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Tips For First Time Bowlers At USBC Open Championship, Part 2

This article is the second of a three part series addressing tips for first time bowlers at 2011 USBC Open Championship, Part 2. The first article provides information about the Open Tournament which might be useful to know if you are planning your first appearance to bowl at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada. This article as Part 2 of the series will address the lane conditions and the winning scores of the 2010 Tournament so you will get some idea of what you might encounter in the 2011 event. wishes to share this useful information as continuing tips for first time bowlers at 2011 USBC Open Championship, Part 2.
The Open Tournament will begin on February 19 and end on July 2, 2011. Simply call toll free (800) 304-2695 if you wish to obtain information about the Stadium, its facilities, Lane 81 Pro Shop, the manufacturer's booths, or obtain Tournament information. While you are at the Stadium, you can get the Tournament information at the USBC Administrative area on the concourse behind the pro shop booths. In fact, information about the lane conditions are usually posted in this area including a lane oil graph which is provided to give contestants some idea as to the oil conditioning procedures.

At the 2010 Open Championship Tournament, the Kegel Company was contracted to handle lane conditioning and maintenance procedures for the event. Kegel used their own Ion/Lane Walker machine and Kegel Infinity Oil Conditioner for the Tournament. The Kegel Defense-C Cleaner was used (mixed in a 4:1 ratio) to clean the lanes between oiling before select squads. It is certainly possible Kegel will be contracted again for the 2011 event and use the same oils and cleaners if the USBC Tournament Evaluation Team reported good results in 2010. The pattern used to condition the lanes may also be used again in 2011 if the USBC was pleased with the scoring ranges and with the fairness to the bowlers over the span of the many weeks the Tournament is contested. Part 3 of this series will address the 2011 condition.
In 2010, the pattern called for 40 feet of oil distance with 25.5 ml's of conditioner applied to each lane. The lanes were conditioned with cleaner and oil at 7:00 a.m. before Doubles squads and again at 2:30 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m. before Team Squads. The Lane Walker machine used the drop brush in reverse at 32 feet and applied an approximate 3.5:1 ratio of oil from the edges of the lanes to the middle of the lanes with the heaviest concentration of oil conditioner between the 15 board on the left side of the lane and the 15 board on the right side of the lane.
The net effect of the 2010 Open Tournament lane procedure resembled the USBC White pattern which is a more blended or crowned pattern than the Red pattern. The Red pattern typically yields the highest pace of scoring of all house conditions and is used around the country for routine league and open bowling. The Red pattern uses a very high concentration of conditioner in the middle portion of the lanes, perhaps as much as three times more oil in the middle of the lanes as compared to the White pattern, and usually allows for the bowler to hit the pocket with a high degree of frequency.
The White pattern is a blended or tapered pattern which still can produce high scoring but is not a pattern quite as easy to hit the pocket on as is the Red pattern. Knowledge and skill by the bowlers in alignment and adjustments to the changes in the conditions on the White pattern as Tournament play continues through the day are more critical than on the Red pattern. In a Tournament such as the Open Championship which runs five months or longer in duration, a wide variety of players at various skill ranges compete in two divisions on these lane conditions. The White pattern is a good choice because it can be a fair an equitable condition for events of this duration.
Bowlers who are used to playing the lanes up-the-boards will find it more difficult to hit the pocket consistently than bowlers who can open the release angle and play a wider angle from the release point to the break point down the lane. There simply is not as much oil in the center of the lanes on a White pattern as on a Red pattern so the lane will break down more quickly on the White pattern. Adjustments are needed so the bowling ball will transition properly in the mid-lane and again at the break point so the frequency of pocket hits remains high on the White pattern. Players who can open the lane and use a wider release angle have a slight advantage over players relying on rolling the ball on a straight line or up-the boards on the White pattern, particularly on the late squads when the oil breaks down.
Evidence of the overall fair pace of scoring in the 2010 Open Championship event shows up in the final tabulated scores in both divisions. The following are the results of scores in the various events in each division:
Regular Division Team Series - 3408, Regular Doubles - 1514, Regular Singles - 833, Regular All Events - 2326, and Regular Team All Events - 10,284.
Classified Team Series - 2808, Classified Doubles - 1207, Classified Singles - 688, Classified All Events, - 1819.
As you can tell by the pace of scoring, the higher average range bowlers competing in the Regular Division was much higher across the board than in the Classified Division. The ability of the bowlers to make adjustments to lane conditions as well as the skill in making quality deliveries are reasons the scoring is higher consistently in the Regular Division on a White pattern condition compared to bowlers with entering averages less than 180 in the Classified Division.
It is recommended for bowlers scheduled to compete in the 2011 Open Championship Tournament to find out as much information as possible about the lane conditions in advance of the Tournament, try to practice on similar conditions at home before traveling to Reno, practice under the possible guidance of a certified instructor who can help you with your initial alignment techniques and with adjustments when the lanes break down, and work with your pro shop professionals to prepare your equipment for the tournament conditions.

The experience of the 2011 USBC Open Championship Tournament will undoubtedly be one to remember regardless of how you perform if you have never competed at the National Bowling Stadium. Please watch for Part 3 of this article series with more information about the Tournament.
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