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Thread: Bowling under pressure?

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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Default Bowling under pressure?

    When I went down to TN and bowled that match against my new boss, the pro I mentioned and my ball had more reaction than I ever seen in the history of my bowling. I was playing deep and sending it out wide and it came back to the pocket like it had eyes. I was WAY out of my comfort zone playing a line like that but it worked and worked well. Last night I threw a few games where I currently work and I figured I'd try that again. I ended up getting a 3 count on the first shot. I adjusted right and moved around some and playing deep just didn't work. When I did get to the pocket my carry was awful. I ended up just moving outside to where I typically played and everything was status quo.


    Now I did discuss oil patterns and what they use in TN is very similar to what we use. Similar oil pattern, similar volume. The only difference is we go 41' and they go 42'. Both times I was the first to bowl on the lanes right after they were oiled. My question is, if everything is so similar then why was my ball acting so completely different? I know topography plays a part but I can't believe it would be that big of a part. The other difference is TN has synthetic lanes and we have wood. In TN I was bowling my heart out and obviously since he was a pro was a tremendous amount of pressure. Here it was just me bowling where I'm used to bowling and very relaxed.

    So was it because of the wood vs. synthetic? Topography? The 1' of extra oil can't play much of a factor especially since I was getting more reaction on longer oil. Was it just me and the thought and feeling behind it? Was what happened in TN just a fluke? I'm rather dumbfounded myself and am hoping that I can repeat what I was doing down there on a regular basis because I loved what I saw.

    Any thoughts Rob? Bowl? Ameyers? Anyone?
    Last edited by Phonetek; 08-09-2019 at 12:57 PM.
    Bowling Center Employee (Assistant Manager, Counter, Bartender and AMF Pinsetter Mechanic)
    Arsenal only consists of 3 balls currently "15# Hammer Rip'd (Sport Only)" & Faball Original Black Hammer (Spare Ball / Main THS) Venom Shock & 20+yr old Linds worth a mention
    Currently 535+ Rev Rate @ 19 MPH

  2. #2

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    I was really excited to read this post as it gives me an opportunity to address a really important subject for modern bowlers. Yes, it was because of wood vs. synthetic. Wood lanes were made of boards of wood which were glued together. The lanes were about 4" thick, and they were periodically planed and sanded to keep them flat. The only times that there were differences between lanes was when there was a variation in the hardness of the individual boards that affected the amount of friction that the ball found from shot to shot. The oil pattern was everything as there was less friction created between the lane surface and the bowling ball. Bowlers found that the most important thing was to find enough friction to let those old-fashioned rubber, plastic, and urethane bowling balls, hook.

    When reactive resin balls with dynamic cores were introduced in the early 1990's, it was coincidentally timed with the conversion from wood to synthetic lane surfaces. A great majority of the changes in the game that happened at that time were credited to the changes in the bowling balls, but as was pointed out to me by Don McCune of "soaker" fame, the really big factor that contributed to the game changing was, in fact, the synthetic lanes and the differences in the way that the balls reacted to them.

    While what I'm about to say will really upset a lot of long-time bowlers, the fact of the matter is that when you combine synthetic lane surfaces with modern reactive resin bowling balls, the oil has much less to do with the reaction of the bowling ball than several other factors including the topography of the lane surfaces and even the weather conditions inside and outside of the bowling center. The reason for this is because that the oil moves around on the synthetic lane surface much more than it did on the softer, more porous wood surfaces.

    The synthetic lane surfaces are comprised of thin sheets of plastic materials that are laid end to end. If you simply walk down the uncoiled lane surface, you can see little humps and dips in the lane surface. If you walk next to the oiled lane surface, you can see how each "seam" where the panels meet are devoid of oil. When you combine these differences in the lane surfaces with the fact that modern bowling balls remove oil from the lane on each pass down the lane, you can see that the effect of the oil pattern is much less significant now than it was in the past. In "the old days" bowlers were looking for friction to help the ball to hook. They were looking for a defined oil line to allow them some miss room. For this reason, league bowlers were adamant about bowling on freshly oiled lanes to give them a well-defined oil line to give them a consistent shot to the pocket. Today, with the differences in the topography from lane to lane, the removal of the oil from the lane surface on every shot, and the tendency of the fresh oil to initially spread to low areas in the lane surface, the first twenty to thirty minutes of play on a freshly oiled surface often presents bowlers with their greatest challenges of the session due to how quickly the lanes change, and the fact that the individual lanes in the pair often change differently.

    When you bowled on the synthetic lane surfaces, despite the slightly longer oil pattern, you were able to take advantage of your high rev rate in combination with the increased amount of friction between the reactive resin surface of your bowling balls and the resin surface of the lanes themselves. You were able to use the oil the way that it needs to be used today; to hold off the friction between the ball and the lane until the point that allows the ball to hook back to the pocket at the proper point down the lane.

