Fast Forward One Year

November 17, 2022

I'm taking a few moments to review what's gone on in the year since I last wrote something in this space.

The Short Version

The highlights seem to be these:

Tom Paterson taking me under his wing. He helped me see more clearly how to use my own wisdom to my advantage. He also told me directly that my mechanics were good enough and it was time to focus on the mental side of the game. This began my fascination with how to develop confidence.

Mark Miller's "You're making this way too complicated" comment, which snapped me to attention at a time when I felt like I was spinning plates and not quite treading water. Even though he didn't give me any particular suggestion what to do, his comment reached me at a time when I could really hear it. This began my fascination with how to simplify my approach.

The 2022 Open Nationals, at which I bowled quite poorly and nearly quit the competitive game altogether. Lynn Howell sat me down on playoff day, gave me "the talk", and the next day instead of flying home, I was back at Plaza Bowl, working on developing aggressiveness. I felt the difference immediately and had renewed hope for breaking through to the next level of performance.

The 2022 TPC at Sherwood, where I missed the cut by only 60, where I averaged over 250 for 16 games for the first time ever in front of other people, and where I had my first qualifying shift without a single moment of fear or anxiety. (I saved all that for my match against Adam Weber. Next time.) Not even maiming myself on a coat hook was going to stop me from breaking through. I finally saw that I could engineer a good performance by letting it happen rather than trying to force it to happen.

"Just breathe." Simple enough, Mark?! Thanks.

What's next? The best year of my bowling career. 260? We'll see.