There is no I in team. By Alan Brizee © March 24, 2001, rev. Mar. 2020
NOTE: This article was written for a scratch league, but can also apply to handicapped leagues. If you bowl in a league, you’re probably will be on a team as very few singles leagues exist. And if bowling on a team, I would think you’d want to have as much fun over the entire season which includes winning as many game possible. Good news for those of you just starting out. You’ll see why I have continued to bowl for 50 years and the reason to keep coming back each season. It’s all about having fun and enjoying the competition. It’s these two things that have happened over the 50 years and one reason why I have accomplished many great memories and experiences that helped me win championships. Don’t let the stumbles of a few bad occurrences make you want to quit. My mom told me to never quit and I came close a few times. I’ve thanked her for her insight.
Having some the best bowlers in the league without teamwork, doesn't guarantee making the Roll-Offs. I know that some of you could care less about your team. You’re only worried about brackets and eliminators, because of the extra money you can make. I also know that there are a few bowlers who think they're helping the team by just showing up. Some of you are only happy when you're winning matches in the brackets and the team is winning. But when your team is losing, you’re not around encouraging them to do better. You check out the bracket board or bs’ing with others when there still is a chance to make the Roll-Offs. Some are quick to blame their teammates for losing the game just because of an open in the 9th or 10th frame. We don’t bowl two frame games. Games are ten frames and what happens even in the 2nd frame can dictate who wins. No matter what you may think, or think you know, I’m here to tell most of you again, it takes a team to win and it takes a team to lose. I’m not asking my teammates to be cheerleaders, but I would like to see all my teammates put effort into winning as a team or make an effort to motivate team members to shoot better the next game. Just a small amount of inspiration and motivation can go a long way towards the team’s goal of making the Roll-Offs.
No matter what your individual goals are, isn’t it better when your team is winning and members are having more fun? If your team isn’t have fun and winning, whose fault is, it if you’re gloomy? Everyone knows that losing sucks, but it is a part of sports that MUST happen. Sports should NEVER be just about winning. Those of you who show up for the competition, have a far better chance of winning than those who show up because they want to win. Those that accept a loss and learn from it, can compete without the added pressure of having to win. If you’re on a team that doesn’t act like a team, my suggestion is to find another team. Life is too short to be frustrated by teammates who only think it’s about them. Most of my 50 years of bowling, I have been on teams that enjoyed the competition and claimed the championship, because of the fun we had as a team. I also noticed that most teams that display having fun, are bowling for the championship. Only three teams out of my 50 years, have I managed to struggle through the season, hoping the team chemistry would change and make bowling with them about having fun. If you show up and you’re not going to have fun, why the hell are you even showing up? The great thing about sports is that, for those three hours you’re away from home, you can forget about personal and work problems, unwind and have fun competing as a team. I’ll now get off my soapbox J.
What is a team? It is supposed to be a group working to achieve a collective goal. I have seen teams that never reached their potential due to certain factors. Some of the factors include teammates fighting among themselves, dwelling on missed opportunities, bowlers not accepting their role while some individuals worrying more about their individual performances than how their team is doing. Some teams with just decent bowlers have become the team to beat and won Championships because of their teamwork. And I can say that I was on a team that most thought, we didn’t stand a chance to win. "Teammates must believe in each other. And they must motivate their members to achieve great accomplishments." One bowler cannot make a team but one bowler can make a team better. It is what each member adds to the team that determines how the team will perform during critical situations. The more mentally prepared each member is, the better the team will perform overall. A team that is not as talented can beat a better team if they're prepared for the challenge and keep a positive attitude. Discuss with your team when either lane changes, so everyone will be prepared to make any adjustments that may need to be made. Even the high average on the team can learn something from the lowest average on the team and help the team win.
TEAM should mean Together Everyone Achieves More. In the Traveling Masters league, it should stand for Traveling Energized and Motivated. It should not be four individuals bowling on a team, but rather a team bowling as a single unit. How the single unit performs will determine how others respect the team. One thing that a lot of teams forget about is having fun. When you're having fun, winning is easier because you take the pressure out of the equation. Pressure situations make the conscious mind get in the way when making good shots. For a team to be competitive, they must bond together, to where each member share equally when winning or losing. "The team player knows that it doesn't matter who gets the credit as long as the job gets done. If the job gets done, the credit will come." When a member is having a bad game, it is up to the remainder of the team to pick up the shortfall, if they want to win. The attitude of each individual determines the direction in which your team goes. A bad attitude by just one member can destroy a team. All teams and individuals will have periods of bad breaks or slumps. Those teams that retain a more positive outlook, will get through these times faster and learn from them. Motivation and inspiration during the entire season can help your team win the championship.
