Article Contents

  • 1. Breathwork
    • 1.1. The value of a deep breath
    • 1.2. Box breathing
    • 1.3. Energizing breathwork
    • 1.4. Practicing your breathwork
  • 2. Visualization
    • 2.1. Using a script
    • 2.2. Getting started
    • 2.3. Types of visualization
  • 3. Self-talk
  • 4. The pre-shot routine
    • 4.1. It’s okay to be distracted temporarily
    • 4.2. Enter the pre-shot routine
  • 5. Focus
    • 5.1. Focus and energy
    • 5.2. Where your focus should be
    • 5.3. Practicing your focus
  • 6. Reframing
    • 6.1. A lane breakdown
    • 6.2. Leaving a split
  • 7. Final thoughts

Bowling’s mental game can begin to feel complicated when you start thinking about all the intricacies of sport psychology. That said, anything that is complex can be simplified into basic steps and tools. For example, when working to improve your physical game, you can break it down into separate elements like footwork, body position, or swing plane. The elements of the mental game can be broken down similarly.

In this article, we’ll refer to mental game elements as your mental toolkit and review some of the basic tools you can develop to build a well-rounded mental game. We’ll start with three of the basic building blocks of mental tools: breathwork, visualization, and self-talk.


There is a difference between breathwork and breathing. We all know how to breathe; it’s instinctual. Like most things related to the mental game, breathwork is about being intentional. It’s about using our breathing to help improve our performance. Most importantly, breathing can be used to energize you or relax you in moments of stress.

The value of a deep breath

At this point, most people know that a nice, deep breath can help shift one’s mindset. When under stress, breathing tends to become shallow and rushed. A nice, slow breath will send signals to your brain that everything is okay while also providing more oxygen for your body.

When you’re feeling a bit anxious or overly excited, there’s a tendency for everything to speed up, including your tempo and swing during the approach. As a result, your shotmaking and ball reaction can suffer. Slowing down your breathing can help bring your tempo back to normal and improve your execution.

Box breathing

A slightly more advanced breathwork technique is what’s called a “box breath.” This technique is used by all manner of groups that need to perform under …

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