North American Bowling News

Editorial: Momentum in Bowling -- What Is It?

Is there really such a thing as 'momentum' in the field of athletics? Maybe. If we look up the word 'momentum' in the dictionary, we learn that in physics, momentum is the product of the mass and velocity of an object. To put it simply, momentum is a moving force in a given direction.

But perhaps momentum in sports is best redefined as 'confidence' when it comes to bowling--or any sport that involves human activity, for that matter. To take it a step further...we could call it confidence to the point where self-doubt is moved to the back of a person's mind. When a player comes to the realization that s/he can 'get in there and fight' and perform when the chips are down, then confidence can then take a front seat in a person's game.

Most recently, two glowing examples mentioned earlier in this publication of confidence reigning supreme are in the cases of the WNDA's Susan Phillips, and the DPBA's Mark Callahan. Phillips has been a top performer for many years, but visiting the winner's circle was elusive for her since her first win back in the 1980s, until the 2011 Town Hall tour stop in August. Susan won that event, and subsequently, confidence was turned loose, and then she followed up by once again earning the top seeding in the next tourney, and then came out with an unbeatable effort of 193 to win again.

One of the DPBA's most solid performers, Mark Callahan, followed the same pattern. Mark won the Labor Day tour event, and then waded through a sea of pro duckpinners the very next month to become top seed once again in the next event, and nearly won back-to-back titles himself, only thwarted by a dramatic finish from Bernie Hipkins to snatch a 1-pin victory.

We can address past cases of this same phenomena. Back in May, Mindy Thomas won on the WNDA in Hagerstown and then finished as runner-up in the next event. A couple of years back, Paul Grohs won at Hagerstown on the DPBA, and then was nosed out in the final in the following month at Meadowbrook. There have been numerous cases of this type of thing happening in the PBA as well. The infamous match in which Del Ballard Jr. doubled against Pete Weber in the 10th, only to carelessly let the match slip away with a gutter ball on the count, was followed up the ensuing week with Ballard again making the final, and this time coming through at the end of the game to win.

In the case of Ballard, we must not forget to combine concentration with confidence in the formula for success. Back when tennis legend Jimmy Connors was playing at the top of his game, on several occasions when asked to assess why things were going well for him, oftentimes his reply was "I'm seeing the ball real well right now...", meaning that he's focusing and concentrating on his target.

So in summation, we ask, "What's the secret for 'repeating' on the pro tour, or during any hot streak?" In all of the above scenarios, the odds are just too astronomical to where you could blame 'coincidence' for back-to-back wins, or near wins. The conclusion must be just a simple case of concentration and confidence.

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