    The bottom line is this: when bowlers automatically refer to differences in ball reaction from lane to lane, or day to day, in terms of the oil pattern, it is a response that was learned in the seventies or eighties that has very little to do with modern bowling. It is only when they understand that the game is not the same as it was decades ago that they can truly reach the potential that they have NOW!

    As it is now 4 a.m., I hope that I have at least begun to express what I have to say adequately. Hopefully, your post will create a meaningful and very important discussion.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLV1 View Post
    I was really excited to read this post as it gives me an opportunity to address a really important subject for modern bowlers. Yes, it was because of wood vs. synthetic. Wood lanes were made of boards of wood which were glued together. The lanes were about 4" thick, and they were periodically planed and sanded to keep them flat. The only times that there were differences between lanes was when there was a variation in the hardness of the individual boards that affected the amount of friction that the ball found from shot to shot. The oil pattern was everything as there was less friction created between the lane surface and the bowling ball. Bowlers found that the most important thing was to find enough friction to let those old-fashioned rubber, plastic, and urethane bowling balls, hook.

    When reactive resin balls with dynamic cores were introduced in the early 1990's, it was coincidentally timed with the conversion from wood to synthetic lane surfaces. A great majority of the changes in the game that happened at that time were credited to the changes in the bowling balls, but as was pointed out to me by Don McCune of "soaker" fame, the really big factor that contributed to the game changing was, in fact, the synthetic lanes and the differences in the way that the balls reacted to them.

    While what I'm about to say will really upset a lot of long-time bowlers, the fact of the matter is that when you combine synthetic lane surfaces with modern reactive resin bowling balls, the oil has much less to do with the reaction of the bowling ball than several other factors including the topography of the lane surfaces and even the weather conditions inside and outside of the bowling center. The reason for this is because that the oil moves around on the synthetic lane surface much more than it did on the softer, more porous wood surfaces.

    The synthetic lane surfaces are comprised of thin sheets of plastic materials that are laid end to end. If you simply walk down the uncoiled lane surface, you can see little humps and dips in the lane surface. If you walk next to the oiled lane surface, you can see how each "seam" where the panels meet are devoid of oil. When you combine these differences in the lane surfaces with the fact that modern bowling balls remove oil from the lane on each pass down the lane, you can see that the effect of the oil pattern is much less significant now than it was in the past. In "the old days" bowlers were looking for friction to help the ball to hook. They were looking for a defined oil line to allow them some miss room. For this reason, league bowlers were adamant about bowling on freshly oiled lanes to give them a well-defined oil line to give them a consistent shot to the pocket. Today, with the differences in the topography from lane to lane, the removal of the oil from the lane surface on every shot, and the tendency of the fresh oil to initially spread to low areas in the lane surface, the first twenty to thirty minutes of play on a freshly oiled surface often presents bowlers with their greatest challenges of the session due to how quickly the lanes change, and the fact that the individual lanes in the pair often change differently.

    When you bowled on the synthetic lane surfaces, despite the slightly longer oil pattern, you were able to take advantage of your high rev rate in combination with the increased amount of friction between the reactive resin surface of your bowling balls and the resin surface of the lanes themselves. You were able to use the oil the way that it needs to be used today; to hold off the friction between the ball and the lane until the point that allows the ball to hook back to the pocket at the proper point down the lane.

    The bottom line is this: when bowlers automatically refer to differences in ball reaction from lane to lane, or day to day, in terms of the oil pattern, it is a response that was learned in the seventies or eighties that has very little to do with modern bowling. It is only when they understand that the game is not the same as it was decades ago that they can truly reach the potential that they have NOW!

    As it is now 4 a.m., I hope that I have at least begun to express what I have to say adequately. Hopefully, your post will create a meaningful and very important discussion.
    What you say makes sense to me Rob. But what do you think is the biggest issue for somebody like me that left the game years ago then struggled so much when they returned? When I left in 2002 I had never bowled on synthetic lanes and my last ball was a Brunswick Cobalt Rhino that I had been using for about 10 years. Why would it take me 1.5 years to finally get back to where I was in terms of average? Synthetic lanes? Modern balls? Combination? Or my stubborness to adapt? I really haven't changed anything in terms my release. Just adapting to changing conditions by changing my line to what the lanes want. Just curious as to why I went from being one of the top bowlers in my area to being near the bottom.
    Arsenal "15# Radical Conspiracy" "15# Brunswick Kingpin" "15# Hammer Black Widow Gold" "15# Brunswick Rhino Black Pearl"
    Rev Rate about 325 @ about 17.5 MPH * High Game: 267 - High Series: ~670ish (late 90's early 2000's)
    Oh, and LEFTY!!!
    I am a proud member of bowlingboards.com bowling forums

