often in competitive games.  Friendly bowlers can become quite and uncommunicative or sometimes aggressive with no sense of humour.  Be aware and prepared, this often happens.

11.  Expect some of the better bowlers to become annoyed if they are not winning the game or even an end.  Taken no notice, everyone looses at times, sometimes unexpectedly.

12.  It is important to keep the moral of your team high, not only on the green but at all other times.  Keep all comments positive, always look for positive aspects even if the game is not going as well as you hoped.  Do not make negative comments about bowlers in your team to other team members or anyone else.

Clear your mind and concentrate on your bowling.
Bowling Psychology

Camberley Bowling Club
Southwell Park Road,  Camberley,  Surrey,  GU15 3QQ
Founded 1928
Affiliated to BE, SCBA & SCWBA