How does intensity affect your focus on the lanes?


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Last week I wrote a little about how more experienced bowlers and athletes in other sports seem to cope with the potential stress of a high stakes moments during the specific competitions. I shared a little about how professionals in various sports seem to simply perform without even showing much emotion at all. Things just seem to come a little easier and their ability to repeat shot after shot or play after play seems to come almost effortlessly at times.

But what about when the intensity level does increase?

Does the degree of intensity have an effect on how well you really focus on the lanes?

The answer to this question is as individualized as a person’s eye glass prescription.

In his book, The Inside Edge, renowned sports psychologist, Dr. Peter Jensen explains that he feels extreme degrees of intensity can have a negative effect on one’s performance, not only by being too intense, but also by not raising the intensity when the need arises.

Jensen believes that as intensity increases, the level of focus decreases.

Again, however, this is not a one size fits all theory and some of his examples should make us appreciative of this fact.

Take for instance high stress occupations like law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency management.

We all want people in these positions to be able to maintain a high level of focus in their work even when the stress and intensity levels are shooting through the roof.

Most of us aren’t blessed to be able to maintain that sense of composure under the bright lights, whether literally or figuratively speaking.

I’ve shared before that prior to shooting my first perfect game, the 8th frame used to seem like the invisible wall I just couldn’t conquer, and I know why.

Once I crossed the half-way mark, the adrenaline started pumping a little faster, and so did my delivery.

When I started realizing my delivery was speeding up following a nice string of opening strikes, I would think about it (big mistake there!) and slow down too much, which would result in high hits and likely splits.

When I finally learned to manage my internal emotions and maintain a more consistent psyche, I was able to finally crack the 300 code, but more importantly, I saw my average consistently stay over 200 for a few seasons, which my ultimate goal in the first place.

On the local scene, David Ange apparently found the pocket early and often while tossing the overall top series in the house with a 240-659 during the Monday Night Trio league.

In addition to his opening 240 game, he also closed with a 238.

Donald Spencer claimed the only other 600 set last Monday with his 224-223-605. David Tripp and Stephen Marshall added nice games as well with 245 and 235 scores respectively.

Crystal Owens topped the ladies from Monday Night Trio and maintained the top ladies’ average (156) in the league with her 192-532.

She was joined on the ladies’ side of the sheet by Patsy Sanders (181-464), Beth Marshall (167 game) and Katie Barefoot (451).

Teammates Chris Farrell and Lake Krehel paced the men of Thursday Night Quartet with sets of 245-615 and 245-608 respectively. John Turner’s 223-553 wrapped up the men’s top scores from last Thursday night.

Brittney Gaumond paced the ladies last Thursday with her 197-532 to go along with Amie Wallace’s 153-442 and Patsy Sanders’ 155-424.

Saturday morning Crazy 8 Bumpers saw Tristan Hardison (158) and Elijah Clewis (146) lead the guys while Cheyanne Hardison (141) and Scarlett Manderson (75) paced the girls.

The Crazy 8 Youth bowlers continued their record setting summer season Saturday with Ben Hawkins recording his third 300 game of the summer as part of a 786 series. Ben is averaging 250 during the summer session.

Bryce Hawkins followed his older brother with a 286-735 of his own to move his average to 233. Christopher Vinson closed out the guy’s top scores with a 241-681 to hold his average at 235.

The Youth league ladies were again led by Lindsay Porter who set personal high scores of 205-526, Elizabeth Scaff (157-429), and Madison Elliott (99-228).

Until next week, good luck and good bowling.