Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An Ideal Bowling Ball Breakpoint?

In the past, there have been many articles written about how to play the lanes under different oil patterns.

In the 1980's, Sam Baca, at that time the Lane Maintenance Director for the PBA,
made known the "Breakpoint Strategy."

Very briefly, it's the point at which your ball starts breaking to the pocket.

Renowned USBC Gold Coach, Joe Slowinski, wrote about the "Exit Point Strategy." It was based on a study conducted by the then American Bowling Congress (ABC) head of testing, Neil Stremmel.

(If the ball exits the oil at this point, it has a better chance for hitting the pocket and striking.)

Basically, the formula is (Length of oil minus 31) = The point where the ball should be exiting the oil pattern to be the most effective.

For example, if the length of oil is 42 feet, then (42 - 31) = 11; therefore, by targeting your ball to leave the oil pattern at the 11 board, you maximize the margin of error to the left-and-right of the Exit Point, and still be able to hit the pocket with a solid entry angle.

"Tons" of different oil patterns have appeared on the international scene, mostly due to the WTBA, Collegiate Bowling, the PBA, and the Kegel Company.

They've set the standards for the current competition and oil specifications around the world. 

Thus, the development of the myriad of modified patterns.

As well as the "USBC Red, White, and Blue," "USBC Sport Shot," and PBA Animal patterns, we now have "WTBA Olympic City" and "Kegel" patterns.

(Note that NCAA - college bowling - and different organizations have their own sets of patterns for their particular competitions.)

The variations are going to continue as research studies go on, behind the scenes, in various Tenpin Bowling testing facilities around the world.

All these points being made, though, still doesn't diminish the fact that you've got to play the lanes as you experience them at the time you bowl.

Charts and theories only give you a starting point and you've got to make the necessary adjustments to score on that particular day and that particular bowling center.

(I won't even mention all the topographical and environmental factors that could affect the way the ball rolls down the lane.)

Nevertheless, the aforementioned theories are still valid when determining a starting point of how to play the lanes.

Start there and make adjustments accordingly.

I've been watching a lot of bowling events and especially, the WTBA (World Tenpin Bowling Association) ones, and have noticed a trend with regards to oil patterns and how to play them.

Regardless of the length of the pattern, it APPEARS that the "Ideal Breakpoint" seems to be right around the seven to ten boards at around the 40-feet to 43-feet mark down lane.

(On the lanes that have them, that's the brownish colored 10-board marker "way down there.")

The greater majority of videos I've watched show the ball hitting that point just before making its run to the pocket.

This, despite where the bowler hits the arrows.

Here, then, is my "Choc-List" for what I'm going to be checking out over the next several practice sessions: (Using three points as references for my targeting.)

1) Set my "Breakpoint" Target as the 7-board at 43 feet.

2) Calculate the "Exit Point." (See explanation of "Exit Point Strategy," above.)

3) Use the Arrows as my “Visual Target.” Draw a reference line back from the "Breakpoint," through the "Exit Point," and where that line crosses the arrows.

4) Depending on where I stand on the approach, use either the 10-pin, 6-pin, or 3-pin as my “Down-lane Target.”

Now it's up to me to adjust my hand, ball roll, speed, and angle to be able to play that line to the pocket.

Will it absolutely work? I’m not sure but I'm going to experiment with it.

By the way, I should mention that the bowlers at all levels who have the most consistent success with all the various patterns are the one's who throw the least amount of hook.

It gives very strong evidence to the old bowling cliché, "Straighter is better."

1 comment:

  1. 2-27-2013: Used the methodology for 1st time in league, Senior Classic Scratch Trio, Kegel Wall Street Pattern League. With a newly bought Storm IQ Pearl -- 3rd game was 300 and 4-game series was 903.