A routine is the process you go through in preparation for completing a task. We all have every day tasks that we do routinely. Many times we go through these tasks without any thought at all. Sports performance relies on routines for consistency and mental preparation.
In bowling, a bowler should focus on the process from the time they go to the ball return through the setup of the stance. This is known as a positive routine or a pre-shot routine. Examples of tasks a bowler goes through in a positive routine are:
- Looking at the pins to see if they are on spot
- Using a puff ball or stay dry bag on your hand to absorb moisture
- Picking up the ball the same way each time
- Wiping the ball with a towel
- Making all decisions about where to stand where to focus on the lane and any adjustments that need to be made before stepping up on the approach.
- Lining up on the approach with your feet the same way
- Setting your body position and positioning the ball the same way with each shot
- Visualizing your shot in your mind prior to starting your approach
- Taking a deep breath before you bowl
Your positive routine is personal. You will need to practice your routine so it becomes a habit. When your routine becomes a habit, it will distract negative thoughts and things that happen around you.
A routine prepares the body to perform in a routine manner. When the body performs in a routine manner, the physical act of performing will become more consistent. Bowling is all about being able to repeat shots or performing consistently with each delivery. When you deliver the ball consistently you are able to make better decisions about changing lane conditions.
Examples of routines in other sports:
- A basketball player that prepares to shoot a free shot will bounce the basketball several times before taking a shot
- A baseball player will swing a bat a couple times before the pitch
- A tennis player will bounce the ball several times before serving to an opponent
As you watch professional athletes, pay attention to the process they go through in their routines. Some routines may be quirky, humorous or even strange.