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Thread: Nerves.

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    Default Nerves.


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    Does anyone else suffer with nerves? I'm practice I'm quite a decent bowler, but every-time I'm in a match my bowling goes to pot. I lose weight mostly, not green. While in practice I can get the bowl to leave my hand smoothly, in a match they can splay all over.

    None of the matches are life or death, so apart from drugs, has anyone had this, and gotten over it? Can they offer any help please?

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    As with the post on the other thread about routine - I find that to be particularly helpful.

    I make a point in my routine to take my time and take a couple of deep breaths which hopefully means that I step on the mat nicely relaxed. Also thinking about it as " this is just another bowl - I have played hundreds like it" can help take away the match stress.
    Commonwealth Games Technical Official - Glasgow 2014 - now ExUmpire and non ITO.

    Please note any opinions stated now that I no longer have any official status are my own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richardhb View Post
    Does anyone else suffer with nerves? I'm practice I'm quite a decent bowler, but every-time I'm in a match my bowling goes to pot. I lose weight mostly, not green. While in practice I can get the bowl to leave my hand smoothly, in a match they can splay all over.

    None of the matches are life or death, so apart from drugs, has anyone had this, and gotten over it? Can they offer any help please?
    My first thought is you are on the mat holding you breath,fatal if you have tension,do you practice on your own? Practice with someone else that will help to create a more realistic situation,the first thing which starts to fail under tension is follow through, try to make sure at the finish of your delivery your skip can seethe palm of your hand, that will ensure follow through and should eliminate loss of distance, hope this helps ,wouldlove somefeedback, whatever happens
    No Grey Areas

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    A bit late replying apologies, I come from a different sport that required even more nerve control than bowls. I always found that concentrating on minutiae helped a lot, so concentrate on everything except eventual outcomes, ie carefully wipe bowl ,feet placement, look at the grass, clouds make a couple of deep breaths a part of your prep but dont over do them because you will become dizzy.Relax your bowling hand, arm visualise the bowl finishing where you want it and then let your subconcious take over the delivery, it knows what you want to achieve .If you develop a pre routine like this during practice it will only take seconds and practice and games will become the same.It's thinking about letting team mates or yourself down that does the damage so by filling your mind with positive thoughts as mentioned there will be no room negetive ones.

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    Oddly enough my experience is the opposite to the original poster - rubbish in practice but much better in matches. The way I look at it is that when I play in friendly roll ups for example it doesn't really matter how I perform but in matches I would be letting my teammates down if I play badly. It's all a question of concentration for me.

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    Can't offer any advice as I'm the same. Really great in practice sessions but not in matches or comps as nerves come into play and fnd myself bowling short. So frustrating!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray1915 View Post
    Can't offer any advice as I'm the same. Really great in practice sessions but not in matches or comps as nerves come into play and fnd myself bowling short. So frustrating!
    That is where having the same routine can help a lot - the actual delivery then feels the same whether you are playing a bounce game or a club final.

    Watch most sports and the top guys are similar in that they all have their routine. Golfers go through the same address process, penalty takers (rugby and football) all have their own routine etc. The idea is to let the mental focus go from the idea into the process. You don't think about "what if I'm short", "what happens if I hit that bowl" or anything like that. You are simply going through the process and let your body get on with the delivery. Once you get to a certain level of performance, your subconscious and body are actually pretty good at doing the action IF YOU LET THEM (that is where most people have the issue).

    What I find works for me is the following:
    1) decide what I want to play at the head
    2) walk up the green at a steady pace (no rush)
    3) when I get to the mat end, pick up the bowl, and set it in my hand.
    4) while stepping on to the mat check bias and take a reasonably deep slow breath
    5) get my feet in the right alignment with shoulders facing the delivery line
    6) raise my hand to waist height, check bias again (tip the bowl about 20 deg to check).
    7) take another breath
    start delivery

    Sounds a lot but I reckon the entire process from reaching the mat takes about 10 secs. Once I have left the head, I don't think about any of the options only the shot I have decided on.

    Watch a top golfer play a tournament. They have the EXACT same routine whether they are playing their first shot from the first tee at the start of 4 rounds as they have coming up the last fairway with a "pressure" shot to set them up for a win.

    Other people find that a very short routine works - I tried it and it didn't for me. Find what works for you to get you a relaxed release of the bowl.
    Last edited by EdinburghExUmp; 23-03-2018 at 11:51 AM.
    Commonwealth Games Technical Official - Glasgow 2014 - now ExUmpire and non ITO.

