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How To Make Bowling Parallel Adjustments


Learning how to make bowling parallel adjustments is a big step to increasing your "strike" potential, leaving easy spares to convert, and to improving your overall scores. The goal of all bowlers should be to become competent in quickly adjusting to various lane conditions. How to make bowling parallel adjustments is a proven and tested system which works on virtually all standard house lane conditions.

Let's establish a couple of things early on - first, it is important to note that a variety of lane adjustment techniques exist and can be used effectively. The "parallel" system is one such method which is dependable and generally will provide good results while being easy to implement during competition. It is important to also strongly consider consulting a certified coach or instructor if you would like to learn about alignment systems and adjustment techniques.

The other thing is that any reference to alignment adjustments in this article will be for the right handed bowler only. Very simply, merely reverse the adjustment details for left handed bowlers!

The "parallel adjustment" system is one which is designed to make adjustments with your feet positioning on the approach and with your siting target on the lane, usually at the bowling arrows. Adjustments from an initial alignment are needed when the lanes break down from excessive linage with the bowling balls passing through the same general area on the lane which causes the oil to break down and transition elsewhere on the lane surface.

Did you know that when a bowling ball passes through lane oil, the oil will actually open as the ball passes through a given area of oil and then close again after the ball leaves that area? Liken a car tire passing through a water puddle on the road, as example, where the water opens or separates as the tire travels through the water puddle, then the water closes back into a similar puddle after the tires passes by the puddle area.

Eventually, as enough bowling ball deliveries pass through the existing oil on the lane surface, the oil will no longer close and a gap between the concentration of oil where the ball passed through most frequently will exist. When oil no longer closes and leaves an area where very little or no oil settles, then the lane is said to have broken down. It is time, therefore, to make an adjustment so your bowling ball can pick up skid and not begin to roll too soon through the drier area of the lane and miss the pocket.

It is amazing how few bowlers will adjust quickly enough or make adjustments which do not match the oil pattern applied to the lane surface by the lane oiling machine and the computerized program of oil application. Unfortunately, bowlers, like most humans, are creatures of habit and resist change. In bowling, not adjusting your strike alignment can mean losing the ability to hit the pocket consistently and reduce your pin carry, leave a difficult spare pin-combination, and achieve less than desired scores. Making smart and prompt adjustments separate the top flight amateur and professional bowlers from all other bowlers.

Typically, most bowling centers use a lane oiling procedure which creates the highest volume of oil conditioner located between the 2nd arrow on the right of the lane and the 2nd arrow on the left side of the lane, certainly for league play. Also, the heaviest volume of oil is located from the foul line where the bowling ball first contacts the lane surface down the lane to approximately 20 feet distance past the foul line. Of course, each bowling center has its own oiling procedures, but in many cases, the 2nd arrow is a good place for siting your initial alignment to the pocket.

Depending on your release technique, targeting the 2nd arrow is the logical place to begin your deliveries while warming up for a session on the lanes. If you have a modest curve or hook ball delivery, then you will use an angle from left of the 10 board, say about the 13 or 14 board just beyond the foul line, your slide shoe instep will cover the 19 board, and your ball will continue toward the 10 board or 2nd arrow, and then continuing further down the lane to the break point about two-thirds the way down the lane, and then finally hooking to the pocket.

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In cases with bowlers with high rev-rates and who create very sharply hooking deliveries, more extreme angles to the 2nd arrow will be necessary so the ball will ultimately end up hitting the pocket. Bowlers rolling the ball very straight will need to adjust the opposite direction with a more direct angle to the pocket, as you might expect. A sound and consistent initial alignment positioning is important as a basis of reference.

Adjustments in initial alignment will be needed when a ball is delivered accurately toward the 2nd arrow but does not end up solidly impacting the pocket. The amount of adjustment for missing the pocket from your initial alignment, either to the left or to the right, depends on how far you missed the pocket after rolling your ball over your target.

