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Line Up Your Bowling Ball To The Mid Pocket, Originally Posted: 7/8/2013; Updated: 3/28/2023

If you are bowling in a tournament in a center unfamiliar to you, then learn to line up your bowling ball to the mid pocket. Trying to hit the pocket with a perfectly solid hit has the potential to cost you if you are not familiar with the lane condition and what will happen if you miss your mark slightly.
If you learn to line up for a mid pocket hit, you can make minor adjustments as you move through the first few frames and as you watch your ball reaction when your speed changes slightly or if you miss your mark slightly.
The danger in lining up for a flush pocket hit is that if you make a small error in your delivery, you might hit the nose and leave a wide open, unmakable split or you might leave a difficult spare such as the “washout.”
Until you become familiar with how your ball will react on any given condition where you have not bowled before, try and make sensible alignment decisions and do not play for solid or high pocket hits until you know your bowling ball will not over-react if your shot is not made perfectly.
In many cases with wet/dry oil patterns, you miss outside your sighting target and your ball hooks dramatically through the nose. On the same oil pattern, you miss inside your target and your ball skids so far you leave a washout or a “bucket” spare leave.
Until you determine which ball to use, exactly how to play the lanes, which speed to use, and which release technique in your “bag of tricks” works best, you should be cautious and not try to jam the ball into the pocket solidly but rather play mid pocket or light pocket to avoid an unpredictable ball reaction which will get you into trouble.
Always have a bowling ball with a weak drilling layout with you and avoid the temptation to always play the lanes with a strong layout pattern looking for a huge sweeping hook and a strong back end ball reaction.
A weak drilling layout in a ball with medium or low flare potential will tame an over-reaction motion on the wet/dry lanes.
It can pay dividends to play it safe until you get accustomed to a given lane condition. Avoid lining up so aggressively in an attempt to charge the pocket until you are sure you have the right variables in place.

No one wins the tournament in the first game. Tournaments are decided in the final game.
Until you are sure about playing the lanes when you bowl for the first time in a new bowling center, take the conservative alignment to the pocket for a few frames until you get the feel for the condition.
Filling frames early on and avoiding open frames which require several doubles to counter the loss in pinfall can benefit you over the long haul in tournament play.
No lane alignment and adjustment system is perfect or fool proof. Adjustments, however, are a huge part of success when trying play lanes after oil breakdown or carrydown has occured. Line up to hit the mid pocket and then proceed sensibly as you move through the frames. You just might find yourself in the winner’s circle.
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