    Please note any opinions stated now that I no longer have any official status are my own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray1915 View Post
    Can't offer any advice as I'm the same. Really great in practice sessions but not in matches or comps as nerves come into play and fnd myself bowling short. So frustrating!
    What ever elseyou do dont hold your breath,breath out as you bowl and you willbe relaxed
    No Grey Areas

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    Wickey has already put it quite nicely, but I'll share with you something that you may or may not believe.

    I'm a generally anxious person to the point of quite severe disability. It is a small miracle that I am able to play bowls at all, but I do. At first, I was as you described. Brilliant in practice, rubbish when it counted. Slowly things started to click as I acclimatized to each new level, but whenever I would be promoted or reach a new stage of competition, I would choke, badly. I was getting there, bit by bit, but still not quite to a the level I wanted to be. I'm still not there, but something did happen to me that has forever changed my outlook on the game.

    On the way to a state championship, my bowls dropped out of my bag, ran maybe 200m down several steep hills and shattered. I was forced to use my extremely wide set that I had put aside for the time being. I gave up any ambition of doing well, fully expecting to get flogged. I found the whole incident hilarious and went to games laughing about it. I managed to reach the semi final of the singles, beating 2 much favored state players on the way before succumbing to fatigue and crashing out. At this point, I lost all faith in my ability, as well as all trust in my bowls, knowing I was at a severe disadvantage having to take almost twice the grass of most players. For some reason that I won't get into (it involves a very esoteric explanation), this was the key. I went on to win the club singles and regional singles, finished runner up in the state champion of champions, got promoted to skip, went on to be a part of a team that won their first premier league pennant in like 30 years. During this time, I had no self belief, no expectation of winning and stopped practicing altogether.

    I'm not suggesting that you should have no confidence or to stop practicing. I believe the key is in handling the expectation of success and the pressure you put on yourself to perform. In my case, this pressure was extreme, and as soon as I gave up, I was able to reach some of the goals that had eluded me.

    What I'm saying is, pretty much give up on the idea that you can control the outcome of a game. So much is down to luck, a gust of wind or good result. Whatever will be will be, essentially. Whether you are going to win or lose, whatever happens, happens, and there is not much you can do about it. Even in the worst mental circumstances, you can eek out a win, and even when you are playing unbelievably well, you may loose. There is a lot more luck in the game than most people are willing to admit. Learn to laugh at it, good or bad, and remove any pressure from yourself regarding outcome.

    This works for me, it may not work for others, and I suspect most would probably think I'm a fool for even suggesting it, take it for what it is worth

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    Quote Originally Posted by CamGriff View Post
    Wickey has already put it quite nicely, but I'll share with you something that you may or may not believe.

    I'm a generally anxious person to the point of quite severe disability. It is a small miracle that I am able to play bowls at all, but I do. At first, I was as you described. Brilliant in practice, rubbish when it counted. Slowly things started to click as I acclimatized to each new level, but whenever I would be promoted or reach a new stage of competition, I would choke, badly. I was getting there, bit by bit, but still not quite to a the level I wanted to be. I'm still not there, but something did happen to me that has forever changed my outlook on the game.

    On the way to a state championship, my bowls dropped out of my bag, ran maybe 200m down several steep hills and shattered. I was forced to use my extremely wide set that I had put aside for the time being. I gave up any ambition of doing well, fully expecting to get flogged. I found the whole incident hilarious and went to games laughing about it. I managed to reach the semi final of the singles, beating 2 much favored state players on the way before succumbing to fatigue and crashing out. At this point, I lost all faith in my ability, as well as all trust in my bowls, knowing I was at a severe disadvantage having to take almost twice the grass of most players. For some reason that I won't get into (it involves a very esoteric explanation), this was the key. I went on to win the club singles and regional singles, finished runner up in the state champion of champions, got promoted to skip, went on to be a part of a team that won their first premier league pennant in like 30 years. During this time, I had no self belief, no expectation of winning and stopped practicing altogether.

    I'm not suggesting that you should have no confidence or to stop practicing. I believe the key is in handling the expectation of success and the pressure you put on yourself to perform. In my case, this pressure was extreme, and as soon as I gave up, I was able to reach some of the goals that had eluded me.

    What I'm saying is, pretty much give up on the idea that you can control the outcome of a game. So much is down to luck, a gust of wind or good result. Whatever will be will be, essentially. Whether you are going to win or lose, whatever happens, happens, and there is not much you can do about it. Even in the worst mental circumstances, you can eek out a win, and even when you are playing unbelievably well, you may loose. There is a lot more luck in the game than most people are willing to admit. Learn to laugh at it, good or bad, and remove any pressure from yourself regarding outcome.

    This works for me, it may not work for others, and I suspect most would probably think I'm a fool for even suggesting it, take it for what it is worth
    Brilliant post. Thanks CamGriff.

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