March 2016: Article by Mo Pinel Technology Advisor Radical Bowling Technologies
Well, it is time for the USBC Open Championships in Reno again. In reviewing this year’s patterns, it looks like bowlers will be competing on something extremely similar to last year with some subtle differences. However, I don’t think there will be much of a difference in how the lanes play with the exception of faster and more severe transition. Once again, it is very important to note that this year’s patterns are extremely flat, and because of this, we should expect to see lower scores.
Just like many experienced last year, the bowlers you bowl with and the balls they throw will have a significant effect on your scoring potential, and because the patterns are flat, there will be a premium on shot-making and spare-shooting. The key feature with this year’s patterns is the lack of oil on the reverse pass which will result in constantly changing lane conditions.
The most obvious difference from last year is the additional oil placed on the reverse pass that is out to the 2 board on the left side of the lane. This change will result in the lanes playing tighter and tougher than last year for the lefties. The left side of the lane has two loads out to 2 board in D/S and one load out to 2 board in in Team. I call these the “Matt McNiel loads” for obvious reasons. Best of luck, Matt!
What is the best way to play these patterns? I believe it is to “manufacture” a shot by burning the lane outside the 6 board during practice and throughout 1st game of Team and Doubles. Then, you can “ball down” in order to allow you to remain in the same part of the lane. I feel strongly that organizing a sequence of balls is once again the best strategy for proper lane play. Bowlers should plan to start with one of their most hooking balls that will allow them to keep their feet in front of their target and keep changing to less aggressive balls as the lane transitions with more friction.
Using this system for lane play will require the bowler to start with an aggressive ball like one of the Radical Gurus using a lower flare drilling and lots of surface in order to transition the lane outside of the 6 board as quickly as possible. Then, you should have a series of slightly less aggressive bowling balls so that you can choose another ball that will allow the you to play in the same part of the lane during the entire event. This is where the versatility of the Radical line of balls that offer a variety of drilling options will shine.
This strategy obviously requires some preparation with your equipment and with your teammates. If your group can gang up and play the same part of the lane, the lane conditions will transition and become even more playable with a better potential for higher scores. While this strategy should work for right-handers and left-handers, I do believe that the left side of the lane will require more surface because of the extra loads placed out to the 2 board on the left.
This approach may seem overly elaborate, but I don’t see many other practical options. The lack of oil on the reverse pass will result in the heads breaking down faster than the rest of the lane, and when this happens, it will be nearly impossible to stay with one ball and score effectively throughout the event, unless the bowler has an abundance of tricks up their sleeve.