Learning to understand oil patterns is a crucial part of improving as a bowler. As a complete beginner, however, this is not usually your goal, and it is understandable that it is. Most regular bowling alleys face what is known as a home pattern, which generally makes it much easier to score.

In this pattern, less oil is applied closer to the ditches while in the center of the lane there is more oil. This naturally leads the ball into your pocket because it will re-attach more easily from the gutter, while a bowling ball in the middle of the lane slides and stays there.

But as you move toward more competitive bowling, you’ll come across sporty patterns, which are harder. In the rest of this article we will explore why, and more importantly, how to deal with them effectively.

What is a sports pattern and what is its history?

With significant advances in bowling materials, the game began to become much easier for the best bowlers. So sports patterns, also known as “sport shooting,” were developed specifically to make things harder for these front-line balls.

Different types of sports patterns: first and second generation

Of course, playing bowling in a sports pattern is not as easy as adapting to a specific pattern. Compared to a standard house pattern that is usually about 38-42 feet long, sports patterns have much more variability. See the image above for a graphical representation of the difference we are talking about.

On the one hand, they can range from 32 feet at the short end to 53 at the long end. Individual patterns are known as exotic wild animals (why not?) And can be grouped into two categories: first and second generation sports shots. First-generation patterns include chameleon, cheetah, scorpion, while second-generation patterns that were introduced in 2013 include badger, bear, and wolf.

To get an idea of ​​how these sports patterns vary, check out the following information from the Sports Bowling Wikipedia:

  • “Chameleon (43 feet) Chameleons change color to deceive their enemies. To stand out in this pattern, boleros must be versatile in many styles of play.
  • Cheetah (35 feet) A cheetah may seem harmless, but this sprinter has a dangerous side. So does this pattern: with a fast scoring pace and a game close to the gutter, there’s no room for error.
  • Scorpio (43 feet) A scorpion is dangerous and unpredictable, like this pattern. If you can’t find the right slot in the rails, it will sting you!
  • Shark (47 feet) This pattern forces bowlers to play deep in the center of the lanes, like sharks crossing the depths of the ocean.
  • Viper (39 feet) A viper strikes with multiple angles of attack. This pattern will challenge players to attack the pines from various angles in order to score well.

For more details on these and other specific patterns, check out the U.S. Bowling Congress (USBC) Sport Bowling website.

How to score with more score and hit more sports patterns

When you adjust the game of a house to a sporty pattern, your margin of error decreases considerably. In fact, it is so small that you need to achieve the goal much more exactly to be successful. The biggest difference with sports patterns is that the oil is applied more evenly across the lane, so you don’t get the benefit of the dry, greasy exterior we’ve explained above. So what can you do specifically best to succeed in a sports shot?

First, you need to know where you stand, how to properly define your target, how difficult it is to shoot, how to manage your breakpoint, and then adjust them to the specific conditions under which you are aiming. find.

Our articles on lane conditions, where to aim and the length of the oil pattern / 31 rule can help with these concepts.

From here, the Bowl.com oil pattern bank details the different patterns used in the PBA, youth / college bowling and all sorts of USBC tournaments and competitions so you can see exactly what you can get. to find. Within each category, each pattern is displayed with a diagram and relevant statistics so you can come up with a winning game plan in advance.

Being attentive and present during the warm-up will help you determine where the oil is and the best way to deal with your shot, so use this time wisely. To put a couple of examples, against a longer pattern, you will usually want to be closer to the head pin. With other patterns, you may need a straighter shot when making spares on the right or left, so be sure to practice spares as well during the warm-up. And as mentioned above, for the first ball you will have to decide your brand and your starting position and then control the conditions for the oil transition during the contest. Also, when faced with sports patterns, you’re likely to have an arsenal of more than one bowling ball, so be sure to consider the qualities of each one you have and how they match the length of the bowling alley. particular pattern.

Finally, you’re good at sporting patterns by making an accurate shot over and over again. If your consistency is still lacking, this is really a case where practice becomes perfect. If it’s one of the first times you’ve tackled a sports shot, get ready to make it a humiliating experience. But it really opens up a whole new world of complexity to the game of bowling and ultimately makes it a more rewarding experience. And who knows, one day you might end up winning a tournament on your resume!

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