We recommend a "parallel adjustment system" whereby you simply move your feet two boards on the approach and your target on the lane one board, in the same direction, either to the left or to the right. Moving your feet two boards right and your target on the lane one board right (as example when the ball slides too far and misses the pocket to the right) will close your angle and create a more direct route for your ball to travel and contact the pocket. If after adjusting 2:1 ratio to the right and your ball still does not make it to the pocket solidly, then adjust another 2:1 boards to the right. Continue making 2:1 ratio adjustments until your angle matches to the oil conditions and your ball finally contacts the pocket solidly at the 17.5 board on the pin deck.

Adjusting in the opposite direction, 2:1 boards to the left from your initial alignment positioning, will work for lanes which have less than heavy oil and which causes your ball to hook too early and miss the pocket to the left (again in the case of right handed bowlers). Multiple adjustments of 2:1 boards, either left or right, will either close your angle to the pocket on oily lanes or open your angle to the break point down the lane on dry lanes or when oil break down occurs during your session on the lanes.

Of course, parallel adjustments may also be made in increments of 1:1 ratios for the fine tuning adjustments and in ratios of 3:1 for greater angle changes to the break point down the lane. The 2:1 common parallel adjustment typically works nicely on most house conditions if the oiling conditions are not too severely oily or dry.

For another example, if you miss the pocket to the left and leave the 3 pin remaining standing, you missed the pocket by an average of about 5 boards. Therefore, adjust your feet to the left five boards and your target on the lane half as much, 2-3 boards, and deliver your next strike ball at the adjusted target on the lane. By moving left into the greater concentration of lane oil, the needed ball skid which caused your ball to react too quickly and cross over the head pin will be restored. By bringing your target on the lane half as many boards as you adjusted your feet positioning on the approach will automatically change the angle necessary for your bowling ball to travel from the release point just beyond the foul line down the lane to the break point before hooking back and finding the pocket once again.

In short, adjust your feet the amount of boards your ball missed contacting the pocket solidly at the 17.5 board on the deck. In some competitions where lane changes after each game of bowling are required, you might encounter more dramatic changes of lane conditions and adjustments might be as much as 10:5 or 12:6 or greater, depending on how the lane reacts after the your first ball delivery on that new lane.

Your eyes are your best ally - trust what you see and adjust accordingly. Don't be stubborn; if you ball does not contact the pocket, then next time on the same lane, try to make a a parallel adjustment in accordance to where your ball ended up at the pins the previous time on the given lane. If you know you made a good delivery and the ball misses the pocket, MOVE! Make an adjustment. Fear prevents talent from prevailing. Trust your eyes use your adjustment system.

One final tip for your practice sessions, find your strike alignment initially as to roll several deliveries consecutively into the pocket, then adjust to the right in increments of 2:1 boards and roll perhaps three deliveries from the adjusted position before adjusting again another 2:1 boards to the right, and so on across the lane until you have made a series of adjustments totaling perhaps 14 boards on the approach and 7 boards on the lane near the bowling arrows. After completing that practice drill, go back to your original alignment position and then adjust in increments of 2:1 boards to the left simulating drying lane conditions. Adjust a series of perhaps 6 to 8 adjustments and roll at least three deliveries from each adjusted position. The lane will appear awkwardly when you adjust to positions on the approach unfamiliar to you because of your lack of practice using these areas on the approach or on the lane at the targeting arrows. That's why practice is so important - you can rehearse your parallel adjustments when your scores do not matter and become more accomplished at making good adjustments in competition.

As you practice, take note where the ball ends up at the pins. You will begin to see a pattern develop so when you are in competition and your ball does not end up where you are targeting, you will make a swift adjustment the next time you bowl on the given lane and the best chances of your rolling your ball into the pocket will increase.

bowlingball.com recommends you consult an experienced, certified coach (as we suggested earlier in this article) or a bowling professional for more information on a developing a strategy for lane adjustments. If the top amateur and professional players consult with coaches, why not you? Of course, we offer literally hundreds of articles and videos dedicated to helping you better understand the game of bowling. Feel free to browse our "BowlVersity" located at the top of our home page to find more articles to review. We hope these tips help.

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