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Thread: Nerves.

  1. #11
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    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    I can absolutely recommend this book. I've read quite a number of sports psychology books and essentially, most of them say the same thing, just in slightly different ways. However, this one says a lot that is very different and I very much recommend it. It definitely cuts to the core of nerves and encourages you to see the competitive matches as a playing field, rather than a competitive arena. Worth a read
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mindset-Men...rds=908149287X

  2. #12
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    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Just to add to my previous post, I believe nerves are not something you can overcome or rid yourself of. I don't believe they are to be seen as a 'bad' thing, and therefore not something you should try to stop yourself from having. This may sound contradictory to what you experience, but I will try to explain

    When you feel the 'nerves' (anxiety, tension, call it whatever), your concentration is effected, your mind races, your extremities shake and you lose some physical control over your delivery, yes. The main issue is how it effects your mental state and ability to focus and make good decisions. Once it starts, its basically impossible to stop or control, and trying to do so compounds that fact because you are then focusing on your anxiety. Instead, let yourself be anxious, shake, let your mind race and try to find the funny side. Resign yourself to the fact that you are rattled and do not attempt to control how you are feeling. The match may already be lost at this point, or perhaps you face a critical moment, perhaps you are on the verge of victory and feel yourself choking. Whatever, it happens. Even to the very best, they all feel the pressure and everyone has a breaking point. Don't beat yourself up about it.

    There is something you can do before it gets to this point, however. When you feel that adrenaline rush, the heart start to pound and your body start to shake, take it as a sign you are ready for battle, rather than tell yourself you are becoming anxious and about to choke. The physical sensations produce an emotional response, and it creates a feedback loop if you don't become aware of it. Say that you have become aware of it, before the match (or during) you start to feel fearful, even sick with worry.

    At this point, you have to step outside of it, almost out of your own body and separate yourself from this feeling. This is very difficult to describe but I will try. Even now, before and during most games (even at a social bowls level) I have a surge of adrenaline, my mind begins to race and I feel it coming on. I recognize this, and allow this to occur without trying to stop it. I go into a kind of trance (this you can learn, there are many different methods), whereby I am operating on autopilot or subconscious processes. I can feel my mind still racing, my heart pounding and hands shaking as I bowl, and yet I pay it no particular attention other than to be aware of it and let it be. My decision making is then done by visualization, not a linguistic thought process. I don't question the decision I have made, whether it be wrong or right, although I do sometimes change that decision before I play the shot, again through instinct and not through over analysis. It is as though you partition your awareness into a separate space, almost like blocking out all thoughts from your mind, though you are still aware that they are there and that your mind is racing.

    This has worked fantastically well for me in singles play, with mixed results still in 4's. When I skip, I tend to care a lot (too much) about what my team thinks should I play a bad bowl or not take their suggestion and play the shot they want. 9 times out of 10, i will go with what the lead, 2 or 3 suggest. When I play their shot and fail, or make a mistake, I feel a deep embarrassment and can start to play horrendously. I can live with my own mistakes in singles just fine, but to make a mistake that lets down a team (who you feel are judging you as a skip, and lets be honest, we all do that) is something I haven't mastered yet. Having to care about the thoughts and feelings of a team that is trying to play with you obviously makes the whole 'autopilot' method hard to implement. When I have played well, it has been when I have essentially 'ignored' what has been suggested and done my own thing and it having worked. This doesn't mean I have done the opposite, but have effectively tuned them out altogether and coincidentally come to same conclusion as to the shot to play. Obviously, I don't think this is the ideal situation, and I never wanted to be the skip that didn't listen to his team. There is some kind of compromise or understanding of the way my mind works (and therefore the way I play) that has to be reached, I feel, in order for me to continue to perform as a skip.

    This raises an interesting side point that I will share. I found that as a 2 or 3, I would ALWAYS try to play exactly the shot I was asked, even when it didn't feel right to me. Sometimes this results in an unexpectedly good bowl ('good call, skip') or a horrendous one that I wish I could have played my way. I found my best success by interpreting the result the skip wanted, rather than trying to play the exact weight. When asked for a metre of weight, in a situation to sit a bowl out or change the head, I'll use between 2-3, whatever allows me to take the best line that guarantees a result and has the best probability or making contact with something. Of course it depends on the situation, but I feel that in a lot of circumstance, the weight used is not as important as the result. This is how I call shots when I skip. Some people would argue that this is naive or imprecise, but I feel it gets the best out of people (like myself) that feel enormous pressure when asked to perform an EXACT shot, rather than use their own intuition.

  3. #13
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    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    I have agoraphobia so getting to each match is a real pain for me intially, but as soon as i'm on that green everything changes. When i focus and stick to my routine, there isn't one bit of nerves. It's definitely all in the routine, taking your time and trusting your hand to deliver the perfect wood.

    My first season was last year and on my final match of the season I managed to get all three woods to surround the jack (literally like an inch away from it) and what i learnt that season was to:


    1. Be loose, if you feel yourself tensing up then give your feet and hands a shake to get rid of all that tension.
    2. Don't hold your breath on delivery, breathe naturally.
    3. Formulate a routine and stick with it every time.
    4. Take your time when walking down the green, when grabbing your wood, when walking up to the mat and when you go to deliver your wood.
    5. When you deliver your wood, be sure to always look at it go down the green as you know what to correct next time and as this kind of works as meditation i find. A lot players i play against tend to lob there wood down the green and turn there backs. Once oyu have finished your delivery, just stand there wherever you finished delivering and watch the bowl come to a complete stop (or nearish).


    Hopefully this helps!

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