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Tips For First Time Bowlers At USBC Open Championship, Part 3

This article is the third and final article in a three part series addressing tips for first time bowlers at 2011 USBC Open Championship, Part 3. The first article provides information about the Open Tournament which might be useful to know if you are planning your first appearance to bowl at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada. The Part 2 article of the series addressed the lane conditions and the winning scores of the 2010 Tournament so you will get some idea of what you might encounter in the 2011 event, and this article is dedicated to the lane conditions in use at the 2011 Open Championships. wishes to share this type of useful information as continuing tips for first time bowlers at 2011 USBC Open Championship, Part 3.

The Open Tournament has begun on February 19 and will end on July 2, 2011. Simply call toll free (800) 304-2695 if you wish to obtain information about the Stadium, its facilities, Lane 81 Pro Shop, the manufacturer's booths, or obtain Tournament information. While you are at the Stadium, you can get the Tournament information at the USBC Administrative area on the concourse behind the pro shop booths. In fact, information about the lane conditions are usually posted in this area including a lane oil graph provided to give contestants some idea as to the oil conditioning procedures.

The 2011 Open Championship Tournament will use the Kegel Lane Walker machine for the oiling and conditioning the lanes multiple times each day of the event. Since the lane installation has used the Brunswick ProAnvilane as lane beds, the Kegel Defense-C Cleaner will be used (mixed in a 4:1 ratio), as was used in 2010, to clean the lanes between oiling before select squads. The pattern used to condition the lanes in 2010 is similar in 2011 but the scoring may increase due to use of stronger blends of oil both down the lane and across the lane in this year's event. The objective of USBC remains, however, to provide fairness to the bowlers over the span of the many weeks the Tournament is contested.

In 2010, the pattern called for 40 feet of oil distance with 25.5 mls of conditioner applied to each lane. In 2011, the pattern was extended to 41 feet of distance of oil application from the 40 feet used one year ago and use of 27.35 mls of oil per lane. The lanes are scheduled to be conditioned with cleaner and oil at 7:00 a.m. before Doubles squads and again at 2:30 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m. before Team Squads.

The Lane Walker machine will use the drop brush in reverse at 32 feet and will apply an approximate 3.5:1 ratio of oil from the edges of the lanes to the middle of the lanes with the heaviest concentration of oil conditioner between the 10 board on the left side of the lane and the 10 board on the right side of the lane whereas in 2010, the heaviest concentration of oil was between the 15 board on both side of the lane, in case you speak with anyone who bowled in last year's event and wish to compare the patterns? A reference to the 2010 condition will be used throughout this article for bowlers who wish to learn the difference in the patterns.

The net effect of the 2010 Open Tournament lane procedure resembled the USBC White pattern which is a blended or crowned pattern. The 2011 pattern is a similar overall pattern but has a greater concentration of oil in the middle of the lane and extends further toward the outside of the lane as did the 2010 pattern. Typically, this type of pattern should yield a higher pace of scoring than in 2010 but likely a lower pace of scoring compared to all house conditions used around the country for routine league and open bowling. The pattern for 2011 uses a relatively high concentration of conditioner in the middle portion of the lanes, but the ratio of oil remains crowned perhaps with three times more oil in the middle of the lanes as compared to the edges of the lane as did the 2010 pattern. This pattern in use at the 2011 Open Championships will allow for the bowler with good alignment technique to hit the pocket with a high degree of frequency.

The specific pattern in 2011 calls for two types of crowns or blended ratios of oil conditioner applied to the lane surface, the down lane ratio and the cross lane ratio. The down lane ratio of oil is measured at three distances, from the foul line to 17 feet distance, from the 7 foot distance to 30 feet distance, and from 7 feet to 41 feet distance.

The down lane ratio at 0' - 17' distance is a strong crown with the most volume of conditioner applied to the lane surface, the 7' - 30' distance uses a moderate volume of oil applied in this section of the lane surface, and the 7' - 41' distance uses the lightest crown of oil applied to the surface. This down lane ratio yields an overall pattern with a well blended or crowned volume of oil from the foul line to the 41' distance where the pattern ends. This down lane ratio of oil blended pattern will give the bowler the most amount of oil in the front end of the lane ending at the bowling arrows, a moderate amount in the mid-lane ending at 30', and a light amount of oil from the mid-lane to the final 41 feet distance of the overall pattern.

The specific pattern in 2011 using a cross lane ratio of conditioner calls for the most units of oil to be measured at 8' distance from the foul line using 100-105 units of oil from middle of the lane extending to the 10 board on both sides of the lane and tapering to 40 units of oil at the edges of the lane.

At a distance of 22 feet, there are 55-60 units of oil applied to the surface from the 10 board to the 10 board on both sides of the lane and tapering to 20 units applied at the lane edges.

Finally, at 39 feet distance, there are 15-20 units of oil applied to the surface between 10 board on both sides of the lane and tapering to 5 units at the edges of the lane.

The net effect of this cross lane ratio is a strong blend of conditioner being applied across the lane between the 10 board on both sides of the lane with less oil toward the edges maintaining the overall intended ratio of 3.5 oil from the middle of the lane to the edges.

With crowns across the lane and down the lane measured at prescribed distances, the USBC can control consistency in lane conditioning coupled with a good pace of scoring to achieve a fair and equitable condition for all bowlers over the span of the many weeks in the 2011 Open Championship Tournament.

Bowlers who are used to playing the lanes up-the-boards will find it somewhat more difficult to hit the pocket consistently than bowlers who can open the release angle and play a wider angle from the release point to the break point down the lane because of this crowned oil pattern. There simply is not as much oil in the center of the lanes on the USBC pattern as on a Red pattern or house pattern in your home area so the lane will break down more quickly and not offer the same amount of forgiveness in hitting the pocket when a bowler misses the target. Adjustments during competition are needed so the bowling ball will transition properly in the mid-lane and again at the break point so the frequency of pocket hits remains high on the Tournament pattern. However, the 2011 condition will favor the up-the boards player more so than the 2010 condition because of a greater concentration of oil near the 10 board on both sides of the lane than in 2010. This change of pattern in this year's event will allow for a predictable increase in the overall pace of scoring and allow more bowlers to be competitive than in some past Championships.

It is recommended for bowlers scheduled to compete in the 2011 Open Championship Tournament to find out as much information as possible about the lane conditions in advance of the Tournament, try to practice on similar conditions at home before traveling to Reno, practice under the possible guidance of a certified instructor who can help you with your initial alignment techniques and with adjustments when the lanes break down, and work with your pro shop professionals to prepare your equipment for the tournament conditions. The experience of the 2011 USBC Open Championship Tournament will undoubtedly be one to remember regardless of how you perform if you have never competed at the National Bowling Stadium.

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