Teams that bond together, should set a common goal, maintain a positive team identity, keep a good working relationship, respect and trust each other, share their positive energy, have unity, communicate among each other and above all, show team pride. "The best team doesn't always win. The team that can work together will have more chances to win.” Goals should be both short term and long term, with objectives being obtainable and within your skill level. Obtaining these goals will keep the team in a positive state. Motivation is a tool that most bowlers lose sight of. Those that inspire their team, may see their team turn the corner and achieve greatness. A good working relationship means that each bowler, is always working on improving their game to improve their team as well. You should show respect for your teammates, by not getting down on them and trusting them to make good shots, when the game is on the line. Encouraging each other will create a positive atmosphere and unify the team. Communication will keep everybody on the same page and help focus on the task on hand. Team pride is showing enthusiasm and motivation to keep the fun times going and will help the team bounce back quicker after a loss.
Promoting positive interaction will add confidence to each member. You must decide as a group that you want to excel. Talk with your teammates to find out how to play the conditions. Compliment and encourage each other for trying. Share your strengths so they can improve their game. All bowlers will be off their game one night, so ask a teammate what you could do better. Listening to your teammates for tips and suggestions could take your game to the next level. "To accept good advice from others increases one's own ability." Even a bowler with a lower average could offer valuable information. You must NEVER put down a teammate no matter what the circumstance is. Give constructive analysis of what happened, so they can learn from it and less likely to be repeated. Getting along with each other will create a winning atmosphere and supporting them when making steps in the right direction. Teammates must accept individual differences as not everyone will bowl at the same level and some may have had little experience at the scratch level. Include everyone, as it is the team that determines its fate. Show others you care by recalling positive experiences to forget any negatives. Never reflect on negatives. Don't forget to have fun on your way. And last but certainly not least, only you can take responsibility for yourself, to do whatever you can to improve your game and help the team as much as you can. This could be a practice season before each match or taking lessons to get your game to the next level. If each bowler steps up to the next level, it will be harder for a team to get the better of you.
A winning bowling team: NEVER QUITS and usually has the better mental game. Members will also encourage each other by thinking positive. They are willing to rise to the occasion because they enjoy performing as a team. They will set short term and long-term goals. They will be in control of their emotions, which will help them focus on how to achieve their goals. They will win as a team and lose as a team. They overcome negatives and turn them into positives. They learn from their mistakes so that they try not to repeat them. They know how to use their strengths to their advantage to overcome any weakness. They are usually faster to adapt to the changing and challenging lane conditions. They know that bad breaks are part of the game and are able to wait them out until good breaks come their way. The team is skillful at getting through difficult situations. They are more prepared for challenges no matter how easy the opposing team looks, as they know that any team can beat any team on a given day. Members never apologizes for poor performance as they know that you can't be at your best all the time and hope the team can make up the difference. Winning teams RAP. Review the past, Analyze the present and Plan the future.
A championship bowling team has a common goal, commitment, complementary roles, communication, constructive conflict, cohesion and a credible captain. The team will have a singular common goal like winning your division, but should have weekly goals like winning 26 points tonight. The bowlers should understand that their individual goals must fit within the framework of the team's goals. Without commitment from all members, your chances of the championship are next to nothing. If you're not working on your game to help improve the team, someone else is. Complementary roles include sharing your knowledge so your team can benefit from it, helping a teammate get lined in or keep them focused on the team's goal. Communication could be that the lanes are breaking down and an adjustment might be needed. Let your team know when you will miss as early as possible and remind them again. I hate it when a bowler misses and didn't tell his team. Teams with conflict among members keep it under control during competition. Respecting each other will help in the cohesion of the team. The captain should make lineup changes for the better of the team. Sometimes, changing the lineup is exactly the best option to motivate the team.
