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How To Understand The USBC Blue Oil Pattern


If you are trying to learn how to understand the USBC Blue lane pattern, then be aware that all three USBC (United States Bowling Congress) "colored" lane patterns are considered house shots and range in difficulties. Knowing a little about all three patterns will help you in how to understand Blue lane pattern.

The Red pattern will resemble conditions found in today's league environment. There is a much greater volume of oil in the middle of the lane as compared to the outside.

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The White pattern will be slightly more challenging than the Red pattern. The Blue pattern has a little more oil applied on the outer portions of the lane.

The Blue pattern will be flatter overall with respect to oil application and is the most challenging shot of all three patterns.

The Blue pattern is designed to provide the greatest level of challenge as the application of oil is crowned the least of all three patterns. The Blue pattern yields the lowest pace of scoring of any of the three patterns.

As with the Red and White patterns, the Blue pattern is also offered in three versions to meet the needs of different bowling centers with a variety of surfaces and climate considerations.

The Blue pattern is typically something you see at a USBC State Tournament and the pattern provides a "stepping stone" up to the conditions used in the USBC Open Championships or in Team USA Experience Leagues.

The Blue Pattern does not make any specific provisions for the distance the oil is applied to the lane surface. Normally, the application of oil ranges from a distance of 35 feet to 45 feet total distance where the lane machine no longer buffs in oil on the lane surface and where the dry boards begin across the entire lane on the back end of the lane.

As a rule of thumb, the shorter the distance oil is applied to the lane surface, the break point is closer to the edge of the lane where the bowling ball begins it's transition toward the pocket. The break point is located beyond the final oiling distance the lane machine applies oil to the lane surface, perhaps five to seven feet, depending on the overall distance of oil application.

The longer the distance oil is applied to the lane surface, the nearer the break point is to the center of the lane and the less overall distance a ball has to travel and hook on the dry back end of the lane.

Alignment is the key to success for any bowler. After making a good initial alignment to the pocket on strike ball deliveries, an errant delivery may not end up hitting the pocket on the Blue Pattern because of the lesser volume of oil applied to the center of the lane than as is on Red and White patterns and because of the flatter overall oil pattern across the lane surface.

Blue patterns require quality deliveries by the bowler to achieve good scoring levels. Speed control, loft control, consistent releasing action by the bowler, a bowling ball coverstock and a drilling layout are the critical variables needed to match with the Blue pattern. Serious and competitive bowlers should seek out opportunities to bowl on the Blue pattern to learn more about playing the lane condition and which bowling equipment works best.


While visiting bowlingball.com, take some time to check out the Perfect Scale® ball rating feature which helps bowlers compare bowling balls by leading manufacturers and how they can match with various lane conditions including the Blue Pattern oil patterns. Also, by referring to the "Drilling Layouts" feature found on the home page, layout options are suggested by the manufacturers for the latest bowling balls in today's market including diagrams of the layouts. Finally, please consult a certified instructor or local bowling professional to learn more about the Blue Pattern lane conditions and how to improve your initial alignment and make adjustments on this pattern.

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