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Top Tips - January 2012 - Adjusting To Oil Transition

What’s the most effective way to deal with oil transition on a typical league condition?
Kim Terrell-Kearney Answers...
On typical house patterns, we see more oil in the middle of the lane and more friction on the outside. This creates a greater margin for error. Miss your target to the outside, and the friction likely will guide the ball back to the pocket. Pull the ball inside of target, and the extra oil will help it “hold” and again guide it into the pocket.
On more challenging conditions, like Sport patterns, the idea is the same, but the ratio of oil from the middle to the outside of the lane isn’t as extreme. We also see a tapered application of lane oil, front to back. There is more volume near the foul line and less down toward the pins, which promotes a sharp backend reaction.
As play continues, the oil in the front part of the lane will break down, or seem to disappear. This causes the ball to hook earlier, thereby smoothing out its back-end reaction. This is what we call transition. Most commonly, players will follow the oil line to the center of the lane and tighten up their launch angles. This means the best strategy is to move the feet and target a little bit to the left (for right-handers), thus crossing fewer boards and playing a tighter line to the pocket.
Other ways to battle transition:
• Change your ball speed or hand position.
• Go to a different ball.
Lou Marquez Answers...
The “playable” characteristics of all lanes change due to forces influenced by the entire field of bowlers at any time. The interaction of ball coverstocks with the lanes affects the lane surface by removing the conditioner at a faster rate than most would think. One must then search to “out-flank” their competition by looking for a “fresher” area on the lane to create the perfect look with ball reaction.
How do we know when transition is happening? It starts in practice with the first shot thrown, and never ends until the bowling is completed. Along the way, there are detectable clues. The first clue may be from a ball not changing direction at the break point, causing weaker pocket hits demonstrated by stubborn corner pins. Another clue could be if the ball hits higher on the headpin, or if a loss of breakpoint control causes splits or washouts.
Moving into the higher concentration or buildup of oil may result in a return of control into the pocket. A change in equipment or coverstock type — less aggressive and absorbing in nature — may provide for less interaction with the increasing friction, allowing one’s style and comfort to return and enhancing their scoring potential. The lack of awareness is the downfall of all bowlers. Being stubborn about making any moves — or moves that are not bold enough — will inevitably get the best of you.
Kim Terrell-Kearney is Assistant Head Coach at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, and of Team USA. She is a USBC Hall of Fame member and a 10-time pro tour champion.
Lou Marquez is Director of Coaching at Turbo Tech in Chesterfield, Mich., just outside Detroit. He also is the current President of the International Bowling Pro Shop and Instructors Assn.
Posted with permission from Luby Publishing Inc.
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