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by boatman37 View Post
    What you say makes sense to me Rob. But what do you think is the biggest issue for somebody like me that left the game years ago then struggled so much when they returned? When I left in 2002 I had never bowled on synthetic lanes and my last ball was a Brunswick Cobalt Rhino that I had been using for about 10 years. Why would it take me 1.5 years to finally get back to where I was in terms of average? Synthetic lanes? Modern balls? Combination? Or my stubborness to adapt? I really haven't changed anything in terms my release. Just adapting to changing conditions by changing my line to what the lanes want. Just curious as to why I went from being one of the top bowlers in my area to being near the bottom.
    The biggest issue for someone like you is that most of what you believe(d) is based on what you learned before the modern era. Everything, including the physical game, how to play the lanes initially, and how to adjust, has changed. You as a lefty are particularly vulnerable because there are so few of you that the changes in lane conditions are tougher to see, but they are still there.

    Last week I was bowling against a lefty who averages over 220. He bowls on a team with another high average lefty. I knew from experience that he starts out very strong and then fades quickly because he has not adjusted. He made a comment that his ball quit finishing, so he moved left. He was still thinking that the ball wasn't finishing because of carry down. In fact, the ball wasn't finishing because it was losing energy from too much friction. His thinking was still from 1985!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLV1 View Post
    The biggest issue for someone like you is that most of what you believe(d) is based on what you learned before the modern era. Everything, including the physical game, how to play the lanes initially, and how to adjust, has changed. You as a lefty are particularly vulnerable because there are so few of you that the changes in lane conditions are tougher to see, but they are still there.

    Last week I was bowling against a lefty who averages over 220. He bowls on a team with another high average lefty. I knew from experience that he starts out very strong and then fades quickly because he has not adjusted. He made a comment that his ball quit finishing, so he moved left. He was still thinking that the ball wasn't finishing because of carry down. In fact, the ball wasn't finishing because it was losing energy from too much friction. His thinking was still from 1985!
    And that is one of the things that I am starting to understand. When I start leaving corner pins I will drop down to a weaker ball. In the past I assumed it was bad breaks. In fact if I struggled for any reason I blamed it on bad lane conditions and chalked it up as a tough night. The other thing I have changed it my pinky position. I had always left my pinky spread wide but had experimented with tucking it a few times but it seems lately that if I am not getting the carry then tucking my pinky usually fixes that. The other night I bowled pretty good (194, 222, and 190 in the first 3 games then tucked pinky and rolled 267). The first 3 games I had been getting alot of 9 counts and missed the pocket every few shots. After tucking my pinky my release felt more clean and consistent and I hit the pocket almost every shot. Since I bought the Conspiracy in January I had been reluctant to switch to anything else cause I really liked the feel and motion of it but lately my best games have been with my old Hammer Black Widow Gold at 4000 matte (hand sanded).

    Funny about the lefties comment. Tuesday night me and my teammate were both lefties and both teams we went up against had a lefty so 3 of 4 bowlers in each set were lefties
    Last edited by boatman37; 08-10-2019 at 12:35 PM.
    Arsenal "15# Radical Conspiracy" "15# Brunswick Kingpin" "15# Hammer Black Widow Gold" "15# Brunswick Rhino Black Pearl"
    Rev Rate about 325 @ about 17.5 MPH * High Game: 267 - High Series: ~670ish (late 90's early 2000's)
    Oh, and LEFTY!!!
    I am a proud member of bowlingboards.com bowling forums

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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLV1 View Post
    Yes, it was because of wood vs. synthetic.
    Sweet! So the short answer is, it wasn't a fluke. Once I get back down there I'm going to kill it on synthetic. I mean, since I've worked at my current place I've always been like the only one in the place to say our lanes are easy and everyone thinks I'm crazy. It's one of those places where your target is the size of a beach ball, at least to me. If you hit it, you WILL be close to or pounding the pocket. The only difference is using a modern ball on that shot only helps a little. You're not going to get that big back end reaction but when you do hit the pocket you just shred the pins and shake the place. The old school equipment still works quite well but is a waste of wear and tear on a modern bowling ball. I guess unless there was big money on the line which nobody there has every wanted to bowl against me for money. LOL

    If you remember I did bowl on that Sport league for a short time (I had to quit due to being promoted to manager) last fall and just died on it every week. Then it was the opposite problem. I was using my 20+yr old ball and Black Faball Hammer on modern synthetic trying to make it work and it rarely did anything stellar. Playing deep with that stuff would have been an immediate gutter ball. On the contrary, playing 7 board style also had unfavorable results. Unless I happen to be pinpoint and I mean pinpoint accurate on hitting my mark it was a catastrophe frame after frame.

