Bowling News

Pin Perspectives: My First USBC Open Championships Experience – Part 1


Article Contents

  • 1. The USBC Open Championships: what is it?
  • 2. Travel logistics
  • 3. Equipment selection
  • 4. On-lane practice
    • 4.1. Practice strategy
    • 4.2. Changing habits
  • 5. Mental game
    • 5.1. Finding myself
    • 5.2. Sometimes there are setbacks
    • 5.3. Important mental routines
  • 6. All that’s left is to bowl

Yesterday afternoon, I returned home to Long Island, New York, from my 2023 USBC Open Championships trip to Reno, Nevada. Looking back on the months of preparation and the denouement of the actual competition at the National Bowling Stadium, I wanted to share my thoughts, from the hurdles of preparation to the powerful lessons learned over the course of my first Open Championships experience.

The USBC Open Championships: what is it?

The USBC Open Championships, otherwise known as the “OC” or “Nats” (short for Nationals), is a national bowling tournament held in the USA by the USBC, open to all sanctioned bowlers, including PBA and PWBA professionals. It spans several months, usually from April through mid-July, and the event is typically held in different cities and venues each year.

This is a sport shot event that consists of three separate scratch events, totaling nine games: team (three games), doubles (three games), and singles (three games). When you register to compete on the USBC website, you are given several squad time options for the events. Squad times range from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, so early registration is important. Bowlers should consider the following when choosing their squad times:

  • travel fatigue,
  • time for practice sessions, and
  • participation in local side tournaments.

Lanes are oiled throughout every single day of the tournament, between every single squad time, with one pattern typically used for the team event and a different pattern used for doubles and singles. However, there is no reoiling between your doubles and singles events; you simply finish game three of doubles and immediately begin game one of your singles event.

The USBC doesn’t share the oil pattern graph until the culmination of the event in July, which forces bowlers to “observe or perish” in determining lane play strategies, ball selections (especially when flying to the event with airline weight restrictions and costs), and ball surfaces. The USBC does make lane topography maps available on their OC website, and I would strongly urge all OC competitors to both learn how to read …

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