I will start off by telling you this is the hardest condition I have bowled on to date. The U.S. Open Pattern I bowled on was 42 feet in length. In addition to being a longer pattern it is a 1 to 1 ratio oil pattern. A typical house pattern ratio can sometimes be as high as a 8 to 1 ratio. Essentially on a house shot they have more oil in the center and less oil on the outside to help funnel the ball back to the pocket whereas a sport condition gives you little to no room for error.
As we did before every week we went into a classroom to discuss the layout of the pattern as well as discuss the best spot to play on the lane for optimum pin carry. The thing that really stuck with me for the next two weeks was that when you are facing an extremely difficult pattern remember that, “Straighter is Greater” (Bill Monce). Bill Monce, USBC Gold Coach, explained that it was really difficult to swing the ball out from an inside line and have it come back for several reasons. One being that the pattern is longer than your typical pattern, and second being that when you miss your target you really are missing by a much bigger margin because of how much lane you are trying to cover and the ratio of the oil pattern. I experimented with a few things in practice to try to find the best overall line to play. I started off by using an aggressive asymmetrical ball trying hit third arrow, and a break point down lane at 11th board. I missed several shots outside by only a board or two and did not even hit the head pin. I soon remember what Bill said about being straighter and greater. So I went with weaker equipment and really tried to play a much straighter line to the pocket. While I still continued to struggle to strike on this pattern, I did notice I was leaving myself more makeable spares. Another key point Bill mentioned to me was that the more difficult the ratio the more likely you will need to make a parallel move inside as the lanes transition.
If there is any advice I can give you for the U.S. Open pattern it would be to remember that straighter is greater. Use a ball that has a symmetrical core and try to get a ball that reads the lane early and is very predictable. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t strike when you hit the pocket, and really focus on making every spare possible.
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