Book Review: Josh Blanchard’s ‘Bowling: Energy in Motion’

by Gianmarc Manzione 0

Brimming with pithy aphorisms such as, “Bowling is a game played on a 5-inch lane — the distance between your ears,” three-time PBA Tour champion Josh Blanchard’s new book, Bowling: Energy in Motion, tackles the mental game with co-author Dr. Debbie Crews Ketterling, who teaches in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University.

Energy in Motion avoids sports psychology clichés with illuminating definitions of concepts that many take for granted. What, for example, do we really mean when we talk of being “in the zone”? A section on the importance of optimizing what it refers to as a bowler’s “filter” asserts that, “When we are in the zone, we have an automatic filter in place that allows input which contributes to our success today.”

We hear that “fitness” is important to success in bowling, but why is that so, exactly? Because, “As one’s aerobic capacity increases, all daily tasks are performed at a lower percentage of our total capacity,” thus delaying or eliminating fatigue that drains competitors both physically and mentally.

What, exactly, is “balking”? Blanchard and Ketterling clarify: “Balking is essentially a ‘panic attack’ starting at the beginning of your approach and ending at the failure to complete the shot.”

Bowling: Energy in Motion draws upon many case studies as well as anecdotes from Blanchard’s own tour experience — both good and bad — to turn conventional wisdom on its ear, while its wealth of interactive prompts call upon the reader to practice fundamental concepts such as self-observation, envisioning success, or summoning the mindset of a champion.

Blanchard and Ketterling favor hard science over easy answers and go out of their way to guide readers on a journey of self-discovery bound to release them from nagging psychological barriers. An engaging, insightful and instructive read.

The book is available at or on Facebook under JB Bowling.

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