Competitive bowlers, whether they are college athletes, professionals, or weekend warriors, all have something in common: we all need to learn from our experiences in order to maximize our potential in future events. Over the next few articles, I’ll be presenting lessons learned and topics from the 2023 PWBA Tour season that bowlers can apply to their own games.
To start, we’ll look at how you can be prepared beyond the obvious hours on the lanes getting ready. Then we’ll look at the first event of the season, the PWBA Stockton Open, with a focus on the tactical considerations and insights from my experience in that event.
It’s crucial to come out on tour with a well-prepared and thought-out arsenal. You don’t have to have 12 or 15 bowling balls to be successful; you merely have to be smart with your selections. On the PWBA Tour, the oil pattern gets posted 30 minutes before we start official practice, so we never know for sure what pattern we will be bowling on before we travel to the tournament.
In our sport, some tournaments post their patterns ahead of time, and some do not. In NCAA competition, for example, the oil pattern is sent to the coaches 10 days prior to the start of the tournament. That way, a team is able to choose every bowler’s arsenal ahead of time and even practice on the pattern at home before heading out for the weekend. From what I understand, USBC college events unveil the pattern up to a day or two before the event, or just before practice starts.
What I brought to the PWBA Stockton Open
Regardless of whether or not you know the pattern ahead of time, bowlers should go out with a well-rounded arsenal and be ready to change surfaces as needed. I took eight balls to the first PWBA tournament of the year:
- Spare ball
- Storm Axiom
- Storm Dark Code
- Roto Grip Idol Cosmos
- Roto Grip TNT
- Storm Proton PhysiX
- Storm Revenant
- Storm IQ Tour Ruby
Some might say that I’m contradicting myself here and that my arsenal isn’t as well-rounded as it could have been. I chose to have so many symmetrical bowling balls because I know that I tend to go to them on tough patterns. Based on past experience, I know th at I often end up throwing them in PWBA Tour events.
Some might also notice that I have a few oldies in my arsenal. Why couldn’t I go with covers that are more fresh? The Axiom, for example, is my “comfort ball.” I go to it whenever I feel unsure of what to do, where to throw it, or if nothing is going…