1 Tip to Improve Your Game (My embarrassing story!)

by | BiggerPockets.com

Recently I was invited to go bowling with a group of friends on Friday night. It’s bowling with music, drinks, and neon-lit lanes; sounds like a good time, right? Not if your average score trails that of a par golfer. I figured we’d be on teams, so my teammates could make up for my lack of skill, poor bastards. I even asked if I could earn points for good sportsmanship, but apparently there’s no way to plug that into the leader board. When we were all told there would be no teams, that we were each on our own, I cringed a bit, tried to hide my fear through a big gulp of brew, and decided I was going to do the best that I could.

But therein lies the issue…”The best that I could…” should always be followed by “with the current knowledge and skills you have.” If you’ve always been underwhelming at, well, anything, and continue to do the same thing every time, how are you supposed to improve?

I struggled through picking the right ball, balancing my steps with releasing the ball into the lane, and cringing in disappointment with the crash of the ball into the gutter…again. I don’t know if my friends were clapping at my effort when I turned around, or applauding in relief I wasn’t on their team. After a round of what could be classified as sketch comedy bowling, I had had it. I was tired of looking inept (even explaining that I have a wicked serve in table tennis, how can bowling beguile me?). I was tired of looking uncoordinated, tired of looking like the weak one in the group.

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Enough is Enough

My competitive nature kicked in and I approached one of the members in our group who I didn’t really know, but obviously was a skilled player. “Jeff!”, I pleaded, “break it down for me. Give me a crash course in bowling. What am I doing wrong?!” He smiled and agreed to watch me bowl the next couple times and give me pointers. In usual form, I took the ball I thought was the right weight, made what I thought was the proper approach, and chucked the ball nearly into the next lane. The scoreboard mocked my effort.

He took me aside and mentioned a few quick tips. You’re pointing your thumb over, your wrist is twisted, so the balls going to follow that line. Address where you want it to go and follow through with a straight arm. I picked up the ball, kept my arm straight, and released. Crash, clunk, clonk…5 pins down; improvement! So maybe I’m not the most un-athletic person alive, perhaps I’m just ignorant to what works.

Getting the Help You Need

Seeing my conundrum, another skilled player offered some side-line advice. Don’t twist your body, the ball follows that line. Keep your arm on a hinge and start with your toes here, not there. And don’t be in such a rush, take your time. Take a deep breath and just release it. What ball are you using? No way! That’s too light, you’re chucking it with too much force. Try this one to ease your curve.

The arrows on the scoreboard dropped down to my name, seeming to point and laugh. I searched for the different ball, took a breath, approached with ease, and released in a straight line. In a gargle of noise, the pins exploded and fell, every, single one of them. I turned to an equally rich explosion of applause and high-fives. I had done it, I had gotten better. My “teacher” even shook his head and said, “You’re playing 400% better, you just needed some instruction!” What a relief, it was in there the entire time.

Two more strikes and a severely corrected game, I actually joined the ranks of my peers. It fell off in a final speed round because I couldn’t concentrate as much, but my pride wasn’t nearly as bruised as it was in the beginning.

Be Open

I asked and, therefore, had received help. I improved, and quickly. If this was a simple game of bowling, for fun, what else could I apply this to? What other avenues in my life had I been using the same ball, throwing the same way I thought would work? It got me thinking, when life forces us to perform alone, and we can’t hide, how much better can we get if we ask for feedback from someone who has more experience?

So, I decided: I’ll ask. I’ll ask, and be open to the answers, and be excited for when I knock ’em dead and hear a cheering crowd of support.

What about you? What in your life are you disappointed in the results, but probably just need some instruction? Are you open to asking for feedback, help, or insight? Have you had a similar situation where you saw your game, business, or life improve because you asked for help?

The best part of these blogs is the conversation afterward, so let’s keep it going! Write your comments below and please share the post on your Facebook, g+, and other social networks.

About Author

Tracy Royce

Tracy (G+) is an Arizona Short Sale Realtor, Investor, Rehabber, and Foreclosure Expert. She also is an avid blogger, vlogger and consultant on all things Arizona Foreclosures.


  1. Great tie-in to working real estate. Unfortunately I had to learn the majority of my knowledge on my own, but as I’ve become known among peers for my specific niche, they are more willing to share information about what they do in exchange for sharing how I’ve made mine work as well. I think this exchange or even a pooling of knowledge can help accelerate everyone’s learning. Thanks for sharing!

    • Good for you, Roy. Obviously your ability (perhaps necessity) to learn on your own has earned you the attention of your peers. Good to know it has turned into a mutually respectful learning opportunity.

  2. Thanks for the analogy! Reaching out to mentors and coaches is so important if we want to get better. I was just thinking about this as I watched medal winning Olympians turn to their coaches again and again, even in the highest points in their athletic careers.

    • Hi Jonna, I recently got into playing golf and I just love the concept of constantly having a coach/sounding board with you at every step, literally! Perhaps I need a real estate caddy 🙂 Timely analogy; go USA!

  3. Very insightful, hopefully those who are actually interested in learning are able to get the help they need. Real Estate isn’t an art… it’s a science. Although there may be some exceptions (tenant screening anyone? =] )

    • Hi John, I would think the opposite! Tenant screening being more of a science, the business of real estate being something of an art. I got help on tenant screening years ago and it drastically changed the portfolio I was managing at the time (for the better!) Even if it’s sales tactics or tenant screening, truth is, someone out there is doing it better, more efficiently, more effectively than you/us. Learning to ask has been a wonderful exercise for me. Perhaps it could help you, as well?!

  4. Thanks Tracy for the article. I unfortunately am the opposite and would wonder why the group wouldn’t cheer if i got 2 pins down. Very good tie back into investing. I wish I had gotten educated sooner, but just playing the game for awhile helped me a lot.

  5. Loved the post!
    I can definitely relate in terms of Bowling and Real estate.
    My grandpa was the one who taught me the basics of how to bowl easily doubling my original scores in the game.
    I have found a retired contractor that has shown me more than I care to admit about rehabbing houses and working on my own house. It pays to ask for help. Many people are ready and willing to share their knowledge if you just ask. Most take it as a compliment that you want to learn from them.

    Thanks for the great post.

    • Hi Levi, so you can really feel my pain on this one 🙂 (or, should I say, my triumphs!). I’ve been blessed, like you, to have great mentors, and would not be where I’m at without them. Since branching off on my own, I’ve learned it’s important as a business owner to know when to ask for help. Like you said, most people are willing to share, and that you’re asking them for insight. Here’s to your success – cheers!

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