Flat Pattern

Best Way to Play a Flat Pattern in Bowling?




       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 pattern successfully?

Here are some thoughts on playing flatter patterns.

#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 feet.
Game three: Cross 14 board in the heads to breakpoint zone #1 at 37 feet.
Game four: Cross 17 board in the heads to breakpoint zone #1 at 37 feet.

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!







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