I have bowled on many many different TEAMS over my 30 plus years of bowling, and one thing always rings true in my mind. League Bowling is a TEAM Sport, not an individual competition. Now granted some bowlers will say, well there are Brackets, and Individual Awards, and High Average Awards and such which all have, in some cases, significant value and are certainly Individual Competition within the realm of League play. However I will say it again … “LEAGUE BOWLING IS A TEAM SPORT”. If you disagree ask your TEAMMATES next time out if they care about how much money you make in Brackets, or if they care that you have the League High Game, Series, or Average. The answer would be a resounding NO. So when you’re considering the dynamics of TEAM Bowling I implore you to consider the following;
It is not always better to put together a TEAM of the Highest Possible Averages. Granted a TEAM with the higher average does have a slight mathematical advantage depending on the Percentage of Handicap used in your league which can vary depending on the League and the Handicap Structure (Generally Speaking if a League uses 90% of 230 the TEAM that averages 1000 has a 5 Pin advantage over the TEAM that Averages 950 when everyone bowls their average). However, the best TEAMS are not always those with the highest averages. The best TEAMS are those that interact well together and have an ability to keep Teammates focused on the task at hand when things are not necessarily going well. When your TEAM loses it is not one person’s fault, you “Win as a TEAM and lose as a TEAM”, period. Sometimes when you have a TEAM of Higher Averages, egos tend to get in the way. Or the Brackets or Individual accolades get in the way of what the TEAM is trying to accomplish, this almost always leads to a TEAM failure. I once bowled with a gentleman who on the very last night of bowling we were bowling for the League Championship, I need 2 Strikes in the tenth frame of the final game to win the League, but I would have also beat my Teammate in 6 Brackets and the High Game Pot, observers actually witnessed this bowler routing against me. (We Won) But, needless to say after that day I did not bowl with that person ever again, and I instituted a new rule on all of my TEAMS, if I am Alive with a Teammate the final Game of a Bracket, we split it ALWAYS. I do this with all of my teammates regardless of their average, or what I feel my chances of beating them are. This promotes the TEAM Atmosphere for all of us, everyone on all of my TEAMS know and understand the meaning of TEAM. AS the old saying goes there is no “I” in TEAM.
Now with that being said here are some tips for being and becoming a better teammate.
1) Remember “WIN as a TEAM, LOSE as a TEAM”, when you win it is not because one bowler bowled good, when you lose it is not because one bowler bowled poorly or missed an important spare in the 10th frame. You can go back and find many instances throughout the game whether you won or lost, where there were contributions to the outcome by all of the bowlers on that TEAM.
2) Always have encouraging words for your Teammates, regardless on what’s going on. Maybe your ahead but somebody is having a rough game, something like “Don’t worry about it, we’ve got your back this game, try to find it for the next game”, or maybe you’re behind and need a spark, something like “hey guys lets have a good frame this frame and see if we can cut down this lead”. Bottom line here is it is all about being POSITIVE, Keep in mind your actions and facial expressions speak louder than your words. Slamming a towel when a teammate misses a crucial spare speaks volumes.
3) Don’t scoreboard watch – what I mean by this is that you can only control yourself and not what other TEAMS are doing who may be ahead or close to you in the League Standings. Scoreboard watching only puts added pressure on yourself and your teammates to perform at a higher level. Your teammates will not appreciate this added pressure. I say the good teammate has put enough pressure on themselves to bowl well without the added pressure of what other TEAMS might be doing.
4) Don’t Scoreboard Watch (Part 2) – Your teammates don’t care who you have in the Brackets, or the side pot, or whatever individual things you got going on that particular night. And when they see you looking around to see who you’ve got and how their bowling it sends a clear message to your teammates, you care more about that then the TEAM. This will not sit well with your teammates.
5) Maintain Focus – Your teammates will appreciate you being at the lanes when it is your turn to bowl, they will also appreciate you staying in the vicinity of your lanes, with your TEAM, rather than always being off socializing with other league members all night long. You have made a commitment to a TEAM, that commitment is not only for a season, it is for each and every night you are bowling with that TEAM. Now I am not saying you can’t socialize during bowling, just don’t do it all night long, be there for your TEAM.
6) Try Your BEST Always – A true teammate is never going to fault you for bowling bad. All I ever ask from my teammates is that they give 100% effort 100% of the time, I expect it from myself, I also expect from my Teammates. Your teammates expect the same from you. If they don’t then they are not the teammates you want to surround yourself with. Bottom Line – NEVER GIVE UP no matter how far behind you might be.
In closing, being a good teammate will give your TEAM a better chance of winning, after all I doubt anyone is trying to lose. Your comments, responses, and opinions are encouraged and welcome. Thank You for reading the Bowler 2 Bowler Blog.