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Lane Pattern Length

A bowler has to consider the length or distance of the lane pattern. There are 3 categories for pattern length. Short, Medium, and Long

Short patterns are usually 35 feet in length or shorter. This leaves almost half the lane with friction. Short patterns generally provide lots of hook.

Bowling balls that work best on shorter patterns are ones that smooth out the backend. Believe it or not, Heavy Oil balls are great for this length of pattern because they control the friction by using their energy early. Also, the bowling ball's breakpoint should be further from the pocket to allow the ball enough room to hook in.

Bowling balls that do not work out so well are the ones that retain their energy to the backend, although they may work better once the backends settle down.

Extremely dry backends + Extreme backend bowling ball = Uncontrollable backend reaction

Medium patterns are usually everyone's favorite. With lengths between 36 feet and 40 feet, they usually provide enough skid and enough backend for most bowlers. Many types of bowling balls can be used on this length, because it tends to be a more predictable. Breakpoints can be inside or outside depending on the bowler's rev rate and speed. Most house shots fall into this category.

Long patterns are lengths of 41 feet and longer. This length does not allow for arrant shots to the outside portion of the lane as there is not enough distance for the ball to hook back. For most bowlers, it is better to play a breakpoint closer to the pocket. Whether it's playing a deep inside line or a more direct line to the pocket, closer is better until the pattern starts to open up. An outside line is usually difficult because there is so much distance for the ball to cover to get to the pocket.

Bowling balls that work best on long patterns are usually the balls that are in the middle of a bowler's arsenal. Sometimes the heavy oil balls will lose all of their energy by the time the hit the pocket that they have nothing left to drive through the pins. Sometimes less aggressive balls with a sanded surface are a good choice for this length.

No matter the length or ratio of a pattern, let your ball be your guide. Watch your ball all the way through the pins. It will tell you what moves or changes you need to make.