Variables for team unity include stability, role acceptance (Lineup), team size, interaction, outcome, involvement and the type of bowlers."The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." -Babe Ruth. Stability means showing up almost every night. If every member misses 3 to 4 weeks, that could be a third of the season, not having the regular team bowling together. The sooner the members have accepted their role or actually the position in the line-up, the faster the team can bond together. I know that certain bowlers don't like the leadoff spot. Having five rotate on a four member team or a bowler that will miss a lot of weeks due to work, could affect unity due to chances of conflict. Interaction comes about discussing getting lined in, changing lane conditions, giving helpful tips or when changing the line-up is in order. Even when the team wins or loses, the way each member perceives it can affect team unity. A team that starts losing can start blaming each other for why they loss. Involvement is important if the team is to become better. Involvement is what members will do, to help the team reach their goals. It could be getting a new ball, putting in a little more practice, taking lessons from a certified coach and working to improve your mental game. If you're not working on improving your game to help the team, why are you a part of the team? "I am proud of all my trophies, but truthfully when I was playing, I never thought of the records. I just tried to do all I possibly could to help the team win." -Roy Campanella. "Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates." -Magic Johnson. The type of bowlers can dictate how well the team competes. If All 4 bowlers throw down the boards, this can be a huge advantage helping each other getting lined in. They can also open up an area on the lane so they can play off each other to score higher. Outside influences can distract a bowler from having a good night. Try to put them out of your mind and should not be discussed with teammates until after competition is over as it could distract them.
The line-up for the Traveling Masters, since match play is used, is very important to the chemistry of the team. Obviously the most important position, out of the four, is the anchor spot. The anchor bowler may not be your best bowler, but should be able to handle the pressure of those close games the best. The anchor should also be a decent spare shooter, as you don't want to give away games due to missing spares in the final 2 frames. The leadoff bowlers should be a good spare shooter and one that can throw a double in the 10th when needed. The bowler bowling 2nd will most likely be the low average on the team. The 3rd bowler will be important during close games as they can add pressure to he opponents with a double in the 10thframe. The question is should a team change line-ups to possibly win more points? The team has to weigh the pros and the cons. I will never back down from a challenge because I love the challenge. I didn't become as good as I am by backing down from tough matches. Just because I bowl against their weakest player, there is no guarantee that I will win all 6 points. If a set line-up is consistently winning, why change it. You are giving away points by having your lowest average bowler up against their highest average could get you more points but only if the other 3 bowlers on the team go out there and win those points.
No matter what level you are, invest some time and maybe money to help your team reach their goals. Practice more, take some lessens or become more mentally prepared. Check out my other articles, the mental library and some very good mental game web sites on the links page.
This is my motivation and inspirational page. My Fabulous 50. The following are messages to help you get motivated and inspired to perform at your best. Some are equations while a few are acronyms to get the point across. Some are what I wrote while the rest are summarized take-offs on what athletes and others have said. If you’re serious about competing and don’t have some reminders, where you’ll see them every day, why not? These reminders tell your brain what you want to accomplish. I have “focus” on my mirror to remind me to give 100% on every shot. After a few weeks of just average scores, I needed better concentration and I wrote it down, so I could focus better on every shot. Seven of the next eight sessions were above average, so the reminder did its job and made competing more fun. Check out my photos and you’ll see motivation in just changing the callender. Only have one or two where you’ll see them and change them every month to keep them fresh. I have them in categories, to help you with areas of your game that may need a little more help. Who said we all couldn’t need a little help?
1. Bowling is about managing mistakes. Mistakes happen because no one averages 300. Some 300s happen with one mistake. Put mistakes behind you so they don’t destroy your chance at your goals.
2. Every day is another day to make a difference and inspire others. All great athletes take every opportunity to make the most from all opportunities.
3. Great accomplishments can occur after the 4th step. Plan promises, prepare purposefully, proceed positively and persistently pursue.
4. Winners sets goals, commits to goals, pursues goals, keep goals in sight and plan how to get there. It’s about achieving short range objectives to reach long range dreams.
5. NEVER quit, NEVER surrender.
6. P – N = SD. Positive skills minus your negative attitude equal a self-defeating atmosphere. This seldom happens to athletes with a positive attitude.
