- 1. Surprise!
- 2. Getting lined up
- 2.1. Equipment considerations
- 2.2. What to do in practice
- 2.3. What about a known pattern?
- 3. Bowling center tendencies
- 3.1. Zone issues
- 3.2. Front-to-back tendencies
- 3.3. Location differences
- 4. Surprises at the Spokane Open
- 4.1. Qualifying observations
- 4.2. Equipment considerations
- 5. Important takeaways
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As I was traveling to Spokane for the second stop of the PWBA season, I was reminiscing about my previous experience bowling at the host center, Lilac Lanes and Casino. The last time the PWBA competed in Spokane was in 2021. The oil pattern was 45 feet in length and had plenty of volume. I remember that it was very unforgiving, with very little free hook.
Fast-forward to the 2023 PWBA GoBowling! Spokane Open, and I kind of expected to bowl on something similar to two years ago. I’ve only been on tour for a couple of years, so my observations might be different compared to those with more experience, but I’ve noticed a tendency to see similar patterns at centers we’ve visited multiple times. Maybe it wouldn’t be the same length, but it would probably require the same strategy of how to play it, with a similar volume of oil, a similar pattern shape, or the same type of oil. It usually has a lot to do with the surface of the lanes of a particular bowling center as well. So, going into this weekend, I was mentally preparing myself for my ball to not hook. Oh boy, was I wrong!
On the PWBA Tour, the oil pattern usually gets posted 30 minutes before the practice session of each tournament. I came into the bowling alley mentally prepared to grind it out with almost no hook all weekend. Imagine my surprise when I found out we were bowling on a 38-foot pattern. This experience just confirms that as a competitive bowler, you need to be prepared for anything. I’d fallen into a bit of a mental trap that is common for many bowlers. You might say, “Oh, we always bowl on this shot at that tournament,” but then life will throw a surprise at you.
With this in mind, I wanted to share some insights into getting lined up on patterns, whether it gets announced ahead of time or you are going into an event totally blind.
Getting lined up
If you are ever in a situation where you are about to bowl a tournament on an unknown pattern, you better take advantage of the practice time you get. To do this, you want to be warmed up physically…