THEY might not know it yet, but all of the bowlers who paraded in the greens during the 2015 African States Tournament (AST) staged at Lusaka Bowling Club and Central Sports recently have something in common with some of the world’s best athletes.
Seeing them perform, one would attest to the fact that the common factor in the local bowlers and those around the globe is the hunger and thirst for victory.
Despite facing serious financial glitches in the build-up to the AST which saw the Zambia Bowling Association (ZBA) constantly adjust its budget, the country finally managed to stage the tournament for the first time.
Though Team Zambia could have achieved better than they did, the bowlers’ overall performance was not bad at all.
Women bowlers scooped gold in the pairs’ category but finished third overall on 21 points and walked away with bronze, behind winners South Africa and runners up Botswana who had 36 and 22 points respectively.
However, there are various points that were spotted from Zambia’s fair showing at the championship which saw the country finish third to scoop bronze as South Africans went away with gold.
While bowling in Zambia is predominantly viewed as a game for the aged, in other parts of the world, it is a lucrative sport taken up by various age groups ranging from children to the elderly.
But regardless of who participates in bowling, it is important to take fitness seriously because that is a cornerstone of good performance that can culminate in positive results.
Bowlers are athletes who should the holistic approach toward raising their fitness levels to attain success at competitive level.
According to the Oxford dictionary, fitness is defined as the ability to perform the sport at the required level. If the bowler can bowl the best they can throughout the whole day, without any limitations and without showing any signs of wearing out, then they could be considered fit for bowling.
Possessing immense strength and flexibility is directly proportional to the amount of output of an athlete in a competition.
The science of sports provides that being physically fit reduces fatigue and enables an athlete to stay fresh during long periods of action. With this reality at play, it is important that our bowlers embrace fitness as a priority to attain maximum performance during competitions.
In some tournaments as was the case with the AST, bowlers are required to compete over several consecutive days and the bowling delivery may be repeated hundreds of times in a session both during training and actual competition.
Fatigue takes its toll under such circumstances which in turn has a negative impact on performance in the later part of the competition both physically and psychologically, resulting in loss of concentration and in most cases, frustration.
Though not necessarily documented, there is always a threshold of fitness level for every type of sport, be it football, tennis, golf or badminton. For athletes to attain success, they must be reached some level in fitness to perform better.
Strength endurance is the ability to maintain strength contractions over a period of time. The repetitive action of the bowling delivery must be produced consistently over time and if the strength levels decrease due to fatigue, then performance also changes.
Many of the other aspects of fitness may not necessarily enhance bowling achievement but if fitness and strength endurance are poor, then performance may be impaired and success could be a farfetched dream.
It is therefore important for bowlers to determine where the points of weaknesses and strengths lie in order to come up with a workable plan to improve their fitness levels.
Doing every physical activity is beneficial for health. Improvements in fitness require bowlers to overload their bodies with physical activities so that adaptation can occur.
Therefore, only those pushing themselves above the usual demand will make serious improvements in their fitness levels.
Above all, skill is the most important attribute for a bowler, and the psychological factors of coping with pressure situations, motivation and self confidence are also seen as the most important factors for
success in bowling.
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