7. M = MM. Motivation makes miraculous memories.
8. The two best mind frames in sports, optimism and positivism.
9. Winners shouldn’t brag, build themselves up or put others down. They let their results, speak for them.
10. Your vision for success must be 20/20. Focus on the situation, so it can begin to happen.
11. Concentration to some athletes, is the only road to success. It’s the ability to eliminate everything, except what you’re trying to accomplish.
12. Concentration during competition comes from having a dependable pre shot routine. If you have to remind yourself to concentrate, chances are you won’t.
13. F > P: The more fun you’re having will significantly reduce the pressure you’ll feel.
14. Admit to yourself you choked, so you can work on what went wrong and handle it better the next time.
15. Some want their opponents to do badly. I want them to do well so they will remember you more when you beat them at their best. This will put more pressure on them in the future.
16. Adjustments can spark the momentum for that come from behind victory. Practice making adjustments for your come from behind situation.
17. Adjustments are educated guesses and can make athletes educated champions.
18. C+ C+ C= C: Commitment plus composure plus clarity equals confidence.
19. Confidence conditions courageous characters.
20. When you put your mind to it and are confident, you’ll have inside you, the tools to make magic happen.
21. The amount you practice, could be a direct proportion of the success you will achieve.
22. Physical practice prepares you for endurance. Mental practice prepares you for the completion.
23. Putting in the most work makes you stronger and smarter for future competitions.
24. Winning takes preparation. Prepare by practicing, performing, paying dues, having passion, having persistence, having a perspective and setting goals.
25. C < W < C > W: Competing is fun. Winning a match is more fun. Championships are the most fun. Work is needed to win championships. Put in the work and many fun times are ahead.
26. Happiness helps humans with high hopes achieve high ranks.
27. Dedicate sports with excellence, to make success within your reach.
28. Getting up every time you fall, will get up one step closer to success.
29. Motivation is the driving force for champions to achieve their greatest accomplishments.
30. It is worth the risk to compete, to improve, to set goals and to show others, that the risks while climbing to the top of the mountain, was worth it.
31. Accepting challenges will gain valuable experiences. These experiences will lead to having more chances at victory. These victories will lead to having success.
32. Some days, the challenge may be just getting up in the morning. Challenge yourself to get up and make it a great day.
33. Only after a commitment to excellence, can an athlete climb the ladder to success.
34. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. Some of the G.O.A.T.’s have proved them wrong.
35. Acknowledge your mistakes to come back smarter tomorrow.
36. Don’t be a What if? athlete, be a Next time … athlete.
37. What do champions have in common? Confidence, consistency, concentration, challenge themselves, commitment, changing strategies, calm attitude, common goals, coaches and competitiveness.
38. Champions with multiple championships happen because of persistence. The determination to win a second time makes those moments memorable.
39. Do retakes on your retrospective. Review, re-evaluate, rework, re-execute and reward.
40. The zone is where preparation meets opportunity. You’ll be relaxed, confident, focused, effortless, automatic, having fun and always in control.
41. Winners will get something out of every situation. They think and act positive, want to learn, are early, think about solutions, concentrate on what to do, are mentally tough, do more such as practice or lessens, are consistent, are prepared, hustle, are aggressive, know their limitations, accept adversity, share and help others
42. We all know that miracles will happen, the question is, if you’ll make them happen.
43. The seven abilities of a complete athlete: Strong mental game, good physical game, an inner drive, has leadership skills, is resourceful, has the courage to climb the mountain and respects their opponents.
44. Success happens by acquiring victories, learning from defeats, accepting challenges and making a commitment to excellence.
45. Winners are successful because, once they begin, they do ordinary things extraordinary well, have extraordinary determination, have good judgement due to experience, makes commitments, not afraid to lose and never quits.
46. The elite 8 success skills of athletes: Focus during competition, creative thinking, result analysis, composure, concentration, emotional power, energizing and consistency.
47. Successful teams know how to maximum utilization of individual abilities to reach their goal.
48. Every team is beatable in a one game match. Your team must show them that are not going to win.
49. Happiness shared with teammates is the greatest achievement.
50. The greatest benefits of old age are experience and knowledge. These will be the weapons used to defeat the ‘kids’.
Pg. 19: 7/3/20
NEXT: Bowling's current dictionary.