    I guess had I owned my current arsenal I probably have been fine. What I seen in TN is the marriage I have been waiting for between finally having modern equipment on modern surfaces. I still wear my old school Linds but suddenly now that Rob explained things, I feel like I've graduated to a become a modern bowler. (Better late than never) Now I'm dying to do some sport shots to see if I can redeem myself! I may not "kill it" on a sport shot but at least now going in I don't feel that I will be humiliated and a dinosaur like I did last time. I'll at least be in the game. I cannot wait to find out!

    Thank you Rob for depriving yourself of sleep to reply to my post. Your reply said volumes and again gave me yet another confidence boost to add to the abundance I have had lately.
    Bowling Center Employee (Assistant Manager, Counter, Bartender and AMF Pinsetter Mechanic)
    Arsenal only consists of 3 balls currently "15# Hammer Rip'd (Sport Only)" & Faball Original Black Hammer (Spare Ball / Main THS) Venom Shock & 20+yr old Linds worth a mention
    Currently 535+ Rev Rate @ 19 MPH

  7. #7

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    Phonetek: LOL

    Boatman: Rather than automatically balling down to keep from moving, why don't you try moving?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLV1 View Post
    Phonetek: LOL

    Boatman: Rather than automatically balling down to keep from moving, why don't you try moving?
    I do move a little as needed but once I move a few times and start not carrying then I change balls. I will usually move up to 2 boards either way and move up or back on the approach or I will move in to the 9-11 board (usually I'm closer to the 5-7 board). I just try a few different things and if none work then I change balls. Sometimes if I'm struggling I'll try a different ball even though I know I'm the problem and sometimes it triggers something and works for me...lol
    Arsenal "15# Radical Conspiracy" "15# Brunswick Kingpin" "15# Hammer Black Widow Gold" "15# Brunswick Rhino Black Pearl"
    Rev Rate about 325 @ about 17.5 MPH * High Game: 267 - High Series: ~670ish (late 90's early 2000's)
    Oh, and LEFTY!!!
    I am a proud member of bowlingboards.com bowling forums

  9. #9

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    A major part of your problem comes from the fact that you look at the lanes from side to side (just like they did decades ago). Regardless of where you are playing on the lane, there is still somewhere around 20' of friction past the end of the pattern... learn to use it. You don't have to set modern balls down in the friction from the get-go to get the ball to hook. Just because you are a lefty, doesn't mean that you have to bowl like most of the other lefties. Things have changed, and you need to change too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLV1 View Post
    A major part of your problem comes from the fact that you look at the lanes from side to side (just like they did decades ago). Regardless of where you are playing on the lane, there is still somewhere around 20' of friction past the end of the pattern... learn to use it. You don't have to set modern balls down in the friction from the get-go to get the ball to hook. Just because you are a lefty, doesn't mean that you have to bowl like most of the other lefties. Things have changed, and you need to change too!
    You are right about the side to side thing. I do remember it mentioned on here before (probably you...lol). But I have tried to watch others to see where their ball breaks. I think for me I have so much going on that I am trying to focus on that I haven't been able to watch it with my shots but now that things seem to be more muscle memory I don't think about so many things so plan to try to start focusing more on that. I remember telling my teammates last year that when I bowled before I didn't have to think about anything. Even spares. It was instinct and I just did what I needed to. Until recently I had to think about and analyze my spares to figure out where to stand and had to focus on every step of my approach and release.

    Something else I have noticed. In our summer league we have 2 man teams but we have 3 on our team so we rotate. Even on the weeks I don't bowl I still go hang out with my team. I found that I can analyze what my teammates are doing and what they need to do to adjust but when I'm bowling I struggle with it because I have so much going on in my head. I have actually helped my teammates quite a bit in the last few months. Mainly noticing when they need a ball change due to the ball burning up or I tell them to move 2:1 inside to get more oil. Mainly the one teammate that I have bowled with since the 80's that won't even clean his ball. He would be leaving 10's and I tell him to move inside and he was reluctant because he was hitting the pocket and getting mad at the lanes. He started listening and started getting strikes. Helping him started to help me. I still have alot of learning and room to get better but my last 4 weeks my average has been 20 above my average and thats with missing too many easy spares.
    Arsenal "15# Radical Conspiracy" "15# Brunswick Kingpin" "15# Hammer Black Widow Gold" "15# Brunswick Rhino Black Pearl"
    Rev Rate about 325 @ about 17.5 MPH * High Game: 267 - High Series: ~670ish (late 90's early 2000's)
    Oh, and LEFTY!!!
    I am a proud member of bowlingboards.com bowling forums

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