Somewhere among the oaks of north central Texas, lives a man who goes by various names. Some call him Mick. Others call him Doc. He can often be recognized by the tag worn on his lapel, which reads, "Hello my name is HCLC Doc". He is the yoda, gandhi, and oracle of bowling wisdom. From others, I have received a fair amount of advice concerning positioning, feet, marks, aiming, follow through, angles, equipment, etc. But this Texan, whom I have never met, has given me what has been the most useful tip I have ever received. The Shaolin Master of bowling said unto me, "Just make your next shot a good one."
The statement is so simple that it almost seems stupid, but when one engages in battle with that string of words in a meditative state, you find that it will embrace you like a benevolent maternal anaconda. The meaning I have taken out of this utterance is this: Forget about everything. Forget about the shitty shot you just threw. Forget about the last game. Don't worry about whether you are going to get a 250 game. Don't worry if you have an 800 series in sight. Worry about nothing except making my next shot a good one. The rule applies equally to ten pins standing firm, to a solitary five pin, or to an 8-10 split. Armed with this mental dagger, I am now ready to finish the season with three goals in mind:
1) Make the next shot a good one. Words are meaningless if they are not practiced. My first goal is to free myself from the mind games that have plagued me, and the simplest way to do so is to just focus on making a good shot.
2) More strikes than opens- If I can tackle the mental aspect of the game, accomplishment should follow. The entire season, I have bowled roughly equivalent numbers of strikes, spares, and open frames. After 78 games, I have 272 strikes, 260 spares, and 273 open frames. For the majority of the season, I have bowled with more X's than -'s, but over the last few weeks, I have been flirting with equity. I currently stand with one more open frame than strike with only four weeks to go.
3)A 600 series. I have shot twice in the 590's, but I have yet to reach the promised land.
Now, before I am called out for contradicting myself, let me clarify. I am going to do my best to put on blinders to all other distractions. I fully intend to focus on making a good shot. I am not going to worry about the 600 series. I know that if I can simply achieve the first goal, the others will easily follow.
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