Your First Bowling Tournament?

Get rid of those jitters and what to look for at your first tournament.

Are you looking to expand your bowling experience into tournaments!?

This is super fun! This is a complete disaster of a decision! What am I doing here? These are some of the things you can be thinking as you are going through your first bowling tournament. Lets take a look at a few of the things that you will run into while getting through the tournament.

Jitters leading up to the tournament before it even has started. There is this innate thing to all of us that wants to exceed expectations and get better. Which can stress some of us out to the max!

So, some of the things you can try and do to help with jitters are if you are into music, then listening to music can help calm yourself. We try to sit down at our lane and prep our bowling balls and thinking of which one we should try to start with and then our progression. This helped us stay focused on the ball and the oil condition on the lane. Anything else was just noise and needed to be blocked out.

Problem with wanting to exceed expectations and feel like you are getting better, tournaments are offering a tougher condition for you to bowl on and it is harder to know your progressions. Also there are other bowlers moving and trying different things and you are moving pairs after each game generally. So, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay lined up and score well to exceed your expectations. But Do you, stay calm and work through what you are seeing.

Now you'll want to show up at least a half hour early before the tournament begins to give yourself enough preparation time as needed. Check ins will happen an hour before the tournament. Showing up early will give you time to work through any extra jitters and taking your time to become familiar with the bowling alley hosting the tournament. Also look for where other bowlers are that might be useful to watch as the tournament goes on for progressions and sanity checks.

Once you have checked in with the tournament host, generally there will be an offering of Pots or Brackets. These are a way to try and make some extra money while at the tournament and add some spice to your life. After this has been completed, this will be the best time to grab your bowling balls and bring them to the lane you were assigned when checking in.

Begin your own mental preparation once the bowling balls are brought to your lane. Use any Abralon pads you may feel you need at this time to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance on the oil pattern in front of you. You can't change the surface of a bowling ball after competition has started. Take your time thinking of how your thumb is fitting. Make sure all of your tape is on and fitting well before practice begins.

Test the approaches and how sticky or slippery they are. You might be able to adjust your shoe soles to help combat at an issue with the approaches.

15 - 10 minutes after the tournament start time is generally reserved for practice. During this time, its up to the house/tournament on if people are getting 2 balls or 1 ball per practice attempt. Some places prefer only having 1 ball per person, while others like to get their 2 balls of practice. Use this time to test COMFORTABLE lines and see ball reaction.

Now that you are through practice, its tournament time! Stay cool and reserve the attitude. Having a calm mind will help you stay slow and work through your own progressions.

After each game, depending on the tournament, you will need to report any high scores for pots. Depending on the tournament, after each game you might need to move a pair of lanes to the right or left or possibly even skip a pair either direction. This can confuse some of the most avid bowlers.

In some tournaments, there is qualifying rounds to start and then after maybe 3 games, they will cut to a certain threshold that the tournament director has posted/stated. This will continue to happen until they work there way to the final match.

Once the tournament is complete or you have missed a cutline, you'll want to check with the tournament host about any Pots, Brackets or tournament prize money that you may have won.

If you are in the Midwest of the United States, then check out this post about scratch tournaments!