How Can I Best Read The Bowling Lanes To Improve My Average?
Publish Date: 11/5/15
If you are averaging about 175-180 and are asking "how can I best read the bowling lanes to improve my average?", then learn a little more information about lane conditions and how to develop a system for initial alignment and sensible adjustments.
Reading the lanes is key to the success of any top tier player and is also very important for those of you striving to become an improved player.
First, learn to make a quick and concise evaluation of the oil pattern so you can effectively align yourself to the pocket. Trust what you see and make decisions based on your ball reaction without being too stubborn in playing the lanes other than what the conditions provide.
Most house patterns are the USBC Red Pattern which pattern literally steers the ball to the pocket for you if you are anywhere close to being properly aligned to the pocket.
It is when the condition is less than forgiving and more challenging than typical house shots that you must determine how and where to play the lanes for an initial alignment to the pocket and, from that point, which adjustments from your “bag of tricks” when the lanes change will yield the best results.
On extremely challenging lane conditions, getting a good ball reaction consistently may not come so easily.
It is then you must decide if your shotmaking good, is consistent, or if you need a ball change? Perhaps you need other adjustments than merely a ball change?
The tougher the lane conditions, the more stable rolling bowling ball will typically provide the least overreaction and ultimately will serve you best.
It is easy to get carried away with drilling layout options, coverstock preparations, core designs, and surface texture procedures.
All of these variables can become confusing when you are bowling in competition and need quick results to gain a reliable ball reaction.
Once you start a competitive session (such as your league or a tournament) and complete your warm up shots, trust your read of the oil pattern and line up to the pocket the best you can.
If your ball does not react consistently and you know an adjustment is required, make lateral moves on the approach and on the lane for a sighting target before trying other physical adjustments with your swing or release technique.
Try and use the blend or oil distribution ratio across and down the lane to your advantage in gaining a reliable ball reaction before making physical changes to your game.
The simple and time tested technique of using one of your favorite bowling balls as a “lane reading ball” to assess the oil condition can work to an advantage for initial alignment purposes.
Having a ball reaction you trust is a big help, particularly when bowling in an unfamiliar environment such as out-of-town tournaments.
Also, avoid using only strong reacting bowling balls.
Symmetric bowling ball cores with tame and controllable drilling layouts will work more often than not. Strong reacting bowling balls should be used when the controllable equipment does not quite provide you with the overall reaction you seek.
The bottom line is to use both control bowling balls as well as stronger reacting bowling balls to round out your arsenal.
Once you learn to read the lanes quickly, choose the best ball for the pattern you are facing, make any additional fine-tuning adjustments (such as ball speed changes, release changes, alignment changes, and sighting changes) then you give yourself the best chances at hitting the pocket consistently and improving your bowling average.