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Use and distribution of this article is subject to our terms and conditions
whereby's information and copyright must be included. BowlVersity Q & A Part 6 continues to share with our readers a few of the many questions we receive relating to articles posted on our site. This bowlingball BowlVersity Q & A Part 6 article features three questions sent to us by our community guests. We would like to address these questions and provide the sixth in an ongoing series of articles known as BowlVersity Q & A Part 6.

We hope our responses to these questions below lead to helping you improve your bowling game. Most of the responses are to questions we received from bowlers ranging from beginners to 180 average players.

As we indicated in our first articles in this series, if you are an advanced player or a highly skilled and experienced player, you are most welcome to join in and offer your comments with the intent of sharing your knowledge from your personal experiences on the lanes with our fellow bowlers. We cannot possibly keep our responses to questions short and direct in content without likely omitting information which could expand the range of answers to a more acceptable level, thus another reason we invite you to share your thoughts by making a comment under the posted article and help us pass along useful ideas.

Here are the three questions for this article addressing issues many bowlers encounter:

Q. As a new bowler trying to learn the game, I have developed a slight hook ball delivery. Where should I slide at the foul line to use the 2nd arrow target?

A. For a right handed bowler, the instep of your sliding shoe is located about two boards right of the exact center of your slide shoe. If you allow about 1 inch of space between the inner side of the bowling ball as it passes by your sliding shoe, then the instep of your sliding shoe will cover the 18 board on the approach at the foul line and your toe will point to the 20 board or the center guide.

The 18 board is a good place to initially position yourself on the approach and the 2nd arrow is a good sighting target for an initial alignment. You may have to use a board located to the right or to the left of the 2nd arrow and make the correct adjustment with your feet alignment in order to roll your ball and contact the pocket depending on your type of delivery, the speed you roll your bowling ball, the oiling pattern used on the lane, and the bowling ball you select.

Q. What is the Red Pattern oil condition I hear discussed in bowling circles?

A. The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Red Pattern yields the highest pace of scoring in comparison to the other Blue and White Pattern classifications which are also approved for use by bowling centers for league and tournament competitions.

With a high concentration, or volume of oil, applied in the center portion of the front ends of a lane, the Red Pattern allows bowlers to find more oil toward the center of the lane surface when they release their bowling balls than toward the edges of the lane. The outside boards of the lane, or the portions of the lane nearest the lane edges are, therefore, the driest boards with little oil applied on the lane surface in those areas. The outside edges of the lane are also the highest friction portions on the front end of the lane which encourage the bowling ball to gain traction and begin rolling or hooking sooner than when traveling in the heavy concentration of oil.

With more oil in the center portion of the front end of the lane and less oil toward the outside boards, a bowler can, if properly aligned, miss the intended target and the bowling ball will still result in hitting the pocket rewarding the bowler with a very good chance of producing a strike. The Red Pattern is sometimes referred to as a "wet/dry" condition, a "block" condition, or an "over/under" condition implying that there is a great amount of oil in the center of the lane and a very small amounts toward the edges with little or no blend of oil to separate both extreme friction factors.

The Red Pattern, of course, is the least challenging of the three approved patterns by USBC for use in sanctioned bowling centers. A given bowling center's standard house condition is the Red Pattern. Any pattern not considered a Blue or White Pattern will be considered a Red Pattern by default.

The Red 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.

Q. How are bowling league averages determined?

A. Most bowling leagues and tournaments require an entering average to determine the bowling handicap for individuals or for teams based upon the rules for the given league or tournament events. Your bowling average score, in handicap leagues or tournaments as example, allows you to compete against other bowlers with varying levels of skill and abilities with an equal chance of winning.

The process of determining a bowling average is as follows:

1. Add the total of the number of individual game scores together to arrive at a series total score. If in a three game series, such as is the case in most leagues, you bowl games scores of 167 + 171 + 148, your series total score would be 486.

2. Divide your series total score of 486 by the number of games bowled in the given series (3 games) and arrive at your per game average of 162. If your average game score is, as example, 162.5, then the average score is still 162 until more games are compiled and averaged into the overall total pinfall at which time your average may increase or decrease accordingly.

3. If your average is 162 for three games recorded in your league and then you record another three game series of 512, your total combined pinfall is 486 + 512 = 998 for 6 total games recorded and your average would then become 166.34 based on six games but would show on the average sheet provided by the league secretary as 166.

4. Your average will increase or decrease as you continue to bowl each week in your league. The process continues throughout your league play, adding the total number of pins you have scored and dividing them by the total number of games you have played. Averages tend to change more quickly with fewer games bowled at the beginning of a league than when more games are recorded at the end of a league.

5. Bowlers competing in multiple leagues will show a range in average scores with the highest average typically being used for entry into other competitive events such as handicap tournaments, etc. Normally, a minimum 21 games of recorded competition are used as a player's average when entering a handicap competition or when joining a league where there are restrictions on entering averages.

We thank the bowlers who shared their questions with us for this article. We hope our responses serve a useful purpose. Feel free to offer your comments; they are most welcomed. Be sure to check the "Improve Your Game" link in "BowlVersity" on the home page of our site for future posts. Thank you.

Rich Carrubba