Canova has made big strides in short time
Notre Dame's Mike Canova receives support from his teammates during the CCL Championship boys bowling tournament at Poplar Creek Bowl on Saturday in Hoffman Estates. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:36PM
HOFFMAN ESTATES — Notre Dame boys bowler Mike Canova has come a long way since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign.
Canova began his first varsity stint as the Dons’ No. 5 bowler. But he worked his way up to the No. 1 spot by the end of the season, and fell just 44 pins shy of qualifying for the 2012 state meet.
In 2012-13, Canova posted a team-high 209 average in Chicago Catholic League action. The senior also finished 21st overall — with a 178.8 average — during the CCL Championship Tournament, which was held at Poplar Creek Bowl on Saturday. Notre Dame ended up in sixth place at the league meet, and will seek state-meet berths at the Vernon Hills Sectional, set to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Brunswick Zone Hawthorn.
Canova, who finished with a 200 average last season, set a goal of adding at least 10 pins to his average this time around. He missed it, but only by one pin.
“Now I have confidence that I can go downstate — and compete,” said Canova, who had a high game of 203 in the CCL tourney. “Last year, after I started bowling good games, my confidence built immensely. Being the (team’s) anchor, I kept telling myself, ‘I’ve got to bowl the best that I can.’ Now, my main goal is getting my whole team downstate.”
After narrowly missing the cut for state, Canova worked on little things, like picking up 10-pin spares.
“That made me a better bowler,” said Canova, a year-round bowler who takes private lessons.
He worked on the mental aspect of the sport as well.
Dons coach Dominic Catalano said that Canova, “is always asking questions on how to improve. He’s his own hardest, and worst, critic. But that’s what drives him. The skill is there, but with his confidence building, his rate of success has improved. He’s our anchor. If he goes, we go.”
Canova said the key for him, mentally, is to avoid getting frustrated. After all, not every shot is going to go as planned.
“I shake it off — take deep breaths. I can’t let one bad frame get me down,” Canova said. “If my head is in it, I can bowl a great game. So I just clear my mind of everything and just bowl. I know if I do my job, and pick everybody else up, we’ll reach our goal — and possibly come home with a trophy.”