I've had trouble with the "flat" pattern in the past, and the only
recourse I found was playing straight at the pocket, not relying on
much movement at all. Are there any techniques to playing a flat
Here are some thoughts on playing flatter
#1: There is no help from the lane man. If you miss your targets by
2 boards you miss the head pin. Accuracy (in the heads and the
breakpoint) is a must. Nearly as important is consistent speed, rev
rate and axis rotation.
#2: The length and speed retention of the oil pattern. The length of
the pattern will help determine where the breakpoint needs to be.
The shorter the pattern the closer the breakpoint is to the gutter.
The longer the pattern the closer the breakpoint is to the head pin.
“Speed retention” means how slick the pattern plays and is usually a
result of oil volume but brand of oil and lane surface plays a part
as well. Speed retention sets the ball speed you need to use. For
example on the PBA tour a 38 foot pattern will play like a 40 or 41
foot pattern to the average bowler because the oil volume down the
lane is so high. The more speed retention a pattern has the more
critical ball speed becomes.
#3: Find the right breakpoint zone. I divide the lane into 3
breakpoint zones; zone #1 are boards 1-5, zone #2 are boards 6-9 and
zone #3 are boards 10-14. Sometimes a pattern will allow you to play
more than one zone but often only one of the 3 zones will play at
all. Even if the pattern allows 2 possible zones usually 1 will be
more productive than the other. Most times once you have determined
which breakpoint zone to play you will keep that zone all day and
just throw to it from different angles in the heads.
For example if you are playing on a short sport pattern and you find
that the best breakpoint is zone #1 and the oil is fresh you may be
crossing the heads around the 2nd arrow. As the games go on and the
oil in the heads is depleted you will need to move more inside but
keep the same breakpoint.
The progression may look something like this:
Game one: Cross 2nd arrow (10 board) in the heads
Game two: Cross 12 board in the heads to breakpoint zone #1 at 37
Game three: Cross 14 board in the heads to breakpoint zone #1 at 37
Game four: Cross 17 board in the heads to breakpoint zone #1 at 37
I have tried to take a very complicated subject and just make it a
simple as I can, if you need more in-depth knowledge on this, I
would check out the
Ultimate Bowling Guide eBook, there is a small price for it, but
it's well worth it in my opinion. There must be a million variables and that’s what
makes this sport great!